Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Orange Paper Plates

Well, here it is. The jackpot of all kid’s holidays: Halloween.  I have to admit, this year we simply are not at our best.  My five year old little girl looked more like Braveheart than a fairy princess this a.m. when I shooed her off to school with some nasty blue butterflies smeared across her cheeks. She could easily rally a crowd of five year olds with a good Scottish accent. Damn make-up crayons. My oldest son is determined to be “Jason”…..though he’s never seen the movie and looks more like a burn victim recovering behind a mask and hoodie. I talked my younger son out of the Grim Reeper costume (not just because he referred to it as the “creeper”) and is now wearing a Nascar racing jacket for no other reason than it has a ridiculous amount of reflector tape on it and will aid my chase when he tries to chase the neighborhood cat to Scandia when I’m not watching……  And the baby? Could she wear a sweet little butterfly costume?  A pea in the pod?  No.  She has changed her mind about every two days and so today I strapped in a “fairy-Dalmatian-princess” into her car seat. 
Good God.  We scream disheveled. Even when we have the chance to be someone else.
But I have learned to lower my expectations for this holiday. The other holidays I am still way overboard on so its ok. I don’t make mummy finger crescent rolls or blood shot deviled eggs.  I certainly don’t peel grapes for eyeballs.  There are no steaming cups of lava juice over here.  Not because I don’t want to do these things, on the contrary, I’m a complete nut about events.  I love putting together a great theme party.

No, we keep it simple because otherwise I miss it. It is too easy for me to feed my attentions to the unnecessary. The tableware. The menu. The mantle.
That, and, of course, I remember the poopy Halloween all too well.

It’s a well known fact that Trick-or-Treating with four kids of different ages pretty much assures you will lose someone.  The older ones want to run ahead and the little ones need to open and lick every new candy deposit.  So, traveling with a neighborhood of friends is an actual lifesaver. Except for the uncomfortable moment when someone smells like poop. 

Check the babies’ diapers. Check the toddler’s pull-ups.  Ask your littles if they need to use the bathroom.  Subtly inquire to your husband’s digestive health. Smile sheepishly at your neighbor.
Only to catch a whiff of your six year old Deer Hunter flying by in neon orange. Reeking.  Now, I’m literally afraid, when questioned, he will fully admit to sharting his drawers and run off ahead in a blaze of self-made odor. I’m convinced he will look me in the eye and explain that he just didn’t want to walk all the way back up the hill to use the bathroom and ALSO, felt uncomfortable to squat by a bush.

To my delight, he just fell in an enormous pile of dog poop (we hope) and wiped it on his trick or treat bag. This is a relief to me….for many reasons.

However, we are still blocks from home with a poop smeared bag of candy and one short, smelly hunter. I can only imagine the faces of our neighbors as they opened their doors to my little camaflauge poo.

Seriously? Yes. This is how it goes for us.  Somebody will find the only missed pile of poop. Someone will drop their candy bag on top of the sewer grate and lose half the winnings. Somebody else will trip in a hole (Ok, that’s usually me). There will be a trail of lost costume pieces and ditched gloves.  Glow sticks will explode.

And I will laugh. Laugh because I know it does not matter. The magic of Halloween is not in the perfect costume or appetizers.  Its not about the fanciest carved pumpkin or the wildest party. The magic is in the freedom. The freedom to be someone else for a day. The freedom to run around your neighborhood with your friends in the dark.  The freedom to indulge in a pillowcase full of candy right in front of your parents.  Its magical because of its absence of limits. Limitless, for just one day. 

Time (and a series of unlucky events) has taught me its all about the joy of the moment.  The build-up of anticipation.  The bad photos.  The homemade ghost stories. The retelling of urban legends.

The courageous walk up to the front door.

So, we will eat Tacos on orange plates, because I know they will all eat them without negotiations.  We will suffer through a bad photo shoot next to our lumpy pumpkins and we will try our best to avoid smelly corners of the lawn. And it will be perfect.