Halloween 101 – some lessons from today…


h 2 gryffinMany of you have asked me to update you on how Halloween went here in our neck of the woods of New Jersey this year. (Click here for the original post Jersey Kids and the Halloween Huh).  We did great – with just a few hiccups – so I have taken a few minutes to create a quick report of Halloween, aka my favorite Celtic holiday Samhain, and a few remedial items we will be working on for next year.  Like remembering to leave the dog inside so he doesn’t eat the treats, or the trick or treaters… crud, read more….

First and foremost, thank goodness that there was no hurricane, snowpocalypse, or other weather related catastrophe (although we are waiting for the storm later tonight that made today a washout for about half the country, we feel your angst flyover states, well the weather angst anyway)…

So here is the good, the not so great, and the what the heck happened…

Good: We have electrical power! There are no downed trees, or electrical wires, and I remembered to buy candy that I don’t like so I didn’t eat all of it before the trick or treaters came around.  It’s warm, a little humid, and of course that makes me think there may be a tornado, but the rain held off for both the kids to do the parade thing during school today so that was nice.
Remediation needed:  Katie, who hasn’t marched in a “parade” since she was in preschool, left the school to head down the street for said parade and says to me (since I was chaperoning) “Mom, there really isn’t a lot of people watching us. Where is the audience?”  Apparently she was expecting something more like the Macy’s day parade on Thanksgiving, the audience of which is larger than the entire population of our town.

Good: Trick or treating happened!! In a safe and fun way! Without cars and trunks and police tape!  And our neighborhood actually blocks off the street so there aren’t any cars and the kids run across the street without looking for traffic and the little people were adorable screaming “It WORKED! We DID IT!” coming down from the doorways every time they got a treat. So cute.
Needs Remediation:  The kids were actually clueless about what to do when no one answered the bell. The first house there was no one home they just stood their aimlessly waiting. Waiting. Waiting. When I was a kid we had mad skills knowing whether or not someone was home even before heading up to the door. Like telepathy or vampire scent or some sixth sense we could tell if there was a human inside there. And if someone was inside and they were hiding and pretending not to be home we knew exactly how many seconds to give it before running to the next house.

Good: The kids were so happy and pleasant and enthusiastic after waiting for three years. It made all the grownups, especially the ones carrying roadies (the best way to accompany large groups of screaming over-sugared children), smile with contentment.
Needs remediation: These little kids are wusses and tire out way too fast. They have no stamina and no idea that the MAIN goal of trick or treating is to get to as many houses as quickly as possible.  We used to plan routes weeks in advance. How do you pick a neighborhood of big houses that might give out bigger treats that isn’t too spread out with too much property in between so you aren’t wasting ground? What statistics do we have from last year about the quality of treats about each neighborhood and which should we frequent again? My seven year old was home by 7 p.m. and my ten year old was home before 8 p.m. complaining their legs hurt and they were tired. What the heck? My legs would have had to fall off in order to miss trick or treating time. I even trick or treated on crutches one year with a sprained ankle and made my costume a wounded soldier so it would work with those accessories. Tired…give me a break…

Good: Kids finally get to run around and be kids in large groups and have fun with friends on Halloween night while trick or treating!
Needs Remediation: Kids have forgotten the cardinal rule that if a man goes down you stop until he picks himself up and you help put his candy back in his bucket. These kids were so excited to trick or treat that kids were falling all over the place and everyone just kept going, friends be darned. Easy to fix with a little practice.

Good: We really do have a fabulous neighborhood and town for trick or treating. We’ve lived here two years but we had no idea how fun it could be.  People around here take this very seriously. Lots of Halloween lights and decorations – even a giant inflatable stay puft marshmallow man on someone’s roof! Loved that one. Dads handing out extra beers (to grownups only, don’t freak out). Houses having driveway pizza parties and handing out sodas and just general fun and good times all around.
Needs remediation:  The little people don’t understand the really impressive and serious decorations. At one house with dry ice “fog” and flashing strobe lights going on inside the house, little spiderman says to the owners “What is WRONG with your HOUSE? Has something HAPPENED in there???”

Good: I am grateful for a safe, happy community that is a wonderful place to live and trick or treat. My kids (most of the time anyway) and the other kids here have nice manners and say please and thank you. So awesome.
Needs Remediation: Apparently us.  And yes, here is the worst of it.  Before we headed out we put out the world-wide accepted “we’re not home but help yourself to candy” bowl. At the last minute Alex decided he should add a note that said “please take one” so the “teenagers” wouldn’t empty it out before we got back. Someone, along the way, must have forgotten to lock the front door.  Or even close it at all. Because when we got back (thankfully just an hour later because of my fragile tired daughter), the front door was wide open, the candy bowl was empty and full of dog slobber, and the dog was on the front porch standing guard.  I do not have a small dog.  I have a giant and imposing one-hundred pound loveable but scary-looking and scary-sounding when his alpha is gone Bernese Mountain Dog.  I am hoping that he had only just gotten out of the house. I am hoping that trick or treaters came and took 99% of the candy and that he had only been out a minute and just eaten the last little bit of what was left and I am hoping that he didn’t bark at, scare off, or eat any children while we were gone.  I’ll make sure we do better for next year.

So, Happy Halloween, Blessed Samhain, and I’m really sorry if my dog ate your kid.  I’m sure he’ll poop him out tomorrow. Stop on by and I will return him along with some extra candy. And thanks for not calling the police on our Halloween faux-pas. We’re sort of new at this.



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