We watched the Halloween episode of Modern Family last night, and I saw similarities to my own household at this time of year. We may not have Hollywood props and a hundred experts to set them up, makeup artists and custom costumes, but we put on a pretty good show.
On the TV version, Claire is the driving force behind Halloween being so important. In my household, it’s DH. Claire wants to do it up big because Halloween is the only holiday she has left to call her own after the more important ones are snagged by other family members. (I can relate to that, but that’s a whole ‘nother rant.) My DH’s big reason? It’s setup and cleaned up all in one night.
That’s no easy feat these days. We started out small in our old house, and I would head out after Halloween every year to find great deals. Our little collection has grown quite a bit over the last fifteen years or so to include three huge Halloween Rubbermaid tubs full of props, and those don’t house the large items and things like fog machines. No, that plural is not a typo.
Everyone gets in on the act, and the only rule is that you can't be part of it if you're sweet. I'm the Monster's Bride. I’m in charge of the pumpkins and candy, and there are no half measures there, either. I use those carving books and do things like Dracula, werewolf, black widow spider, etc. Sometimes we have three, sometimes I have enough time to do five. These pics don't do them justice - they really do look super cool with only candle glow. Candy bars are regular size, not mini. I figure if you’re brave enough to come down the walkway, you deserve more than a bite of chocolate.
So back to when we began. Once DH got it rolling, there was no holding him back. He wears a sickly green mask that spirit glues to his face in pieces so it moves with him, a long black wig, a black sheet belted with rope, and covered in glow green spider webs. He looks so creepy and cool that one kid actually asked me if I bought him at Spencers. He has a whole sound system set up from his band days, and he sits very still until the kids get close, and then he starts talking to them. Thru an echoing mike. His first victim ever was a cute little ballerina who braved the 100 foot walk down our old driveway. Well, she made it about 50 feet and turned tail and ran when he said, “Come closer little ballerina” and gave a creepy laugh. I think her dad got a little pissed, but darned if every kid didn’t come back for more every year. By the 5th year, three other houses got in on the act and the rest of the neighbors knew to buy tons of candy. Seriously, parents were driving up in minivans full of kids.
Then we moved.
We now have a great porch for the “monster” set up, and one neighbor gets into it, too, but after 5 years here we still don’t have the sheer volume of kids we’d built up at the old house. It doesn’t help that there isn’t a sidewalk on our street & the houses are further apart. There are more and more kids every year, tho, and there are always one or two who tell us with pride that they ran away the year before, but they made it this year! I wonder if the milk carton will be one of those. Pair of kids came together last year, dressed as regular and chocolate milk. I think it was regular milk who had to be coaxed to the porch and then DH said something about loving milk on his morning bowl of spiders or human fingers and toes or some such thing. OMG, milk turned tail and ran and all you could see were these legs sticking out of the costume, pumping like pistons until they were out of sight. I would have felt bad, but I was laughing too hard.
The best thing about all of this? It’s the everyone gets in on the act part. Even grandma and the dog do it up. And can’t you picture a 6.5lb toy poodle as Darth Vader? Our teenagers have no interest in being anywhere else, and they love the setup. (We’re still working on the cleanup part.) Not only that, we have more and more of their friends volunteering every year. We were given the list of volunteers last night, which I find very funny considering these are 15-16yr old guys who think planning ahead is giving 2 hr notice.
Halloween also happened to be my parent's anniversary (they dressed as bride and groom). My dad is gone now, but he loved Halloween, and we light a white candle for him to join us for the night, too.
I'm off to find more pumpkins. Gonna go for 5 this year.