I have a feeling that by this time next week, I will be all Halloweened out. I love Halloween and all it's accompaniments, so we cover a lot of ground this time of year. Going pumpkin picking, carving or painting pumpkins, decorating our porch and living room, finding a costume for my DD, "It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown", trick or treating, Halloween parades and fall festivals at school, and, of course, eating chocolate. Halloween falling on a Monday seems to have drawn the celebration out some, as the festivities at DD's daycare are starting on Thursday with special Halloween treats for the kids during the day. For some reason, they decided to have the Halloween parade and party on Friday instead of Monday, so I am just now realizing that we will be dressing up Friday, Saturday and Monday. Whew. Saturday is a costume/birthday party and a Philadelphia Flyers game. Sunday will be for Mommy to recover from running and driving all over creation, and then Monday is trick or treating. Since DD is only 2, this consists of hitting a couple of friends' houses in the neighborhood and a nice brisk walk with the stroller. I hope.
I love Halloween and used to love getting dressed up. Some of this is nostalgia for my childhood; I trick or treated until I was 18. This may sound strange to some, but it was the standard in the town I grew up in. There were as many teenagers roaming the streets in costume as there were little ones. And the vast majority were legitimate trick or treaters, not annoying teenagers terrorizing small children. Almost no one was too cool to get dressed up and go out. We would develop a strategy for hitting the largest number of houses possible in the time before the 8 pm curfew. My mom kept ballpark counts of the number of trick or treaters who came to our house, and 100 or more was pretty standard. My mom often says that one of the things she liked about our small town was that it seemed that kids were able to be kids longer there, and Halloween is a good example of what she meant.
I also had the advantage of having parents who were willing to invest time and resources into creating homemade costumes. My brother and I had some really great costumes over the years. My mom sewed and my dad was willing to figure out ways to manipulate things like corrugated cardboard into various shapes and providing painting assistance when needed. My mom sewed a beautiful Snow White costume for me before the days of Disney mass production. I had witch, princess, bride, flapper costumes, all homemade. I am excited for the day in the near future when I can go through the costume box my mom kept and hopefully DD will want to wear some of them. Some of our more complicated costumes involved more than a sewing machine to manufacture. A (cardboard) book, lady on a pedestal (the pedestal did not fare well during trick or treating), St George on his horse, Pixie sitting on a toadstool (toadstool didn't survive), jellyfish...I know there are more, but these are the ones coming to mind right now. My husband is not a fan of Halloween, and I think his parents' disinterest is part of the reason for this. They basically left him to his own devices in finding costumes from a young age and didn't provide the creative support that both of my parents did.
I'm determined that Halloween will be fun for DD, but I have some obstacles to overcome. I don't know how to work a sewing machine. It's never too late to learn, but I also don't have much in the way of free time to develop these skills. I will figure this one out as I go along, not going to worry about it at this point. Thus far I have been able to get high quality costumes for her either for free (hand-me-downs) or at very reasonable prices. Next obstacle is the neighborhood we live in. I love where we live most of the time, but we are in a most undesirable trick or treating neighborhood! We get less than 5 kids per year knocking on our door on Halloween. Our street is a dead end with no sidewalks, long driveways and no good shortcuts from house to house because of hills and retaining walls. I think my best way around this one as she gets more into the years for trick or treating is going to be to develop a new tradition of trick or treating with friends who live across town.
As we creep closer to Halloween, I'm looking forward to dressing my little witch!! We are a dog family, but for one day, I will be a black cat for DD - but shh, don't tell our German Shepherd.
October 31, 2011: My prediction in this post came true...today is actually Halloween and I am exhausted! Of course, I failed to predict the snowstorm that deposited 5 inches of snow here on Saturday. I've never seen a white Halloween before! I'm just hoping it's warm enough to hit the houses of some good friends before heading home tonight. Wish me luck!