Daily Archives: October 22, 2013
Posted by wendiwendy
When October 1st rolled around, I put Dave on notice. “Hey hon, could you help me get out the Halloween decorations this weekend?” He readily agreed, as I knew he would – the sight of me staggering upstairs under the weight of a huge Rubbermaid tub offends his chivalrous sensibilities. But he looked nervous; he knows me pretty well.
A few days later, I walked into the living room and almost tripped over the gray tub in the middle of the floor. Dave presented it like Vanna White, with a sweep of his arm and a triumphant smile.
“Thanks, babe! But this isn’t the only one – see how it says ‘Thanksgiving/Halloween’ on top? This is the overflow, what wouldn’t fit in the main Halloween tub.” I opened the lid to give Dave a look as he expressed his disbelief. “See? The ghosts for the front door aren’t here, the pumpkins, the bats …” I moved the turkeys and cornucopia out of the way to grab the few Halloween decorations in the tub, and then closed it up. “Come on, I’ll help you find the rest.”
We trooped back downstairs to the crawl space, while Dave muttered, “I didn’t see any other box, I don’t know … are you sure … ?” I positioned myself by the door while Dave hunched over and inched his way into the short space, and told him to check all the way in the back. Before long he found the tub and I had my work cut out for me.
I love decorating for the holidays which, for me, start with Halloween. I definitely got this from my mom; I can still picture our Halloween decorations and remember the excitement I felt when I’d come home from school to find that she’d decorated the house. Halloween was a huge, big deal to me; I really got into picking out a costume, I absolutely loved trick or treating … the excitement and anticipation of the day was always over the top for me. I actually used to have nightmares about missing Halloween – I couldn’t get my costume on in time and before I knew it, trick or treat hours were over, or I just plain forgot and realized the next day that I’d have to wait until next year.
I’ll never, EVER forget the year my dad enlisted our neighbor’s help to deliver some bags of candy as we were watching Charlie Brown’s Halloween special. I stared at the TV, rapt … and a little horrified on Linus’ behalf. He missed tricks or treat, the horror! My dad tapped me on the shoulder and pointed out the window. “I just saw the Great Pumpkin! Did you see that?!” I hadn’t seen anything but … gosh, was that a flash of orange? Is the Great Pumpkin REAL?!
Just then the doorbell rang. My dad, comfy in his usual TV-watching spot on the couch, asked me to answer it. And there on the doorstep were two bags, for me and my brother, from the Great Pumpkin. It was the coolest thing ever – can you see now why I love Halloween so?!
As a young adult and before I had kids, I was satisfied with decorating the house and handing out candy on Halloween, admiring the parade of costumes and eating the leftover candy when the doorbell finally fell silent (a benefit I never really realized as a kid). But once I had my own kids, my dormant Halloween obsession came alive. I made their costumes, decorated the house inside and out, and took them trick or treating for as long as they wanted. (And seriously, most of the time I couldn’t believe it when they were ready to go home. Really guys? That’s it, you’re done? One year Paige said her cowgirl boots were hurting and I actually had to bite my tongue to keep from talking her into walking some more. I have a serious trick or treat problem, really.)
When they got a little older, I started a Halloween meal tradition and I did this up until 2011, the last year I had a child living at home on October 31. I would make up a menu, print it out and leave it at their places to find at breakfast. It was always horrible and disgusting, and the game was for them to figure out what we were really having for dinner. Once or twice I made a new recipe I’d found just for the occasion, but generally it worked out better to have things I already knew they liked and just give them a gross name.
Appetizer — Sausage/cheese balls with eyeballs made of mozzarella and pepperoni discs
Main course – Pasta shells filled with sauce and mozzarella cheese, and pepperoni rolls (infected warts)
Dessert – Apple wedges filled with caramel and mini marshmallows (as the teeth); brownies with spiderwebs and spiders on top
Green beans became witches’ fingers, apple slices and caramel apple dip became vampire fangs with mucous membrane dip, and spaghetti became (what else?) worms in blood sauce.
My kids are all grown up and make their own entertainment on Halloween now; Dave and I answer the door, hand out candy, and usually have Tacos in Pasta Shells for dinner (also called Severed Eyelids … the best gross name for shell pasta of any size).
But I still get a little jolt of excitement when the month of October rolls around. I change my desktop wallpaper and Facebook cover image to skeletons dancing around a bonfire by the light of the full moon. I decorate the house just like I always did; when Toby was still alive, I made sure that I pinned his Superdog cape to his collar for the day. (I made that from leftover scraps when I was making Paige’s Sailor Moon costume.)
The cats know better … they stay out of sight on that day. Who knows what kind of costume I might come up with for them?!