Halloween has come and gone and now I am left with 11 pumpkins on my front steps, a bunch of cold wet decorations and I am 3 pounds fatter because of all the mini-chocolate bars I have eaten this past week as meal replacements.
But as this Halloween clean-up begins, I look back at what was a memorable night last night, and even further back at my own Halloween adventures as a sheltered kid living in the north end of this city.
With all 5 of us getting over some nasty flu-like symptoms for the better part of a month, I wondered how tonight was going to play out (October 31st). In the morning we say our first taste of Toronto-winter, with snow flurries and it was quite cold.
As it got closer to 6pm, we got all the kids fed – tons of veggies! – and into their costumes. Linus was a skunk, Stewie a monkey (although he told me earlier in the day – while in costume – that he was a lion, and he even growled at car, until I pointed out he had a banana in his pocket – he was not happy to see me – and monkeys have bananas, not lions). Whew. Berry wore the same elephant costume that the boys each wore when they were babies.
Linus’ friend came by with his parents and the plan was for all of us to walk together for 30 minutes, then Urban Mummy and Berry would come home and give out candy, while the boys and I trudged on.
Last year, Linus lasted 45 minutes until he was exhausted, while Stewie went for 1 1/2 hours. That kid loves to eat and when he realized that he could knock on people’s doors and get candy, he did NOT want to stop.
This year, Urban Mummy took the boys with Linus’ friends and parents and I sat on the front steps (on a blanket) with my little elephant and we greeted the kids, neighbours and friends and gave out a TON of candy. Our new neighbourhood has a ton of kids, and many houses with some pretty exciting decorations.
I turned on some scary music / pictures on my laptop, gave Berry 2 mini-boxes of smarties to shake, and we gave out all of the candy we had bought (less what piggie-me ate), in addition to ALL the candy the kids collected to the throngs of children and young adults who came to our house.
Sitting outside allowed me to meet neighbours and see cool costumes and teach Berry how to say “pumpkin” which she did once only. Urban Mummy, however taught her to say “elephant”… Nice.
Here are some of my observations from our new neighbourhood – being the father of 3 kids dressed up for the beg-for-candy fest.
1) The first 4 kids that came to our house declined the candy and asked for “nut-free” treats instead. Fortunately, some of the candy-bars are nut-free and this was acceptable. So I found myself asking each child for the rest of the night if they required nut-free treats or not.
2) Kids were both polite and cautious. Pretty much each child came with a parent and said thank you. They looked both ways while crossing the street and if asked if they wanted more candy later in the night, politely declined and moved on.
3) After a successful night, we turned off the decorations and all the lights in the house so we could put Berry to sleep – while would tell me if I was a kid, to find a better house, yet some 15 year old kids in “costume” still rang the doorbell expecting treats… Dumb dumbs.
4) As a kid, I remember my Dad taking my sister and I to the house on the corner that gave away pads of paper and pencils. He would take us there many times per night until the owner would dump a lot in our bag (while probably mumbling for us to go away). Looking back now, that was pretty weird, even odder is the fact that I saw some of those pads still in my Mother’s house the other day…
5) Growing up we used to look at what we were given and comment. Kids these days don’t care. They load up and go to the next house. It’s quantify, not quality. If you recall my post from last year, the neighbourhood we hit had large, very expensive homes and the kids only got one small treat per house. This time around they got more and had to be out less.
6) By 8pm, my boys were so done, that they ran up and down the driveway yelling for “guests” to come so they could give them candy. Linus actually tracked down 2 parents walking a dog and gave them each 3 mini-candy bars for their troubles.
7) I now have 10 pumpkins to carve / cook with as is tradition every year. So lots of seeds and lots of pumpkins… Yum.
8) Need to look now for decorations for next year. Urban Mummy wants a giant spider and I want some headstones and something that makes noise. We used to have a ghost that moved in the wind but it’s nowhere to be found!
9) Every year now, we ask our kids to give us all their candy at the end of the night – we are a treat-free family – and in exchange we trade for a toy. So the boys easily handed over their half-bag of candy for a zhou zhou pet and cage within minutes of getting home. This avoids the need to eat all the candy at once and essentially the kids eat a treat a night for the week then it’s done.
I actually offered up my suggestion to Erica Ehm, on Twitter last night, her of the Yummy Mummy Club – formerly one of the first VJ’s on Much Music in Canada. She re-tweeted it to all her followers.
It’s totally an Urban Mummy initiative, I just happen to think it’s brilliant and want to share it with others!
10) After the nut-free situation was revealed to me, my 4-year-old commented that many kids were carrying two bags with them. “It’s for perishable items needed for the food bank”, the boys responded. “Unparashible?” I replied, “Yeah, that’s it” said the boy. Having nothing, I offered him a pumpkin… “Nut-free AND edible!” I boasted.
“No thanks”, he shot back as the group made their way down the stairs and off to the next house.
So what was memorable on your Halloween?