October 30, 2007

Boo! (Sorry If I Scared You)

Tomorrow is Halloween. It will be Mia's first Halloween out on the town, trick-or-treating. Last year, she hid behind me as I doled out candy to the scary kids. And in her mind, they were all scary kids - from the little girl dressed up as R2D2 to the Lazy Ass Teenage Trick Or Treater who just barely bothered dressing up at all. He was wearing a hat made from the morning paper. Anyway, this year, we've been practicing. Mia's totally got the routine down from the knock on the door to the "trick or treat" to bringing it home with the "thank you." Only, whenever she tries to express her gratitude, she says "thank you for trick-or-treating" which is somewhat bass-ackwards but we've still got a little time to rehearse.

Growing up, I loved Halloween. My parents did too. I've run across pictures of my parents in the mid-seventies dressed up as two giant pumpkins and Adam and Eve - costumes I think we're obligatory for every couple in the seventies. And probably caused some of the therapy I needed in my twenties - no one needs to see their parents clothed only in leaves even if they're fake leaves stitched onto a body stocking. My old neighbors got into it too. There were always a few duds who turned off their lights and hid in the bedroom, cheating kids out of candy. And there were some on the opposite end of the spectrum who went out of their way to scare the shit out of kids, sending them screaming from their front yards.

We're in a new neighborhood, with neighbors we don't yet know and traditions we haven't yet soaked in. And Mia is an as-yet-untested trick-or-treater. She could love it or hate it. Tomorrow we'll know. And we'll start yet another round of traditions she will, one day, hopefully, recount when she has her own blog or whatever the futuristic equivalent of a blog is. Whatever it is, I'm sure it'll be filled with meditations on what a dork her dad is. But hopefully, at the very least, it will reflect happy Halloweens.

What are your favorite Halloween memories or traditions?

Posted by Chris at October 30, 2007 6:30 AM

I remember how exciting it was to go out after dark with a group of friends. I remember lots of giggles and screaming on our candy quest. I am shocked at the people today who deny their children this fun and deem it "devil worshipping". Which is totally ridiculous!

Posted by: DebbieDoesLife at October 30, 2007 7:36 AM

my grandmother worked at a hospital, most of my family lived in a 3 family flat, my grandmother brought home plaster of paris and made a face for my one uncle (right on his face!) that covered his whole head...i was in awe... while my other uncle (who went on to be a lifer in the marines no less) went as a very attractive woman... i was very young they were in their early teens... i just remember walking down the street with them, have NO idea what i was...

and...i still dress up... at work... for a while was the only one in the office...but now that the staff is getting younger...a few join me... (hey my mom said i never have to grow up)

Posted by: the unicorn at October 30, 2007 7:41 AM

My favorite memories and traditions are the ones that I've made with my kids. It's so much fun watching the kids do it every year and the best part is that they have to share their candy with me.

Enjoy eating all of Mia's candy.

Posted by: Nila at October 30, 2007 7:58 AM

I don't know about favorite but...my mom made me be a pumpkin for three years in a row and I hated it.

Posted by: betty at October 30, 2007 8:07 AM

Here in Michigan, where the weather at the end of October is unpredictable at best, I remember, more than once, having to go trick-or-treating with 1.) a winter coat under my costume because it was so cold out or 2.) a hefty bag with holes for my arms cut out over my costume because it was raining. I also remember some of my costumes, Santa Claus (thanks Dad), a sailor (thanks again, Dad, for the REAL uniform), and a deer hunter (thanks again).

Posted by: Dawn at October 30, 2007 8:36 AM

I'm one of those lame people that turn off all the lights and watch tv in my bedroom!

I DESPISE Halloween, always have. I was painfully shy as a child and my mother would make me get dressed up in stupid costumes (usually those plastic one piece suits with the horrid mask with the tiny eye and nose/mouth holes) and parade around the neighborhood begging for candy. In our neighborhood you had to "perform" to get your treat- sing a song or something. I HATED that and remember leaving more than one house in tears! So, yeah..no fan here!

Posted by: Lisa at October 30, 2007 8:37 AM

Dressing up my daughters for the big night. They loved it!

Posted by: Maribeth at October 30, 2007 8:50 AM

I agree with Dawn about the Michigan stuff. I *always* had to wear a coat- except we would never take into account his fact when we bought/made my costume, so they coat *always* had to go over it. I was always so pissed. I'm still a little pissed now thinking about it.

For a good memory, though, my dad was a landscaper, and I would always trick-or-treat in the neighborhood he worked in. All his customers would have king size candy bars and other cool shit for me when I would come to their door.

It rocked.

Posted by: Cassandra at October 30, 2007 8:58 AM

We are also in our new neighborhood this year, and this will be Izzy's first year to actually go up to doors. Everytime we try to practice she just starts laughing hysterically....at least her older sister will be there to knock, say the words, and start the candy flow.

We are excited though....almost every house on our street has placed Halloween decor in their yard on on their porches, which has to be a good sign.

My favorite memory has to be our old neighbor that used to set up a scary maze in his front yard. It was different every year and it always made me scream like a girl....and since I am a girl, I guess that is ok.

Posted by: Jen at October 30, 2007 9:11 AM

Our two year old is hitting the town tonight and I think we have all bases covered. My parents live in a gated community and get absolutely no kids to their home. So, they are coming to my house tonight to hand out candy while my wife and I walk our daughter around our neighborhood. One of my worst memories was when my parents made me collect for UNICEF one Halloween. I was all into collecting the money until the bomb was dropped that the money I collected was not for me.

Posted by: at October 30, 2007 9:14 AM

Here in St. Louis it's tradition for trick-or-treaters to tell a joke before they get their candy. It's really cute when the little ones have great jokes. You can tell the ones who practiced all week.

Posted by: Gwen at October 30, 2007 9:16 AM

Here in Scotland, we have only recently got into trick or treat. When I was a kid, it was known as "guising" and you had to perform for your reward - sing or tell a joke or dance. That aspect has survived and most kids coming round will do something - last year a group of about 9 kids had me in stitches as when I opened the door, I could only see 2 of them. The others were hiding round the corner and with each line of their song another one jumped out. It was really funny, honest! Much better than the local "neds" who turn up on 25 October with their jackets on back-to-front demanding cash.

Posted by: Loth at October 30, 2007 9:30 AM

I loved Halloween as a kid as well. A few favorite memories - trying to make a scary Halloween tape with my friend Monica in my garage(look I am 33 - we only had a tape recorder back in the day and I was 8 at the time) using the book I checked out from the library on how to make sounds using home objects - the book was from circa 1930 because it talked about the radio shows and how this was what they did! We finally gave up - it was hard work and I think whatever we recorded like sounded like shit!

My favorite costume was dressing up as a valley girl complete with day glo mini skirt and likely I sported the all important "LIKE OHMIGAWD"... Hey it was 1986 in San Jose CA - what did you expect!

I loved the pumpkin patch, the carving of the pumpkins, and most of all being set free (sort of - always a parent in tow until my teen years) with my friends in the cool evening air (it did get cold in San Jose, LIKE for real!) to ask for candy.

I am also excited for Matthew's 1st Halloween! We have been reading a book I bought at the grocery store and unwittingly he learned the whole TRICK OR TREAT thing which he now screams at the top of his lungs. I cannot wait to see him dressed up and going out to trick or treat!

Posted by: Christina at October 30, 2007 9:34 AM

This year, my 14 year old son is wearing a fuzzy purple hat as his costume. I asked him what he will tell people he's dressed as, because they always ask. He responded "Purple Hat Guy." Of course.

Best memories? When I was 10, my best friend Vivian and I decided to go as a two-headed monster, so my mother gave us a queen-size sheet, and we spent hours, maybe even days, decorating it. The day before Halloween she decided not to wear it, and I had no costume, because it wouldn't work for one. Ok I guess that's not really a "best memory" is it.

Yeah, Halloween is not my favorite holiday, now that you ask.

Posted by: Candy at October 30, 2007 9:37 AM

Trick or treating has only really taken off in the UK in the past few years but when I was a kid I lived on an island off the north coast of Scotland, and we just used to go tricking, no treating involved! You went round chucking eggs and flour at cars and front doors, not sure I was ever allowed to do it but I do recall something about throwing glitter around, I was in my girly pink fairy phase.

Posted by: Katherine at October 30, 2007 9:48 AM

When we lived in New York, the public school (PS13, baby!) would have its annual Halloween Parade. Every student would get decked out in the costume of the moment and then march around the school yard, up McLean Avenue, and then back to the school. Raggedy Anns, ballerinas, Darth Vaders... It was grand.

Posted by: GreenCanary at October 30, 2007 10:05 AM

We used to have a Halloween parade and parties at school. That was fun, except for the obligatory coat you had to wear for the parade, which took place out in the school yard.

Posted by: Fraulein N at October 30, 2007 10:11 AM

Best memories? Going trick-or-treating with my friends while my little sister had to go with my mom. Being outside at night with the trees making scary shadows and scaring ourselves silly saying, "What was that moving behind that house? A zombie?" We would almost talk ourselves into believing it.

And afterwards, lying on the living room floor with my sister, all our candy (post-parent inspection) spread out, bartering with each other for our favourite treats: I'll give you 3 rockets for the gumball and two caramels. My sister was ridiculously easy to con: I had her convinced that the little boxes of raisins were better than mini chocolate bars. Lise, if you're reading this, sorry for that.

My girls are exicited too. Leah is going to be a vampire. Rae can't decide between a ghost or a vampire and told me this a.m. that she's going to be the ghost of a vampire that died. I didn't get into the whole 'undead' thing, and told her that sounded like a fine plan to me.

Posted by: alison at October 30, 2007 10:17 AM

There wasn't Halloween in Thailand except for a few private parties when I was growing up and there is no such thing as trick-or-treat. My first two years in the US was staying at home with a sick kid in San Jose and then hiding in the bathroom because I didn't have any candy and since my room was in the front of the house, I got terrorized by overzealous trick-or-treaters who didn't take the darkened porch light as a no.

I didn't get to trick-or-treat until my Junior year in college actually. That was the year I moved out of campus housing to a neighborhood.

Current tradition is that I dress up for the day. In the evening, B and I pile into a car and drive to our friends' house to bring them candies. Occasionally they'll have us in for a glass of wine. Trick or Wine ain't a bad deal! :)

Posted by: oakley at October 30, 2007 10:18 AM

I loved that my mother really got into the decorating and the pumpkin picking because I loved it so much. Come to find out, she always really hated this holiday so it was pretty cool that she stepped up for her kids.

Posted by: Claire at October 30, 2007 10:38 AM

My best Halloween memories have been since I moved to Missouri in '98. I love to dress up and we have become Halloween party overachievers. I have always been a big fan of Halloween, but growing up in rural Wisconsin didn't give me the made for TV version I wanted. It was usually too cold to wear a costume without a coat over it or thermal underwear beneath. I lived on a country road with no sidewalks and houses that were spaced acres from one another. We would visit my grandma in town and use her neighborhood for trick or treating, but it wasn't as fun since we (my cousin and I both lived out in the sticks) didn't know the other kids or houses very well.

Posted by: Melissa at October 30, 2007 10:56 AM

My dad, who was wicked creative, would have my mom buy two pumpkins, one tall and skinny and one short and squat. He would carve them as Laurel and Hardy and even had plastic bowler hats to sit atop their heads.

My mom (or dad depending on how much sewing was involved) would make our Halloween costumes from patterns we picked out. My dad made my mom a lottery ticket costume one year.

My mom, a third grade teacher, would wear one of her dad's old suits and either wear an old man mask or a Regan one.

Posted by: rai at October 30, 2007 11:09 AM

My dad used to take my sister and I out trick-or-treating while my mom stayed home and handed out candy. My dad would dress in medieval armor, complete with helmet and sword (it was actually a stick of rattan). One year these older kids dressed as clowns were scaring all the littler kids and laughing about it, until they came around the corner and saw my dad, at whom they froze, screamed, did that "attempting to backpedal but not going anywhere" thing, and finally turned tail and RAN. It was awesome.

Posted by: Judy at October 30, 2007 12:15 PM

I am not a fan of Halloween - and of having my kids beg for candy from strangers... but, we'll take them trick-or-treating anyway, because I'm PMS'ing and Snickers sounds kind of good. My mom hated Halloween as well and it figures that I inherited the annoyance for it. I think a lot of that comes from being a homeowner in a town where punk-ass kids think it's funny to take part in the trick portion... We've been spared so far - but last year, our neighbors got hit with eggs, had their driveways coated with motor oil (YUCK), and ketchup. Yeeeeeeeeesh.

Posted by: sarah at October 30, 2007 1:31 PM

I am not a fan of Halloween - and of having my kids beg for candy from strangers... but, we'll take them trick-or-treating anyway, because I'm PMS'ing and Snickers sounds kind of good. My mom hated Halloween as well and it figures that I inherited the annoyance for it. I think a lot of that comes from being a homeowner in a town where punk-ass kids think it's funny to take part in the trick portion... We've been spared so far - but last year, our neighbors got hit with eggs, had their driveways coated with motor oil (YUCK), and ketchup. Yeeeeeeeeesh.

Posted by: sarah at October 30, 2007 1:32 PM

did you tell us what she's going to be? Have we seen costume photos?

Posted by: kalisah at October 30, 2007 1:33 PM

I was never good at coming up with good costume ideas, but my sister used to have some really good ones (blue crayon, grandfather clock, bag of french fries). My mom tended to make our costumes, since they ended up looking so much better than the storebought ones. In first grade, I dressed up as Raggedy Ann and one of my classmates was dressed as Raggedy Andy, so the teacher insisted on us walking together in the parade. One year, my dad dressed up like a vampire to hand out the candy and ended up scaring some poor kid so badly that she wouldn't come up the driveway. The followng year, he did the same get-up, but instructed the trick or treaters to come around to the side of the house (the yard was lit well) and he had turned on the hot tub and put a red filter over the light so it looked like some sort of witch's cauldron.

Posted by: MamaKaren at October 30, 2007 2:02 PM

I remember my Mom carving pumpkins, and my brother's demands to make each one "scarier." My poor mom. Anyway, I just remember hanging out after dark with neighborhood friends, gorging on candy, making sure to throw out the apples, since they supposedly had razor blades in them(?), and visiting the local haunted house. It was a small barn that was converted into a haunted house, with faux-corpses falling from the ceiling. My brother refused to go.

Posted by: Dawn at October 30, 2007 2:09 PM

My favorite Halloween memory is a hodgepodge of all of the fantastic parties I threw with my roommates before we all eventually moved on, got married, etc... Those were my last few years as a single girl and I'm glad I lived them up!
Hope you have fun taking Mia out tomorrow :)

Posted by: Katie at October 30, 2007 2:10 PM

we were one of those houses that went out of it's way to be scary. it was my stepfather's favorite. i think jumping out at kids and yelling an incoherent version of Boo! was one of his hobbies. we had scary sound effects and lighting, and we always came up with unusual costumes. one year i was a giant walking witches hat. just the hat.

Posted by: jodi at October 30, 2007 2:44 PM

Halloween was perhaps one of the few really great things about growing up in a tiny Iowa town. We got walk all over town, trick or treating practically everywhere and it was safe. My favorites were homeade popcorn balls (does anyone still make them?) and houses that had creepy music/effects that turned on as soon as you stepped on the property. The worst part was that inevitably the weather was crappy (it was a Halloween curse) and your mom would make you wear a coat over your costume. Boo!

Posted by: Shelly at October 30, 2007 2:51 PM

I'm not at all into Halloween. I was one of those kids that was a ghost or a witch every year because I had the costume in storage already.
But now that I have a kid I guess I'd better learn to get into the spirit of it. She's only 18 months so I have some time...
p.s. I did get creative and went as Crest Toothpaste one year. I even won a prize!

Posted by: Jessica at October 30, 2007 3:48 PM

Growing up in a very religious home meant we were not allowed to celebrate Halloween...however I believe my love for it as an adult has made up for it. We don't do anything special, but we do decorate the yard / house - more so than at Christmas. That should show my mom, no?

Posted by: Charlise at October 30, 2007 4:08 PM

My aunt lived in a pretty snazzy neighborhood that was quickly becoming suburbia instead of just 'small town'. We'd always trick-or-treat there, and dang, it was GOOD stuff. Big candy bars and lots of Hershey's stuff instead of generic crap. <3 Halloween.

Posted by: Sara at October 30, 2007 5:06 PM

My favorite halloween memories are of coming up with costumes. back when they were made by mom and with imagination not silly premade, licensed costumes or slutty witches and nurses like preteen girls wear.

Mia will probably still be afriand this Halloween, but next year she will rule.

Posted by: tuesday at October 30, 2007 5:36 PM

Adam and Eve costumes? That is hilarious. And so not a good idea. :)

Posted by: Librarian Girl at October 30, 2007 5:43 PM

I love to decorate inside with pumpkins, scarecrows, haunted houses, and booing ghosts.

I have always loved carving pumpkins but I think I love it more as an adult since I get to do the cutting, we all get our own pumpkins so we can each have our own way with the design!

I get so into passing out the candy I am sure the kids think I am the crazy red head who gave two handfuls of candy..this year I got some gummy eyeballs...I wont give those to the little ones ... they get playdough and teddy grahams...see it really is crazy, i have candy buckets by age group!!

Posted by: Steff at October 30, 2007 7:16 PM

Hey, I loved my dorky dad. We were Trick-or-treating buds.

Posted by: Sphincter at October 30, 2007 10:04 PM

My birthday is in early November, so all my birthday parties were costume parties. It was pretty sweet.

P.S. This year, I'm thinking about going as an evil spambot. :)

Posted by: Vaguely Urban at October 31, 2007 12:37 AM

I'm not a fan of Halloween. But I don't spread my humbug attitude around. I ooh and aah along with the best of them.

I hope Mia really enjoys her first night of trick or treating.


Posted by: cassie-b at October 31, 2007 9:01 AM

Parents dressed up as Adam and Eve? Please, say it isn't so!

Although I think dressing up is probably more fun/lighthearted than not dressing up at all. I don't recall ever seeing my parents dressed up in costume.

Posted by: Zandria at October 31, 2007 6:45 PM

We didn't celebrate Halloween as kids (JW) and so every year the neighborhood kids would egg the shit out of our house on Mischief Night. Eventually, my mother decided to let my brother and me protect the fort. We'd lay, him under the car and me behind a shrub, and if a kid approached to egg us, my brother would grab their ankles from under the car (scaring the poop out of them) and then I'd spring out and egg them first.

I think this may have been MORE fun than trick-or-treating.

Posted by: Mr Lady at October 31, 2007 6:59 PM