I’m sitting here sipping my coffee on the deck, enjoying the last of the fall foliage and Indian Summer before Hurricane Sandy hits to blow it all away and I just itch to write a Halloween post. But we haven’t done a ton of Halloweening this year because of my appendectomy. With me down and recovering, my family has been so focused on the necessities — food, clean laundry, transportation, and preventing me from busting my incisions open — that decorating has taken a back seat. This is the extent of our festiveness.
But with Frankenstorm coming our way, the lack of decorating really seems like a stroke of brilliance. While my neighbors scramble to take down corn stalks and dollar store ghosts, I get to sit here scrolling through our blog archives. And low and behold, I wrote a Halloween post last year! That exactly 12 people read because the blog wasn’t live when I “published” it.
So with a little editing, I’m sending this gem into the blogosphere for real. It was originally titled “Halloween is Sucking Me Dry Like a Bingeing Vampire.” Erin and I were trying to get this blog started and I had a ton of other things going on. I was nearly erupting in hives from the time suck Halloween was for me last year. In fact, here is a “snapshot” of a two hour period in my household:
Helped Jellybean (10) to construct a papier-mâché zombie wedding cake
Edited a speech by Coco (13)
Braided Coco’s hair so it would be wavy when delivering the speech
Mended the shirt to be worn during the speech
Shortened the pinkie of a Michael Jackson glove
I know the most surprising thing on this list is why would I be folding laundry when I have two perfectly good children to do this. Well, we desperately needed clean underwear in our drawers and Coco was writing her speech and Jellybean was not yet woman enough to multi-task to the level of working with flour paste and clean laundry simultaneously.
But in all seriousness, I bet half of you didn’t even blink an eye that I was making a papier-mâché zombie wedding cake. Congratulations, you are my kind of parents. You were doing your own equally stupid things for Halloween, so I don’t seem that far off the bell curve to you.
But the “cake” did have a purpose. At my daughter’s elementary school, they have this great event, started by a great teacher called Trunk-or -Treat. Parents circle their cars at the fire company’s carnival grounds and the kids trick-or-treat from trunk to trunk. Sounds simple in theory, right? But what would be the fun if there was no competition involved? Of course, we have to decorate the trunks! It is in its fourth year and as with all good things it gets grander and grander.
The first year we opened our decoration box and threw a bunch of stuff in our trunk. APPARENTLY, we were not really embracing the spirit of the whole thing. I got to burn with the shame of “Slacker Mom.” The second year we did an 80’s theme, but alas, the older gentlemen judging the trunks were not feeling that “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun.” The third year we won a trophy (that is still proudly displayed on the mantle) for “Kid Friendliest Theme.” Check out the “Funky Monkey Hot Tub.”
Well, our theme last year was “Zombie Wedding.” (We watch way too much “Say Yes To The Dress” and “Cake Boss”). We constructed a zombie couple out of PVC pipe to go with the aforementioned cake. We’ll just say I spent $100 on this glorious-ness ::wink, wink:: since my husband reads my blog. I swear, you give me PVC pipe, wire ties, duct tape, and fishing line and I can out-design MacGyver.
But oh my goodness, this trunk decorating dragged on my time so much that my family lived on fish sticks and learned to wear socks more than once. Don’t be too skeeved. We bought more underwear to bridge the gap. We’re not animals. Only deep breathing and wine prevented me from ruining all this fun with a screaming banshee grade meltdown. The killer is that this event replaced a free and simple school Halloween parade. Kids just brought their costumes to school and walked around the field; simple as that. But would we really be in the 21st century if we were allowed to keep things simple? If it doesn’t drive you to the brink of madness, is it really worth doing? Okay, I must interrupt this rant about the merits of simplicity with a confession. I did reallyenjoy making zombie breast implants. I disturbed my kids and I could not stop laughing.
But you know what truly made it all worthwhile? Winning, Baby! “Most Creative” trophy went to us! People were standing next to our creeps for photo ops like it was The Haunted Mansion at Disney World. Was it all worth it for the plastic trophy and $10 Wawa gift card? I must admit, we are competitive enough to say, “Yes!” But truth be told, Jellybean’s excitement and pride were pretty awesome, too. I could hear the thump of one more brick mortared into the foundation of our relationship. And here is the Sisterhood Secret: you REALLY need that foundation to be strong by the time they reach their teens. Just ask Coco, who wasn’t too cool to celebrate with the rest of us.
By Ellen Williams Erin Dymowski