Friday, October 23, 2009

It's the most wonderful time of the year...

Can you tell I'm slightly excited for Halloween?

This year, we have go OUT. I'm struggling with a tiny bit of guilt for plotting to go to a party for GROWN UPs. The plan is to take the little one around to friends' houses, so Penny can practice the fine tradition of begging for candy, and then we're going to take her to Grandma and Grandpa's, so they can Trick or Treat together in their neighborhood and put her to bed at their house, while we are out having FUN. I'm not ready for Penny to spend the whole night away from us, so we'll sneak in to take her back home after the party. What could possibly go wrong with that plan?

I've been wanting to get into Halloween more than in years past, partially because Penny is getting older and can understand more things, sort of. She doesn't really know that candy exists yet, and she dislikes Jack O'Lanterns. Also, she can't say "Trick Or Treat," but maybe people will accept her very polite "Please?" Which sounds like "Eeees?"

But the truth is, I have always loved this holiday, because it is the one time of year when it's ok to pretend to be someone you're not. As someone who has only recently accepted the person she's become, this holiday holds a considerable amount of significance for me. My mom, the creative genius, used to come up with the most amazing ideas for costumes. She would start by asking us what we wanted to be, and then try to make our ideas come to life, using ordinary items, or by sewing costumes for us. It wasn't until I was an adult that I actually paid money for a store-bought costume. An adult who can't sew and whose creative genius of a mother has died. But this is not meant to be a sob story.

I distinctly remember my costumes over the years, from the various incarnations of Princess Leia, to the Gypsy Woman whose identity I assumed to attend my first teenage Halloween party. Some of the more outstanding costumes made for my sisters were the Swiss Army Knife, the Sandwich, the Alligator, and the Spider, which was hand-sewn with the right number of legs and lots of googly eyes.

But the first Halloween I remember well was when I was in Kindergarten. I wanted to be a fairy princess, so my mom used my dance recital costume and made wings and a crown out of leftover Christmas tinsel. Penny's Aunt Meg was only 2, so we were Fairy Princesses together, naturally. Our wands were wooden mallets from our toy xylophone with tinsel around them. The best part was the Halloween costume parade at school. I remember walking down the street with the other kids in my class, feeling so proud and so beautiful, just like a real fairy princess.

We've upheld the fine tradition of pumpkin carving, another talent of my mom's. We carved pumpkins at our friends' house this weekend, and feasted on roasted pumpkin seeds, which Penny devoured. She was fascinated by the pumpkins, but did not enjoy the sight after that first incision, when the top of the pumpkin is pulled away from rest, complete with pumpkin goo and innards dangling from the stem. No, she did not like that one bit. Later, she was entertained by the pumpkin's face, because she likes faces, but did not like to see it lit, in the dark, with its glowing eyes.

So we've been having discussions about things that are "not scary." She will be babbling about something, then stop, and look at me with the most sincere and serious expression on her little face, shake her head, point her finger, and say "No, Nair-ie." Nope, that's not scary. Not really, baby.


Lo said...

It's a wonderful plan. You take her a little, they take her. I wish I could have done that. Enjoy the heck out of it.
We get about 300 trick-or-treaters, because Beaux always decorates like crazy. Even this year, in spite of everything. And I never feel closer to my mom, whom I miss a lot, than Halloween. She was blind, but would fling open the door and ask the kids what they were dressed as. She kept count on a hand-held counter that I inherited and use.

Alisha said...

Have you decided on a costume for Penny? I can't wait for the pictures. I bought Xavier a little vampire costume so he can wear a little bow tie and cape and look like a serious small man. I don't think he'd be afraid of pumpkin guts--I think he'd go at it and make the biggest mess ever. They're at different ages. Where's your party at? Wish we were there!

jen said...

You guys were so cute, but I MUST see the photos of the Swiss Army Knife, the Sandwich, the Alligator, and the Spider!!!!