Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Random thoughts on Hallowe'en

Nick was not, after all, Darth Vader for Hallowe'en. Instead, he was a Cyborg Alien. I'm not quite sure why, but he has decided that one must be "evil" (not just "scary") for Hallowe'en. This lets out all the cute funny costumes of years past (most memorably, Mark once made him a swan costume so he could be Louis from The Trumpet of the Swan). He went out with four other boys from the neighborhood and the mom of two of the boys, and came back in an hour (maybe less) with a load of candy. Which, unprompted, he offered to share with Mariah (though he did put limits on what she could take). So despite his really ghoulish appearance, he remains a (mostly) sweet kid.

Hallowe'en was otherwise fairly unmemorable. We bought pumpkins on Sunday (after striking out Saturday when Nick couldn't choose one that fell within my price-and-size guidelines--he's not always sweet!). Nick carved his later that afternoon, with help from a neighbor and supervision from Mark. Mariah carved hers in the twenty minutes between dinner and the first onslaught of trick-or-treaters. She then sat on the couch trying to do homework as kids streamed up to the door. "I hate kids," I heard her say. So I took over handout duty.

Every year, it seems, there are more bought costumes, fewer homemade ones. This was the first year we ever bought a costume solely for Hallowe'en. (Mariah had two costumes that were purchased on sale after Hallowe'en that lived in her dressup box. One of them, a fabulous furry bear costume, did actually appear on her and, later, on Nick on the actual day.) But this year we were just like everyone else, it seemed. I saw a few little kid costumes that might have been homemade, but they were really rare. And the kids without costumes just make me sad. I always think the dressing up is the point, the candy the side-benefit, but apparently not everyone agrees.

It was warm this year but we didn't have a big crowd. We always get enough takers to clear out four or five bags of candy (this year it was four, supplemented by a couple of handfuls from our neighbor, who got home too late to hand out everything he'd bought). I recognized about a third of the kids/families; the rest were strangers, but that doesn't mean they don't live in the neighborhood. Still, I felt as if we really didn't get into things this year--as if it were just a chore. I'm not quite sure why.

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