Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Boo! Humbug!

I must begin this post with an apology, I am sorry to my family,who has heard this all before. My family has heard my rantings and ravings on Halloween and has born it with love and patience. I would also like to state at the beginning of this post that the following paragraphs contain my personal opinions on Halloween and in no way reflect the beliefs or feelings of the rest of my family or blogger.

I hate Halloween! This is a bone deep hatred. You might assume that this is some kind of theological problem. That perhaps I object to this day because it seems to be celebration of all things evil. No! This is a purely selfish hatred. I hate what Halloween requires of me.

I have not always hated Halloween. As a kid I thought it was great. My neighborhood was a good place for Halloween. It was well established, we knew everyone, and the Coleman's house could always be counted on to scare the kids thoroughly. No my hatred for Halloween didn't begin until somewhere around child number three. By the last week of October we couldn't afford candy, not to mention costumes. For a few years we were able to get away with things like Cowboys or Football Players, costumes we could pull together with things we already had. But eventually we had to go to Wal-Mart and choose from the poor quality, over priced selection offered every year in every large chain across the nation.

This is where somebody usually says, "Why don't you make their costumes?" I'll tell you why, smarty pants,because I have no talent for sewing or costume making of any kind. None. Plus, I have never talked to a single person who doesn't end up spending more on home made costumes than on store bought ones. You know it is true. But one year, out of motherly guilt, I gave into the pressure and sewed ghost costumes for three of my children. We had absolutely zero money for costumes that year, so I told my kids to think of things they could do with what we had at home. For three of them I actually cut up old bed sheets and tried to sew ghost costumes. Do you know what else people used to make out of bed sheets? Here is a hint...as we were walking into the Halloween party Mr. Smith asks, "Where are their burning crosses?" How nice of him to pick that moment to point out to me that I was sending my kids to an elementary school party dressed as bigots. Luckily the hats stayed on for about two minutes, then were promptly handed off to me for the remainder of the evening. In my defense, I had five kids, I was seven months pregnant with twins, and although I wouldn't know it for about another month, I was in severe heart failure. Looking back, I think it was a miracle that everyone made it out the door with pants on. I am 97% percent sure we all had pants on.

Next comes the candy portion of the event. Trick-or-Treating just isn't what it used to be. Four out of five houses are dark so you have to walk forever to get a decent haul. Plus, now you feel guilty if you let your children accept candy from someone you don't know really well. But as inconvenient and annoying as I find Trick-or-Treating, it is nothing compared to the week that follows. Those who plow through their candy in two days are sick, then later, angry that their siblings won't share. The ones who stretch out their candy seem to enjoy torturing the others with the fact that they still have candy. Then there is the candy itself. Wrappers and half eaten candy in every corner of the house. By the second week of November I feel violent tendencies fighting to be free every time I step on a piece of wet, sticky candy.

This is one of the days that I am completely content to live in India. This year we are celebrating Halloween with candy I provide. Costumes are optional and are to be created by the wearer of said costume. One scary, yet child friendly movie will be provided for the evening's entertainment and bedtime is extended to midnight. Not bad.

Happy Halloween to all, and to all a frightening night!


Marilyn said...

You know because you are in India I have to stay home and answer the door everytime I sit down. How I miss coming to your house to see all the kids. Oh well, only two more Halloweens to go through.

suburbancorrespondent said...

Ghost costumes are so hard to make! It looks so easy, if you're a Peanuts fan - just drape the sheet over your head and cut some eyeholes. But we tried it once and it was an abysmal failure.

Oh, and I'm with you on the being broke and trying to make a costume. I was lucky the first few years - I found 2 matching (homemade) clown costumes (sized 3 and 5) in a local thrift store that I managed to use for each kid at least twice. Then I found a puppy dog costume at the same place that. So up to age 5, I was covered. After that, things started looking pretty bad. I made a very nice colonial girl dress one year (my shining sewing achievement), but it was expensive! My talented sister-in-law bailed me out another time by making 3 pirate capes, which I think we used 3 years in a row.

But I love Halloween, anyway. It was so much fun to go out and get candy and then come home and spread out my loot and trade with my brother. It's one of my fondest memories. Also, Halloween doesn't require any elaborate cooking efforts or any cleaning of the house because company is coming.

Toni said...

I totally, totally agree. Also, I have plus-sized boys who can't fit into the regular kid-sized costumes, so the adult costumes are scarier, costlier and longer so they always require altering.

Remember when it was chilly on Halloween and we could even see our breath in clouds. I distinctly remember one year using uncooked spaghetti to pretend I was smoking before we went out to get our haul of candy. This year it was in the 90s. The kids were ripping off their costumes they were so hot. Soon they were just going door-to-door in their regular clothes begging for their sugar fix.

Mr. Smith's Brother said...

I was thinking you might start something new in India. I imagine a holiday where all children could knock on your door and ask for free food would go over very well with the masses.

Rachel said...

A costume they have to devise themselves.... I think you may have just revamped my future halloweens!

Aunt Carol said...

I only had 4 kids to dress and always dreaded it. Now with all the kids out on their own you would think it would be okay...wrong. Now we had a Halloween Ball (with Elvis) to go to. Dennis wanted to be a pirate, so I bought things for that costume. Guess what we had the Fire evacuations and the ball was canceled. I hope he wants to be a pirate next year!

Tonight is Halloween, no kids ever come to our house (56 stairs from street to living room) but we always buy candy just in case. I buy what we like so that it doesn't go to waste. We have already eaten some of it. Oh well, no one ever knocks on our door.

B.E.C.K. said...

I can imagine with a bunch of kids, it's very stressful!

Three times now I've made my son's Halloween costume out of a packing box (since we moved here in 2003), and it's always a cheap way to go. Once he was Thomas the Tank Engine (just needed paints and the box and some ribbons to hold the box on his choulders), another time he was a robot (box covered with foil and odd bits of junk glued on), and this year he's a haunted house (box, paint, cutouts of bats, and scraps of an old sheet to make ghosts). I think people laugh about my using boxes so often, but it is a SUPER CHEAP way to go, and it's kinda fun to figure out what we can make from yet another box this time. ;^)

B.E.C.K. said...

Oh, and last year my son was "Team Spirit" -- a white sheet turned into a ghost costume, a Cardinals hat (winners of the World Series, and his dad's team), and the word "boo" on the back. Again super cheap, and no sewing involved -- just jaggedy cutting, although the eye holes kept sliding up his face! ;^)

Andrea said...

Another idea for that sheet costume....TOGA. Miss you guys lots!

Mrs. Smith said...

P.S. We had a good Halloween and our movies were "Haunted Mansion" and "Spiderman 3"
Marilyn-Since we didn't receive a phone call, I am going to assume you survived answering your own door. Whew! (43 days to go)
SuburbanC.-Good point about the no cooking thing, I may have to re-evaluate this holiday from a new perspective!
Toni-Yes! I remember having to get heavy tights to keep my legs warm in Karen's pumpkin costumes!
Mr.Smith's Bro-Good point, going door to door for sales, proselyting and begging is against the law. Perhaps this would be known as the Halloween loophole?
Rachel-It worked out well. This year we had an "Emo" (ask a local teenager) a hippie, a witch, a pirate, a monster and Snow White.
Carol-Hey! We a had a pirate, they could have been twins! Glad to know you are back in your house! We heard you had to evacuate, but hadn't heard you were back in. Whew!
B.E.C.K.-Snoopy's dog house? Favorite Cereal? iPod? Favorite TV character, TV included? You are way better at this than I am!
Andrea-To keep the Grandparents happy, perhaps we could say they were dressed as their favorite ancient philosopher.

Hunnydu72 said...

I'm sorry, I can't sympathize, I can't follow along, I've lost my concentration every time I've tried to type something because the moment you started talking costumes, immediately my mind went directly to Mr. Smith as a biker!

I mean, Mr. Smith losing a bet and having to wear a dress to work, that was pretty good, but Biker Mr. Smith gives me a giggle every time I think of it. We're talking, what, three years later?

And as I know it was Mrs. Smith who helped make that costume possible, I know you have creative costume making chops.

As for having many kids and no money, when I was growing up I took tap and ballet classes and every year we had a recital for both. One year the McCardles (Husband/Wife, and daughter, all dance teaches. Mrs. McCardle, frankly, was a dance Nazi, and I don't think she'll mind that characterization.) would throw the big professional looking recital where my mother would have to buy the dance costumes from a costume making company with satin and sequins and everything. On the alternating year, the McCardles would give everyone a break from their fantastic vision and let us wear our usual black leotards, pink tights, or in case of tap, blue leotards and white tights.

So, every year I went as a ballerina or a tap dancer, either with the big awesome costume with the fluffy tutu or my leotard and tights. I even wore the costumes a year after I stopped taking ballet, out of sheer Halloween laziness, but it's not good to have your child wearing a tap class purple butterfly costume that is two sizes too small.

I learned the hard way. Still, back to the point--Mr. Smith as a biker---buahahahahahahaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa, the absolute best. It wasn't that it was against his character, but that it was so incredibly well done and a total surprise. Greatness.

B.E.C.K. said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
B.E.C.K. said...

Mrs. Smith, I do believe you just gave me some great ideas for next year!! :-) I figure as long as we still have packing boxes in the garage, and as long as the kiddo will let me dress him up in boxes (I mean, come on!), we're set. When he becomes too self-conscious, I don't know what we'll do... ;^)

I wonder what the folks in India would think about Halloween...

shauna said...

You've outed me! I have secretly felt this way for years. I try to put on a front for my kids--to play the happy, festive mom. But the truth is, I don't enjoy Halloween much at all. This year I was happy because two of my children picked their customes from my wonderful mother's hand-me-downs (bless you, bless you, mom!). But I had to buy my youngest's from Target and cringed when I swiped my debit card. Oh, how I applaud your party-pooper-ism! I'll poo-poo Halloween right along with you. :)

Alisa said...

Amen and hallelujah to EVERYTHING you just said!!