I only went in for a half day today and got out shortly after lunch to pick up Zacky from school. After the briefest of naps (I earned it!) We went to the sitter's to pick the rest of the crew up. She was just starting the "party" for the kids so we hung out for an hour or so so the boys could enjoy themselves. After that, photo shoot in the backyard and then off to the school for "Gross Out Night."
Now I remember the Halloween Carnival at my elementary school and I must say, while I admire the premise, this PC thing is just destroying fun for the kids. Back in my day (OMG, did I just say that?!!) the school was transformed. Classrooms became haunted houses, cafeterias were divided into booths filled with games and treats, there was always a cake walk and a raffle and a costume contest. But, nooo, Halloween is a terrible pagan holiday and some people might be offended by it and we certainly wouldn't want to pretend we endorsed Satan of all things so the Halloween Carnival begat the Fall Festival begat Gross Out Night.
Gross Out Night was held in conjunction with the science fair for the fourth and fifth graders. Yep, a scientific Halloween. They really tried to appeal to the kids and give them a place to go, but filling the cafeteria with educational explanations for bodily functions got really old after about ten minutes. Yes, there was fake snot and farts and scabs and ear wax and yes, even edible fake vomit. But it just wasn't the same.
Ah, how I long for the "good ol' days."
I can't remember at what point I was allowed to go out Trick or Treating on my own (or with big sister) but I do remember going up and down the street, knocking on doors and ringing on doorbells. My parents would turn out the porch light and hide in the back of the house (spoilsports) being the dark, empty house on the block while my sister and I trolled the streets for candy, usually in homemade costumes. Either that, or we'd be dropped off at a local elementary school to experience those delights, back when such a thing was still delightful. Nowadays, well...it just doesn't seem as magical. I hope the kids have good memories of these times, but I hesitate to think of what it will be like for their kids if these experiences are compared with their children's and the latter comes out lacking.
Anyway, back to the fun part. We did attend Gross Out Night and the boys seemed like they had a reasonable amount of fun. However, with barely enough candy to line the bottom of their buckets, we decided to hit the houses on the way home. Much better. With four kids, (yes, Eli tagged along, and while I did not hold up "his" pail at every door, more often than not, people slipped something into the bucket while admiring him. Something about babies in Pumpkin Hats.) the candy haul was more respectable.
Eli was more or less a pumpkin. My Mom sent him a Halloween sleeper, "My First Halloween" bib and a pumpkin hat. He was cute enough and I was over trying to find a costume to fit him. He passed out with all the noise and heat of the cafeteria and didn't stir for all of the banging on doors and shouts of "TRICK OR TREAT!" Which made him all the more adorable.
Zack was a Ninja--but refused to wear most of his costume. The gauntlets broke trying to remove them from the packaging, the sash was lost and the scarf for over his mouth was uncomfortable. The hood was pretty much a no go too, but he popped it off and on sporadically. Now I was surprised when he announced in the costume aisle that he wanted to be a ninja. No ninja movies out lately, no ninja cartoons (that I am aware of) and he'd never shown an interest in Ninjas before. But I figured it out when he approached me with a three foot long six inch wide hard plastic sword with the title "Ninja Sword." He wanted the accessories, he didn't care about the actual costume. Looking into my Mommy crystal ball, I saw a broken tv, an eye put out and an infant brother becoming "collateral damage." The sword was nixed, the costume approved, and a much, much smaller (and more aesthetically pleasing) foam sword was purchased instead.
Ian was a Cowboy. He originally picked out a pirate costume, but then Matthew (who had originally picked out Thomas the Tank Engine) decided he wanted to be a pirate too. Fine. I'll get two different pirate costumes. But at checkout, I discovered that Matthew's pirate costume was missing pieces so back into the fray we went. I could only find another costume like Ian's that was complete and in Matthew's size, so we were going to do that. But Mr. Ian didn't want to match his brother. Originally, he said he wanted to be Buzz Lightyear. My sister sent me one of my nephew's old costumes, and Ian is in love with Buzz, so he claimed it and wears it constantly. (The other day it was footy pajamas, Buzz Lightyear costume and a Batman cape...to go to sleep) Once he saw his brothers were getting new costumes, he wanted one too. But I had pretty much planned on that happening. Anyway, back to the great costume debate. I couldn't convince Ian to forget about the pirate and go as Buzz or pick another costume (other than the Wednesday Addams one he fell in love with--don't tell Aramis) so I asked him if he'd like to be Woody from Toy Story. Of course they didn't have a Woody costume, but they had a generic Cowboy and Thank Goodness he fell for it. I must say though, he made a fine looking Cowboy. It totally suited him!
Now I expected that after all the fuss and bother of the pirate costume debate, that Matthew would stay true to form and change his mind on his costume as we were checking out, or better yet, on Halloween. I expected crying and a meltdown, simply because he rolls like that. But no, he was happy with the Pirate costume, it fit his little body perfectly and it also suited him. He was the cutest pirate out there!
So this year's festivities are over and done. The candy has been hidden away, to be sorted through when I recover from the night.. And the kiddos crashed and actually went to sleep when they were sent to bed.
All in all, exhausting, but worth it.