Friday, October 24, 2008

Halloween Habits

I can't believe how fast this month has flown by. And next week is Halloween. Doesn't it seem like it was just August? And yet when I venture into various stores, the Christmas stuff is up, so it must be Halloween. ;)

I've been thinking about past Halloween adventures and decided to share a few of those. The idea for today's blog started when a friend of mine mentioned that she was being proclaimed perverse for celebrating this holiday. If that's the case, then I've been perverse since I was about four years old. I think that's the first time I went trick-or-treating. At least, that's the earliest I can remember embarking on this fine tradition.

What's not to like about this holiday as a kid? You get to dress up in costumes, and then travel around from house to house collecting candy. =) And sometimes you get to attend a fun party where you also get to dress up and play entertaining games.

Here are some of my favorite memories of this fun-filled holiday:

Years ago when I was nigh to a tadpole in human years (around six or seven) my parents decided to throw a Halloween party. We were living in a fairly new brick home---my mother's dream house, something they had contracted to have built about the time I was almost five. The basement wasn't finished and this is where the party was to take place. One side had been turned into a spook alley. The other had been decorated to the hilt for Halloween.

When the great day arrived, I remember both of my parents bustling around in preparation for the great event. They had invited a lot of people, including kids around my age, and it was a blast. We played games like pin the band-aid on the mummy, and we even bobbed for apples, my first experience with such a thing. As I recall, I never did capture an apple with my small (at the time) mouth but I did manage to get really wet. It was still a lot of fun.

The spook alley scared me to death, in the fine tradition of Halloween. I remember passing through the entrance that was draped in black plastic, not sure what to expect. Suddenly, every time I took a step, it sounded like firecrackers were going off around my feet. Screaming, I ran through, experiencing "guts" made of spaghetti, and a variety of scary looking people who were dressed up for the occasion.

I later learned that the "fire-cracker" effect had been achieved compliments of bubble wrap. My parents were ingenious with this sort of thing. The party was a huge success.

I also remember going trick-or-treating each year, filling a huge plastic pumpkin with candy treasures. Then we'd come home and sort everything into piles to admire and count what we had received. We were each allowed to keep our own candy, but we were restricted to one treat per day until it was all gone. My candy stash lasted until about December. It was great.

When I was older and much too mature to go trick-or-treating, I was privileged to take my younger sisters around. (By then my brother also thought he was too old to participate in collecting candy. I think he enjoyed pulling a few pranks instead, but I digress.) Halloween was still fun. It was great watching the excitement my sisters felt as they ran from house to house, collecting treats.

I've shared this before, but it's a classic family moment we laugh about whenever we think about Halloween. That year, my father had volunteered to take my sisters trick-or-treating. My brother and I were off to attend a mutual Halloween costume party at the church. That left my mother home to hand out treats. She has always enjoyed seeing the costumes and handing out candy, so she was looking forward to her part in this fine Halloween tradition.

Earlier that day, she had made a pumpkin pie, also a Halloween tradition. She dished herself up a huge slice, topping it with whipped cream. Then she sat down in a chair in the living room to enjoy this luscious dessert. She was watching a scary movie, another one of her favorite things to do on Halloween night. It was getting late enough, she had assumed there would be no more trick-or-treaters. Just as a scary part of the movie occurred, the doorbell rang out, effectively scaring her. She jumped as she cut into the pie and it flipped up into her face. There she was, covered with pumpkin goo and whipped topping and she had trick-or-treaters waiting at the door. Not wanting to risk getting tricked for not handing out treats, she went to the door wearing her piece of pumpkin pie. She later told us that the kids standing on our porch were very impressed with her "costume."

The years passed by and suddenly, I had my own kids to teach about the wonders of Halloween. It was great. We always carved pumpkins and either Kennon or I would take them around to trick-or-treat. Each year I helped my sons create the desired costumes for Halloween. They wore them to school for the traditional parties and for the annual Halloween Carnival sponsored by the local elementary school. Needless to say, we have lots of pictures of them posing in their costumes.

One year, when our boys were quite young, Kennon and I were invited to participate in a fun Halloween activity. After we had taken our kids trick-or-treating that night, we arranged for a babysitter. Then we dressed up rather scary to rendezvous at a certain place in nearby Montpelier with other fun-loving adults.

First, we went into a local grocery store and had some fun with the customers. A member of our group, who was dressed up in a gorilla suit, grabbed a bag of candy, opened it, and began handing out the goodies to everyone in the store. When one of the employees panicked and started to call for the police, the gorilla removed her mask---she was the wife of the owner of the store. =)

When we left the store, we headed for the local movie theater. A scary movie was playing during the second show that night. The theater managers, who were also dressed up for the occasion, wanted us to go inside in pairs during the movie, and sit by the movie-goers and have some fun with them. It was great, even if inappropriate language was uttered by one or two of those who were frightened by our appearance. We would walk in, and randomly sit by whoever we wanted. Sometimes it would take a minute or two for them to realize a ghoul was sitting beside them. Other members of our party would wait until an intense scene, and then tap the shoulder of someone sitting in front of them. We heard a lot of screams that night. =) It was a fun Halloween adventure.

After we tired of scaring the movie people, we headed for our final destination, a nearby truck stop that is open 24 hours a day. As I recall, we entertained the truckers, and others who were out having a late night snack. By then we were more silly than scary and a good time was had by all.

As our boys grew older, they really got into carving pumpkins, using a variety of patterns to create impressive works of art. And they still enjoyed dressing up for parties, YM activities, etc. when Halloween rolled around.

Earlier this week, my husband and I drove to Logan for an eye doctor appointment. While there, we swung by to visit our oldest son who is living in Logan while he attends college. In the fine tradition of our family, he has decorated his apartment, inside and out, for Halloween. It's good to know that this holiday will continue to be celebrated by our posterity.

This coming Halloween will be an important first for our little granddaughter. As her grandmother, I couldn't resist purchasing a pumpkin hat made especially for babies. ;) Yep, I'm going to be that kind of grandma.

To me, Halloween is all about good, clean fun. I love seeing the costumes and handing out treats. I enjoy decorating my house in Halloween attire. It's a great season. This year, things will be slightly different. Our ward is sponsoring a "Trunk & Treat" party at the church. I was told the other day that because of the cold weather, the party will take place inside the church on Halloween night. We will each be assigned a classroom we can decorate as we wish for Halloween, then the little kids can still come around, knocking on doors for treats. I'm looking forward to this event. It may become a new tradition in our community. Usually the weather is so nasty, the trick-or-treaters have to wear heavy coats over their costumes. This way, we'll get to see the little cowboys, princesses, and ghouls in full regalia. I can hardly wait.

What are some fun Halloween traditions or memories from your realm? Feel free to share. (This is a hint.)

Return to the Neighborhood


carrie said...

I just love reading the posts that have pictures of Kris when he was younger! They make me smile and laugh! And I also get to read about family traditions...they are the best things to remember and pass on to your own kids!

Cheri J. Crane said...

Hi Carrie. =) Glad you liked the pictures. It's fun to look back once in a while, eh? And you're right, traditions are a fun thing to pass on to the next generation(s). ;)Have a great Halloween.

Phelps Fam said...

How fun! I love those pictures. I can't believe how long ago that was and it only feels like yesterday! I enjoy reading your posts!
Take Care, and Happy Halloween!

Cheri J. Crane said...

Hi Kwinnae. =) I'm so glad you enjoy the posts. And you're right, the years have flown by so fast. It doesn't seem that long ago when you were that same age. ;)

Have a wonderful Halloween celebration.

Kayli said...

How fun..! Love these photos. Have a fabulous Halloween.

Derek Crane said...

Ode to the embarrassment of the crane brothers...there I have officially renamed this
I really liked Dad's costume in the last picture, Krissy got a big kick out of it too!