Monday, October 31, 2011

All Hallows

Halloween:  the one holiday for which I am not required to cook something.  Well, I do need to make the hot dog mummies for tonight's dinner, but that requires almost zero effort, although I'm always a little afraid to open the tube of crescent roll dough.  They explode with such force.

My kids are just about past the trick-or-treating age.  As far as I'm concerned, if you're polite and you've made some effort with your costume, I don't care how old you are.  A few years ago, we encountered a group of teenage girls who were trick or treating.  They were all dressed in vintage 1950's outfits, with bouffant wigs and they were adorable.  I don't see anything wrong with that.

Anyway, Seamus and Grace both declared themselves too old for trick-or-treating, but then last night changed their minds and wanted costumes.  Grace, indeed, expected me to make a special trip to Target so that she could buy a costume.  Seamus, meanwhile, was asking permission to cut up a pair of jeans for his chosen costume as a "homeless person."  I am usually a pushover with my kids--I let Ian make moonshine in my kitchen for crying out loud--but I draw the LINE at a last minute trip to Target for a $19.99 polyester costume, and "homeless person" is NOT A VALID HALLOWEEN COSTUME.

There was no trip to Target.  Seamus rummaged through the recycling bin and made himself an excellent  mask from cardboard and yellow construction paper.  Grace has the entire contents of my fabric basket, art supply drawer and wardrobe at her disposal.  I'm sure she can come up with something far superior to anything sold at Target if she applies herself.

To honor the day, my desktop background at work is a picture of Edgar Allen Poe carved into a pumpkin.

We don't get many trick-or-treaters at our house.  Kids don't seem to want to walk across the park, and they also seem to shy away from our long driveway, which is too bad because Jon usually dresses up and plays scary music and we have the porch decorated with jack-o-lanterns and candles.  We usually conclude the evening by drinking wine with the neighbors.

Wow, this entry is really lame. I apologize. Later this week, look for my rant about Charlottesville's worst parking lots, and the Friday Reading Assignment. Oh, I could tell you about how we had our first "snow" on Friday night. Snow is snow, even if it is invisible, or nearly so. Everyone said to expect it only on the mountain, but on a Saturday morning drive to the dump for hazardous waste amnesty day (hurrah!) we saw plenty of snow on the ground on our side of the mountain, in Ivy. At the dump--Charlottesville must have the most beautiful dump in the world--the Blue Ridge Mountains loomed overhead, snow covered, with what remains of their autumn leaves as a colorful contrast. And I unloaded a quantity of spoiled gasoline, two cfl lightbulbs (HOW are they better for the environment if they contain mercury, I effing hate them) and assorted cans of old paint. A most satisfactory morning.

Snow before Halloween is unusual for Virginia. Even in Buffalo, where I grew up, it was uncommon, although not unprecedented. The ONE day of the year that kids hate snow is Halloween. The year I was eight, my mother cut down an old party dress of pink organza and tulle to make me a fairy princess costume. It was an awesome costume and I won first prize in the costume contest at the Home School Association party--my prize was a Charlie Brown Halloween puzzle. The next day was Halloween and we got a foot of snow and my mother made me squeeze the costume on over a snowsuit and boots for trick-or-treating. I was furious.

Speaking of Charlie Brown, Seamus had a friend over who's from Japan and had never seen A Charlie Brown Halloween. That situation was quickly rectified.


  1. This year's Halloween costumes were originally not supposed to cost me anything, as the girls are going as Greek goddesses and I have plenty of old white sheets for cutting up. At the last minute, however, I went to the fabric store for fleece to make warm capes since it will be cold this evening. I went ahead and put a little effort into them so that $20 in material doesn't get wasted -- both girls have cute capes that they'll be able to wear for a while. While at the fabric store, I ended up picking up a few minor jewelry bits and bobs and put together themed necklaces to define their costumes a bit -- an owl for Athena and a moon for Artemis (actually a big fake pearl that looks like a full moon). Artemis wants to carry our real bow and arrow tonight, but I'm thinking that's not a great idea.

  2. I am 100% with you on older trick-or-treaters. Stand your ground on the trip to Target, girlfriend!
    Your plans sound good. I plan to eat pizza and hand out candy with our friends in our old 'hood (country houses don't get visitors so we head into town) and drink beer. Salut!

  3. My daughter (almost 11) wasn't much into Halloween this year, but I think it's because she has been involved in a theater production and that culminated in two performances this weekend. She did choose a costume a few weeks ago, but she just chose the same thing a good friend of hers had chosen.

    She woke up this morning tired and grumpy from a too-busy weekend, and we had to get all the costume-related stuff in a bag (her school has a party this afternoon) and get her nails painted to match. Now I'm tired and grumpy too :-)

  4. I remember that Halloween in Buffalo. I was a ballerina in a parka. I was equally livid with my mother. My father was cold and wanted to go home when we got to the corner of Mahogany Dr.

    For the record, I am thoroughly jealous that you have a large trash amnesty day! We don't have that, and I have one large water heater to dump!

  5. It's strange, I didn't grow up with the tradition of Hallowe'en, but with the Scottish tradition of "Guising" which was similar, but nothing to to do with any aspect of religion or other horrors, but mainly patterned after a pre-Guy Fawkes' Night.
    I hate to say it, but the US Halloween is, to my eyes, unspeakably tacky, and after the last Halloween episode I saw of Modern Family, I threw up.
    Bah Humbug.

    The Blue Ridge Mountains sound wonderfull, but I always thought they were in Kentucky for some reason.

    Enjoy your oncoming winter, our summer down here has just started, with average temperatures around 20ºC and a lovely balmy wind.