We had a stressful afternoon following the school parties (lots of fighting, pouting, whining - you know who that was! - and also a whopper of a tummy ache thanks to four frosted cookies and a handful of candy on the bus). There was an announcement made (I won't give away the child in question) stating "I'm not trick or treating." Grandma and Grandpa came to visit for awhile as well to see costumes, and though it's always great to see them it was in the middle of the stress, the whining, and the tummy ache. Sigh.
In our household, Halloween is best enjoyed when it is a simple affair. So we gave the kids some space. And a very simple dinner. And then we encouraged costumes and a promise of meeting up with friends. And, little by little, some smiles emerged as the costumes went on once again. Eyes started twinkling. Pumpkin buckets (and a pillow case for the dude) were grabbed and swung about.
We went outside. There was a chill but nothing that required jackets. A shout, a run down the driveway, and the night, the simple affair that Halloween should be, began.
I sat on the porch (with a cocktail, thank you) and watched the sky turn from lapis to navy to deep midnight blue, framed by the dark swirling branches of neighboring trees. I could hear the shouts of my own kids from down the street, as they greeted friends and were greeted by others. My own humble jack-o-lantern flickered his smile to passers-by, which were actually pretty few in number. After a half an hour, my troops came bounding to my spot on the porch with more shouts and laughter and half-filled sacks of goodies. My littlest, a pink bunny, decided she was tired of the whole deal and decided she'd most like to pass out candy. It was very cute, watching her take up her post so seriously! I would have loved to photograph her, but the porch lighting (and camera flash) couldn't have captured it properly!
When it was all over, it was a consensus - there are too many trappings and commercial junk associated with Halloween. The expectations on our kids are too high as well. If it could only be simple - a cool fall night, a flickering pumpkin, a bowl of candy, and laughing children, - well, what a wonderful change that would be.
Edit - I just found this poem in Lauren's backpack. In parentheses are corrections for spelling.
H otid Hawsy (Haunted House)
A t halloween
L ove candey
L ove Halloween
O n Halloewn
W acke (walk)
E at cand
N iet (night)