Halloween Grist

Back in that misspent youth I’m so fond of mentioning, I usually spent Halloween night babysitting friends. No, no typo there, I wasn’t babysitting for them, I was babysitting them, their chosen Halloween recreation leaning toward situations requiring nursemaids. (And I thought I had no experience mothering until I had children!) This didn’t really endear Halloween to me, though over the years I forced a number of roommates to sit through movies I decided were suitable for the season (Note: The Old Dark House, made in 1932, is not scary and will drive even the most tolerant of roommates out of the room).

Given such an ambivalent history with Halloween, I’m astounded I’ve managed to squeeze as much blood from that particular turnip as I have in terms of blog entries. But Halloween looms so large in the lives of my children — how could it be otherwise? Most years, Halloween begins for us about a week in advance: there are school Halloween parties, neighborhood Halloween parties…. Basically, by Halloween itself, The Husband and I are wiped out, and bicker over who will do what on Halloween night — is it better be the one at home passing out candy to teenagers whose “costumes” consist of peach-fuzz mustaches and cigarettes (and sometimes infants with their own trick-or-treating bags), or traipse through the neighborhood with two exhausted, overly-sugared fairies?

Due to a great stoke of luck, we’ll miss most of the auxilary Halloween celebrations this year. Elder Girleen is crushed — only the fact that she’s missing them to be a FLOWER GIRL gives her any consolation. I’m thrilled though — at least I don’t have to scramble for a costume the afternoon of the preschool Halloween party. Usually I put on a cowboy hat and my boots and leave it at that, but after five years of attending, I’ve noticed that most of the moms at this particular event show up as … witches.

This morning, when I took Younger Girleen to school, the front yards we passed were not just dotted with inflatable ghouls and pumpkins, sadly deflated (last year’s fad), but gravestones have popped up like toadstools.

These might be the end times, indeed. Our houses are built upon graves, and motherhood resembles a coven.