Matt and I were talking together about why this Halloween has been such a big deal for our big boys, when it never has been in the past. Last year, in fact, we just ignored it altogether and they never even noticed!
We agreed that there are many reasons contributing to their excitement over this somewhat made-up holiday. First, their school made a big deal and had a lot of activities and crafts and projects pertaining to it. Second, they just LOVED the decorations all over the neighborhood, which were constant reminders of the holiday. We regularly had to take "Halloween walks" over the last month, to see and re-see all the scary and silly decorations that our neighbors have gone a bit crazy with. Thirdly, I think spooky and scary and silly are all things that just make sense to these two boys at the moment. Fourthly, (and I think this is the main one), they are just finally at an age where a holiday actually means something. They know it is coming, they are able to count down the days until it arrives, there are activities leading up to it, and, in this case, there are costumes to be worn and played with. Not even for Christmases past have they had this much excitement leading up to the actual day. I think they are just at that magic age where this sort of thing is simply perfect!
The magic culminated tonight as we suited up, met up with some friends from the neighborhood, and hit the sidewalks for some trick-or-treating. What a great neighborhood we live in for kids. Everyone was out participating, whether giving or receiving candy, and hardly any house was "closed" to the kids. It only took a few blocks for the dark to settle and their bags to be full to overflowing and we headed home.
But for Mitchell, the best part was still to come! He just LOVED manning the candy bowl here at home. He sat out on the front doorstep with his strobe flashlight, a voice-distorting megaphone, and a giant bowl of candy, calling one and all to him for some Halloween treats! Ben and Mitchell did it together at first, but Ben kept hearing the call of his candy upstairs, and decided he'd rather keep an eye on his own candy (and organize, sort, and stack it like Scrooge with his piles of gold) than keep sitting in the cold, supplying the stragglers with treats.
Mitchell was just in his element though and flagged trick-or-treaters down with style, shining his flashlight in their eyes, handing out giant handfuls of candy to each person, trying to convince adults to partake, laughing a crazy laugh into the megaphone, and dancing around holding himself as he refused to take a bathroom break. I wonder how many parents got a kick out of the potty dance as Matt and I did. We finally had to give Mitchell the dentist a five-minute warning for coming inside, and he turned around and said, "I'm not ready yet! I'll come when I'm ready, mom!" We stuck to our five-minute time limit, but he managed to get rid of most of that candy for us!
So it has been a fun fall season for us, thanks in part to our friends' and neighbors' decorative efforts, and Halloween came and went and left us all with belly aches. Tonight was a blast for the kids, but I am so glad it is finally over! Now I can take down the spider webs in their room, I can stop trying to "save" Mitchell's costume from certain destruction, and we can get on with preparations for more real and meaningful holidays.