I think only the parents of small children can truly appreciate how much we eagerly look forward to these fun holidays and just as eagerly breathe a sigh of relief when they are over.
First you spend the whole week explaining to them that "no, it's not halloween yet". You're still cheerful at this point, making Halloween decorations, gleefully letting them use sparkles on their bat crafts so they're more eerie, being charmed by how cute they look in their costumes.
We look for fun family activities to take them to so we're doing things as one big happy family. So we decide to forgo our usual hour long drive to go the pumpking mountain (which is really just a market with a mountain of pumpkins out front) and decide to take them to a local farm where you pick your own pumpkins. Sounds great. We show up early to beat the crowds. It was a rare sunny Saturday so it turns out we were a little too early as the kids had to wait for them to get themselves set up (even though we were there just a 1/2 hour after opening.) This is, of course, AFTER we've $30.00 to just get inside. Okay, so it's a farm and the kids got to look at the animals and got a pony ride but really, $30.00??????? I know a farmer has to make a living too but it was pretty hard for us to shell out that kind of money when that didn't even include the pumpkin. We had to pay another $4.00 per pumpkin for that privilege. On the other hand the kids did enjoy it and we did manage to pick out three relatively nice pumpkins.
The funny thing to note was the Pacific Produce truck that pulled up while we were there (this was, of course, while we were waiting for the wagon to take us to the patch) to deliver, and get this, a load of pumpkins. So we didn't even "really" pick the pumpkins. We just sorta picked them up out of the patch. *LOL* Okay, that's what the farmer's wife meant when she said that she was hoping some pumpkins would magically appear. Truth be told we had a weird spring and summer so nothing grew really well this year. But the irony was priceless.
So we made it through the week tempers in tact. We even made it through the big day to the evening with little trouble. The trouble arose,however, once we actually started trick or treating. Did you know you have to NAG your kids to go from house to house trick or treating? I mean aside from the usual reminders "what do you say.... thank you".... blah blah blah. I had to coerce, push, prod and all but pull my oldest to continue on to the next house.
Not that she didn't want to be doing this, she just had in her mind what house she wanted to go to. Now us parents, we like to do things all orderly. Let's go down this side of the street first, when we get to the corner we'll cross and then come back up. Sounds simple, Right? A good plan, right? Well not to a five year old who apparently wanted to go to the "trick house", which as we figured it out was on the other side of the street. We should have just gone across the road and gone there but oh, no, we had to stick to the PLAN. Because, of course, by the time we got to the "trick" house we found out that that was the house that sold this year and the "tricky" people no longer live there. BIG disappointment. So my kids really didn't end up with much candy at all. If we weren't looking for the "trick" house, then E would refuse to go to any houses that were "boring". Homes without decorations, just lights.
The cute thing was my son, O, who was a puppy this his first halloween, trick or treating that is. He really tried to say thank you and trick or treat in his baby voice so it was adorable. And J, after warming up at the first house, was pretty bold in going up to each door and saying her line. Too precious.
After all the fun, we put O to bed and left him with his Nana while we took the little ones up to a bonfire at my brother's. We did the whole fire works thing and everything. E had lots of fun because there were other little kids there. Poor J fell head first into her black mud hole. She was smeared with thick mud from head to toe. Her poor abby cadabby costume was covered. I had to strip her down to her leggings only to find that Ihad left the spare bag with clothes for them at home. So I ended up bundling her up and sitting with her for the rest of the evening. She was that SAD at getting her costume dirty.
The funny thing about my kids is that they are very much into routines. We rarely break them and keep them up late, honestly, it's too much of a treasure to have time to ourselves for us to mmiss their bedtimes. Given that we found out just how hard it is for them. It's going on 9:30 and my brother is lighting of fire works when E, the five year old, suddenly tells my mom that she wants mommy and to go home in her own bed. Wow. J thankfully went to Nana so I could take care of E. Well, no matter of coercion would work, I could not convince her to stay for five minutes longer. She didn't care about fire works, hot dogs or playing. She was tired, she was done in and that was it let's go home to bed. So we did. She fell asleep in the van and the first words out of her mouth when we got her inside was "where is my bed". AND no they did NOT sleep in the next day. If only.
All in all we had a pretty good halloween. I like to hope we learned a few things though. Like being flexible. You don't have to stick to the plan. If we had of deviated from the plan and gone to the trick house first, we might have had more fun (and gotten more candy ;)~ ). Life is what you make it after all.
How about you? Were your youngsters happy trick or treaters? Were you relieved when it was all behind you for another year?
Cheers from the trenches,