Monday, October 26, 2009

The Sincere Pumpkin Patch

Those that know me, know that Halloween is my favorite holiday. Some of which has to do with happy childhood memories of Trick-or-Treating with the North Main Street gang and my mom’s excellent costume making talent. Some has to do with the weather, because fall is my favorite season. And some has to do with It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown – arguably the best reason to stay up past my bedtime.

As a side note…I actually hate haunted houses. I am genuinely afraid that one of the workers will end up being a psychopathic axe murderer and this is just his cover. Irrational? Yes.

Now that I have kids of my own, there is a whole new level to the giddiness I feel when decorating a jack-o-lantern.

First off, I think Halloween is now in competition with Christmas for busiest time on my calendar. There are the preparations – the pumpkin picking, costume design, and hayrides. There are the planned festivities – PTA parties, parades, Boo at the Zoo, and more hayrides. And there is the holiday itself – trick-or-treat and more hayrides.

Note to hayride operators – Putting bales of STRAW in a wagon and pulling it around a parking lot with a tractor does not constitute a hayride. I’m not against the straw usage, per se. I wouldn’t want to use my own hay either – the stuff isn’t cheap. I was merely pointing out the misconception. But if you aren’t going to pull me through spooky cornfields or wooded areas, then it’s just a plain ol’ tractor/wagon ride.

The costume design is always tricky, as I am not as handy with the sewing machine as my mother was. Wait…I don’t even own a sewing machine. And how can store-bought costumes be so expensive and so cheap at the same time? Plus, Morgan already has definitive ideas on what she wants to be, despite my Jedi mind tricks. “Wouldn’t it be great to put a sheet over your head? It would be so fun to go as a ghost. I love ghosts.”

But in the end, they look so damn cute. At the PTA party, I was taking random pictures of kids I didn’t know. It is impossible to resist a child in costume. Unless they are a screaming little brat, of course.

Speaking of the PTA party…this year, Jungle Terry came from the zoo with some animal friends. We stepped into the Middle School cafeteria and I turned to Scott and said, “Does Zoe need her diaper changed?” He of course looked at me like I was an idiot and pointed to the cages on the stage.

Ahhh…animals smell. I’m normally immune to that, seeing as I did grow up with horses, but there was perhaps the fact that the smell of snake pee and pigeon poop are slightly out of context in a room where large numbers of children eat. But Jungle Terry did bring a mega bottle of hand sanitizer with him, which I thought was considerate.

On another side note…two out of the twenty animals he brought with him were albino - an albino skunk and an albino python. What are the chances that 10% of your menagerie is allegedly the rarest of their species? Seems a little fishy.

So here are the remaining “to do” items. I’m not kidding. This is seriously how long the list is. (Okay, so I may have a little something to do with signing myself up for this stuff.)

Carve another set of pumpkins, because the ones we did at the beginning of the month with the cousins have caved in with mold. They are still sitting on my front porch, of course. But I thought maybe they should be replaced before anyone other than the mailman has to get a good look at them.

The pre-school party and parade on Friday. Yet another opportunity for me to take pictures of other people’s kids and berate myself for not making Morgan’s costume myself.

The Nature Center hayride and festivities on Friday night. This hayride looks promising, because it does get down into the Metropark area. And you can’t pass up a chance to pet more animals. Although I’m pretty sure the nature center is seriously deficient on the albino variety.

Saturday is the merchant Trick-or-Treat parade at 1pm. The kids get to walk around the two town shopping squares and get candy from the store owners and it forms a sort of parade. (This will be cutting it close to swim lessons, but I think we can do it. May be a new record for most activities in a single day.)

6pm is actual Trick-or-Treat. The best part is seeing which houses are giving out beer to the parents as they walk by. And checking off each of the Star Wars characters that I see. Some things never change. And it will be interesting if Morgan can talk to home owners at a level that is actually audible to the human ear.

Then there is the annual Barn Dance, back at my old stomping grounds - which is now in its second generation, and does include an actual square-dance caller. Plus you get to see which kid falls off the mountain of straw bales first, thus ending the fun for the rest of them.

And then I will be setting up camp in the “most sincere” pumpkin patch.


  1. This sounds like a whole bunch of fun! I wish we had stuff like that in England. All we get is kids knocking on the door saying "Trick or Treat!"
    There is hardly any dressing up or anything!
    I'd love to get dressed up and go out, and just do something totally silly!
    I love the idea of hayrides!

  2. Holy Wicked Witch of the West, Halloween was made for you--or the other way round.

    My wife doesn't make costumes for me anymore; I just go as a grumpy old dude and it works quite nicely.

    Thanks for bringing back a lot of fond memories--plus a few laughs.

  3. Tina here....Our Halloweens were the best, partly thanks to your grandma. I get strange looks from adults when I tell them how some of the dads were trying to catch your grandma in a net on Halloween one year.

  4. The Other Alice - you are really missing out. I fully encourage you to start your own tradition.

    Charlie - I'll be going as the exhausted mother of two that will probably forget her kids on someone's doorstep.

    Tina - My grandma should have been one of the reasons I listed that make this my favorite holiday. I wonder what people would say if I put on a witch costume and gave random kids cups of cider from my cauldron with rubber frogs in it. Those were the days.