Sunday, November 1, 2009

Stretching the Spooky

Have you noticed that celebrations for children seem to go on and on and on these days? Was it like that when we were kids? Don't get me wrong. It's really fun, but it also makes each event something to "get past" before anything else can happen. Know what I mean? In this instance, of course, I'm talking about Halloweeen.

Halloween in our house started a full week and a half before October 31st. One of the fabulous mommies from Mam's kindergarten class hosted a Halloween tea for all the little girls in the class. She has the perfect house for such things...huge, unmanicured yard and a rambling, non-upated house. Nothing to destroy. Absolutely perfect. And, of course, it was crazy cute.We had a fun couple of hours relaxing in the sunshine and it was a great way to kick of the excitement for Halloween.

A few days later, we made our annual trip to the pumpkin patch, to meet old friends and see everyone's costumes. And, of course, to take photos of the kids that actually include pumpkins. Sir Smunch was a wee bit baffled, apparently.Mam, on the other hand, was all about the posing with pumpkins, even though the bright sunlight wasn't exactly camera-friendly.My sister and I used to pose for these very same pictures in this very same pumpkin patch. Things were simpler then. It wasn't crowded. There was no $5 bounce house, no haunted house. No pony rides or petting zoo. No costumes either. I need to get hold of those photos, just for comparison. I suppose we still did plenty of wandering among the pumpkins, but we didn't look nearly this noble.And I don't recall the need to kick-test them, but maybe that's a boy thing. I'm quite sure there was plenty of this: And my mom probably even helped us pick that pumpkin up and purchase it...unlike me. I opted for the $3.99 pumpkins at CVS instead of paying $20 for this bad boy.

The pumpkin patch trip (followed by the annual pilgrammage to Jake's Pizza) was a whole week before the big event, giving us time to work up some eager anticipation for the Halloween parties and parades at school on Friday. As usual, I overvolunteered my time, not realizing that Smunch's Halloween party was at the very same time as the kindergarten parade and party. Fortunately, the front of his classroom is directly opposite the back door to Mam's kindergarten room and I managed to go back and forth and not miss much.

However, I was in charge of one of two crafts for the second graders. And all 80 second graders would be rotating through Smunch's classroom, so it wasn't a small job. The craft had to be explained three times and I'd failed to cut streamers to length, which turned out to be a fatal flaw in my plans. There were always at least two of us busily cutting streamers as fast as we could. The projects turned out cute though and the kids seemed to like them.I loved seeing all the kids' ghost wind socks together on the table. They're way cuter as a "flock" than they are flying solo. I wished I could've taken them all home myself!In mid-craft, I ran over to the kindergarten yard to watch Mam's parade. It was small and low-key, but obviously, it was important that I made it. She was already dressed when I got there. After the grand march, the kids were treated to Frankenstein hands (gloves filled with popcorn with candy corn "fingernails") and pudding with chocolate crumbs on addition to cheese pizza. Spoiled any?I ended up having to drag Mam back to the second grade room, where she made her own ghost, we cleaned up and hightailed it home for lunch before going back to school to help Smunch get dressed for the whole-school parade.
The parade was fun, but very long and too hot for so many kids sitting out on the blacktop. Mam only begrudgingly participated in this second parade, even though most of her class had returned for the event. For Smunch, it was the main event. But he didn't see me in the sea of parents, so I didn't get much of a photo.His mask was always falling down, so his chin was pointing up towards the sky trying to keep it on.

After the parade, the second graders (and many younger siblings) headed to the multipurpose room for a 20-minute viewing of It's the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown, complete with their own Frankenstein hands (their other craft from the morning) for munching.Then all the little monsters and goblins went home for the weekend, completely hopped up on sugar and excitement...thinking the next 24 hours couldn't pass fast enough.

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