Our weekend was bursting with Halloween splendor, and we still have a full week to go. I love it. We are certainly making up for lost time. That being said, I’m learning some things about this holiday and am left with more questions. For instance:
- When your children are very young, it’s not necessary for everyone to carve a pumpkin. We’ve had one small pumpkin for the house and that’s plenty. Stella and her daddy drew and carved it together, Felix played with the guts, and I took pictures and watched. Fun for all, and less pumpkin waste. Hell, we’re not even going to be home Halloween night to light it – we’ll be out trick or treating.
- Community events are a crap-shoot; you must be prepared to cut your losses at any point, lest someone gets cut. We went to 2 big events this weekend: a haunted hike at a local park/swamp, and a Halloween festival at a local historical museum. I was more afraid of the former than the latter, but I couldn’t have been more wrong. The swamp was awesome. Felix got a bit cantankerous by the end, but the poor dude was up 2+ hours past his bedtime. Stella and her buddy Sam did great. It was really a lot of fun. The historical museum was a disaster – far from the wonderful egg hunt we attended there this spring.
- (Warning: I’m going to come across as a snarkaluffagus here. Too bad.) While I appreciate that it’s a historical society, this is the age of the internet. They advertised the event as being on yesterday’s calendar day – 10/26. No other times were mentioned other than the usual operating hours of the museum. So we saddled up and hit the parking lot by 10:00, hoping to beat the church rush. We were only 5.5 hours early. The Halloween stuff wasn’t starting until 3:30. Cue a major unraveling by Stella. I tried to redirect her by a kitchen activity – pizza from scratch – but with limited success.
- When we arrive again for the actual event, things seemed pretty organized. There were about a dozen different activities and games which you bought with ticket packets you got upon entry, and trick or treat would start at 5:30. (Here comes the really snarky stuff.) Too bad each and every game/booth was manned by a Precambrian-aged volunteer. These poor folks had 2 speeds: painfully slow and backwards. That’s fine if you’re toting around a 6 or 7 year old. But not a 20 month old and somewhat challenging 4 year old. The first thing we tried to do was a fail: face-painting. They had one little old lady doing it. There were only 3 in line when we got there. After 15 minutes of waiting, the lady was still on the first kid. It was a very nice butterfly, but damn it: This is street-style face-painting. Not fine art.
- After a forced/haphazard meal of 2 hot dogs (one smothered with about a pint of horrendous cheese sauce) purchased at airport prices after a 10 minute wait, we tried to kill enough time to let Stella trick or treat. It was too late. She was too tired and frustrated and had basically checked out on us. We had to leave with her crying and screaming. I don’t blame her. This even was NOT well organized. Stella was not set up for success.
- Waste: Man, there’s been a ton, and I feel pretty bad about it.
- First the edible stuff. Candy’s no problem. It has a long shelf life and can always be dumped in my candy bowl at work for the office scavengers to devour. Those bastards will eat anything. I could roll rat crap in sugar and wrap it in cellophane and they’d eat it. I’m talking about our Halloween village. Oui Oui bought us the best kit which resulted in a fun family project and 5 cute little cookie/candy houses. You know damn well you can’t let kids eat that much crap. It would be like the Ghostbusters crossing the streams. It would be bad. I let them split one. The rest got tossed. I feel bad about it, but don’t know what else I could have done. No soup kitchen would want a sticky half-stale village which my 4 year old coughed all over.
- Now the cheap toy crap: I can totally appreciate that folks don’t want to over-sugar kids. I just don’t know if the solution is buckets of cheap plastic whistles, spiders, rings, bugs, fangs, and I-don’t-know-whatsits. Sure, kids like it. For about a millisecond. Then it gets thrown in the bucket or on the counter and abandoned. I have already thrown out a huge handful of this stuff and feel terribly guilty about it. But this isn’t decent product you could donate to a charity. This is $0.01 per unit Oriental Trading Company garbage. Stella almost choked on a stupid super ball from this stash of crap. I may have missed an opportunity, however: maybe there’s a Pinterest search for this? Like melting this stuff in a cookie cutter/mold in a low-temp oven in order to make coasters/sun catchers? Anyone? Anyone?