Halloween 2011 was, by far, the weirdest Halloween of my life. Just to reiterate: it was the weirdest Halloween of my life. Two days before Halloween, in an unprecedented record-breaking-early freak nor’easter, it snowed 8+ inches here in Pennsylvania. That is weird (especially given that we’ll sometimes have whole winters go by in which we never have a storm that big – let alone in October). My parents were visiting, making a 5-day-“long weekend”-of-Halloween, and the storm effectively wiped out nearly every single plan that I had devised. It became, for example, our first year ever to not go to Traugers Farm pre-Halloween (breaking these sorts of traditional rituals is not easy for me). The hayride was cancelled— a sleigh ride would have been more appropriate. The school Halloween party was cancelled (because school was cancelled). But there we were, digging our pumpkins out from under the snow drifts. It was hard for me wrap my mind around how to proceed with a snowy Halloween. It felt more like Christmas. Except that trees were falling down all around us, power outages were surrounding us (amazingly, we were somehow spared), we had to frantically dig our winter boots out from storage, and the whole world seemed to be going berserk. Adding to the drama, Lehigh was shut down (for the first time ever in my 10 years there classes were cancelled—and for three days in a row no less!—the campus just re-opened today); neighbors have been filling water jugs from our faucets and taking showers in our bathrooms; and both Kyle and Meera have been sick (and are now on all sorts of meds for pretty serious head/sinus/ear/throat/respiratory infections). Blah. Humbug.
Now that I’ve had a couple of days to step back from it, I can see that it was not a bad Halloween. It was just a weird Halloween. Given that preamble… here are our Top Ten Highlights from Halloween 2011:
1. The Snow. Yes, it has to be on the list. It is what made Halloween 2011 the unique (weird) experience that it was.
2. MorMor & MorFar were with us. When all heck broke loose, they did what they do best: they were our anchors in the storm. They went to the grocery store, stocked up, and then cooked us a full blown roasted chicken dinner, complete with stuffing, gravy, mashed potatoes, about 50 different vegetables, apple pie and ice cream. While this definitely added to the Thanksgiving/Christmas-esque ambiance (and contributed to the difficulty in trying to be in the Halloween spirit), it was most definitely fully appreciated by 5 J-Ms who don’t usually get to eat that kind of a meal (what a treat!!!). And the leftovers from that meal fed us for the rest of our snow-bound days (including an awesome chicken-and-rice soup that MorMor made for Halloween night). They also played several rounds of Uno with us by the fire while the snow poured down; MorFar helped us shovel out; MorMor did about 1,000 loads of laundry; MorFar played baseball with the boys in the midst of a nor’easter (no joke! God love him!); MorMor read 12 Berenstein Bears books in a row to Kyle (no joke! God love her!); MorFar roasted pumpkin seeds; MorMor made “Jack-o-lantern Jars” with Meera and me (see photo at top); they both witnessed us at our very worst (and somehow made us feel not-so-bad about it); gorged on Halloween candy with us; they laughed with us (and at us); and they were – as usual – our tried and true most beloved and steady companions on this crazy-journey-in-Never-A-Dull-Moment-land. This picture doesn’t do them justice, but I love it nonetheless:
3. Meera’s Daycare Parade. On Friday, before all heck broke lose, when things were proceeding along as planned, Meera had her First Ever School Halloween Event. MorMor and I had the pleasure and privilege of cheering her and her friends on at their daycare “Parade.” Meera was so cute.
4. Kyle and Owen’s School “Show.” Also on Friday, before the freak snowstorm and aftermath, we all attended a potluck “Dinner and Show” at Kyle and Owen’s classroom. Their 1st/2nd grade class put on a performance of some “book adaptations” that they had been working very hard on all fall. It was very endearing, and just a tad bit amusing, and we (adults) worked hard to take them (the kids’) oh-so-seriously. It was a special Friday Night Out. Afterwards, K & O got to stay up until midnight watching Game 7 of the World Series with MorFar and Papi (that was a high of their life-to-date)!!!!!!!!
5. The Carving of Jack-o-Lanterns. I don’t care how hard it snows, we will never abandon that Halloween tradition.
6. 3 Skeletons! They insisted early on in the costume-discussions that they all wanted to be “the same.” After weeks and weeks of deliberations and negotiations the three of them finally settled on “glow in the dark skeletons.” By the grace of God I was able to make that vision come true (thanks to Chasing Fireflies).
7. 2 Pumpkins! Hudson and Quinn in costume:
8. Trick-or-Treating (in the snow).
9. The Loot. Yeah, they gave it right up (see #10), but for the 24 hours that they kept it, they delighted in it. Just the thrill of having it is… just such a thrill.
10. The Candy Witch. Oh dear God. The Candy Witch strikes again. Seriously? This kills me. After all the Halloween hoop-la, I then I have to go work my magic as The Candy Witch. As if Santa, The Easter Bunny, and The Tooth Fairy weren’t enough. But, once again, much to my chagrin, they insisted on the whole Candy Witch thing, and were absolutely dead-set against keeping their candy. And so, when they adamantly declared that they were “leaving all the candy for The Candy Witch,” I was left with no other option (I mean, unless I wanted to break their three little spirits)… and so, despite snow and ice and everything else, our Halloween graciously ended with a jolly old visit from The Candy Witch herself (turns out she flies through the night, even over snow banks!).
Last night, as I took down the Halloween decorations from our house, and stored them back in their boxes in the basement, I was glad to have Halloween 2011 behind me. All is well that ends well. But really, it was weird. And now we head into the hard-core holiday season. (I have mixed emotions about that fact… oh the mother-load-of-work-the-holiday-season-is… I’m looking down the pike with genuine excitement mixed with sincere fear and trepidation.) Hopefully Thanksgiving and Christmas will be less weird than Halloween was. We can only hope.
Over and out!