Sunday, November 1, 2009

A Halloween Retrospective...

So Halloween has come and gone, and oh my goodness, it's November! November 1st, and the clocks have turned back. We've already taken all our Halloween decorations down...Halloween is not one of those holidays that can linger. It's been fun looking through the photos I took yesterday though - a few things struck me...

1. Where is Chanel? My daughter is not in any of the photos because she wasn't there. She had made plans with her friends. She's fourteen so it's understandable, but the idea of letting my daughter go off with friends on Halloween was somewhat nervewracking. It's dark, it's cold, there are ghouls and ghosts and goblins about with firecrackers and no curfews! The reality is, she had a fun (and uneventful!) time trick-or-treating with friends, then went to a friend's house for movies and a sleepover. A nice night, and perfectly suitable, for a teenager. It was a bit strange for me to not have her involved in our family activities. I missed her. But, it's one of those inevitable changes that all parents go through. For all the stages that get left behind, new ones come to replace them. Besides, that's what photographs and scrapbooking is for - I've got lots of great memories to look back at!

2. Casey decided to be a zombie this year. I had to wonder - what the heck does my six year old even know about zombies?! I asked Casey what he thought zombies were and he said they were dead people who were still walking around. I asked him where he heard about zombies. Of course, like so many things, he says he heard about it from a friend. An older boy. A seven year old! Ah, those playground lessons. A child's version of the information highway. We've all been a part of these sharings of wisdom at one stage or another. I have to admit, one of the first thoughts I had about Casey being a zombie was, "Inexpensive/easy costume! Yes!!". He could wear his dobok and be a Tae Kwon Do zombie. He was very excited about this. He was even more excited when the makeup kit we bought included a tube of fake blood. I was less excited about this! The kids wore their costumes to school on Thursday and I painted his face, but I told him that we would have to stop short of wearing the fake blood at school. He couldn't wait until Halloween - it was all about the fake blood! I'm not prudish, but the whole idea made me cringe a bit. Fake blood?! My sweet angel baby Casey was over the moon about fake blood?! It was very hard for me to paint a zombie face onto my little boy, but I got through it and seeing Casey so excited and proud about his costume made me feel pretty good. It's another one of those little milestones in childhood - the changeover from cute, cuddly costumes to grotesque, gory, and macabe ones!

3. Cody, my cute little crocodile. When asked what he wanted to be for Halloween, he told me he wanted to be a crocodile. Well, what do you know?! I just happened to have a crocodile costume in our dress-up box from a Halloween a few years ago when Casey was a crocodile. Again, I breathed a little sigh of relief, thinking about our family's piggy bank. Another thrifty, economically sound option. Then, I had a little case of the guilts. Cody is the child that gets all the hand-me-downs. Clothes, books, toys, costumes...Maybe he should have his own, unique, never before worn or photographed costume. I realized, though, seeing his excitement at getting dressed up for his little daycare Halloween party, and again in the afternoon on Halloween - making his crocodile roars and getting excited about scaring people - this is the kind of stuff that matters. He's two and a half years old! He's not putting the same values or judgements on all kinds of 'other stuff' - he's just excited and having fun! So, I shrugged off all my silly worries and just enjoyed watching him enjoy himself!

It was a fun day overall. We got together with some extended family, had a delicious and creative dinner of 'witches brew' (stew) and 'bat wings' (chicken wings) cooked up by my super helpful and super talented mother-in-law, and the kids got their treat bags stuffed! Now, here is what is, for me, one of those classic parenting dilemnas*. Trick-or-treating is certainly about the fun of choosing a costume, getting dressed up, and having fun running about the neighbourhood at night, getting excited about seeing all the other little ghosts and goblins (or cool looking Star Wars characters!), pumpkins all lit up, and homes and yards being creatively decorated. Trick-or-treating is also very much about getting all that candy! When trick-or-treating wraps up, my kids do the same thing that my brother and sister and I used to do when we were kids - come home, dump their bags out on the floor, and sort through the astounding variety of candy and chocolates that they collected.

*Dilemna - Management of the candy. The sheer volume makes me cringe. Words like 'juvenile diabetes', 'tooth decay', and 'childhood obesity' float around in my brain...We've got a pretty manageable system, I suppose - the kids can choose one piece a day. Well, at least, the two youngest kids. The oldest kid, the teenager, well - she is at the age where she keeps her haul in her room and it's up to her what she does with it. The truth of it is, she tends to binge for a good two or three days, works her way down to the inevitable motley mix of less desirable specimens, and then trashes them. Although my brain twitches a bit thinking about what she's just put her young, growing body systems through for the last 48 hours or so, it's over and done with in a pretty short amount of time. The younger kids are pretty agreeable and cooperative about the doling it out one piece per day over a month or so...when - oh my goodness, can you believe it?! They've eaten it all! It's gone! (wink wink nudge nudge). The classic parental disappearing act. Please tell me I'm not the only mom who utilizes this technique!

My favorite quote of the night: Cody and Casey are sitting on the floor at their grandparents' house prior to heading out to canvas the neighbourhood, just after I've finished painting Casey's face. Cody leans up against his big brother and says, "You're my best Zombie buddy!". So cute! Love the special bond those boys share.

Weatherwise, Halloween was a gem! Not a hint of precipitation. A sunny, blue-skied day settling into a crisp, clear, starry night. Not to mention the full moon! If I'd been magically bestowed with the power to script a perfect setting for Halloween night, I wouldn't have changed a thing!

Now, perhaps a few quiet, calm weeks to just relax before the inevitably frenetic rush towards the next big holiday? One can wish!

1 comment:

Debby said...

Hi Jillian!
LOVED your post! It sounds just like my little family. My older teenager off doing her thang, and the boys with me. lol about the fake blood and scary costumes, so far we have gotten away with dragons, lions, cute frankensteins,super heros and star wars stuff, but they said next year they want to be scary costumes. sigh!
The worst we have had so far, is a scar on Kolton's face, where Annakin Skywalkers was. lol

I was reading Karen Russels blog and love what she does with the candy. She lets her kids keep 10 and the rest they donate!! LOVE that!
I think I would let my kids keep 20 though, then donate the rest. I suppose you could take it to the food bank? hmm going to have to look into that. Right now, the kids have a bowl with about 1/10th of the candy they acutally got and the rest I have stashed.
Have a great night!


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