I love Halloween, I really do. In my books, it’s right up there with Christmas day. I mean, when else can you get completely dressed up in anything that you want to (within reason, of course), spread skeletons and grave stones all over your front yard without anyone getting alarmed or calling the cops, and gorge on bite-sized Kit Kat bars while simultaneously convincing yourself that they must be dietetic because they’re so much smaller than full-sized chocolate bars (even if you have lost count of exactly how many chocolate bars you’ve devoured)? The answer is never.
As you’d expect, the kids get just as excited about Halloween as I do. Sometime around mid-August, they start throwing around costume ideas and telling me all about how they’re going to go trick-or-treating at every single house in the city. That’s impossible, of course, and they never make it beyond three streets, but I love their enthusiasm. I also love how much candy they collect for our household (wink wink).
The hubby doesn’t seem to get quite as thrilled about Halloween. He’s not a party pooper or anything and there are lots of holidays that he thinks are marvelous, but Halloween just isn’t one of them. If I was to wager a guess why, I’d probably say it’s because each and every year we force him to dress up and he doesn’t really get a choice what his costume will be. One year he was a priest (which was by far his favorite costume because there was a flask hidden inside his bible…dressing up is much more bearable when you have a few ounces of Jack Daniels on your side), another year he was a vampire with an outrageous wig, and last year we did the couples costume thing by dressing up as a pair of boobs (hilarious costume that only cost ten dollars to make…I highly recommend it). And this year’s costume was chosen by Finn. He really wanted us to dress up as a Superhero family, so we bought a green, head-to-toe leotard, a jumbo tube of green face paint, some big muscle hands and transformed Gregor into The Hulk. In a word, it was awesome.
Doesn’t he look like the real deal? Admit it…not too shabby for a homemade costume. And that’s me as Supergirl. I really wanted to be Wonder Woman (because who wouldn’t want to prance around wearing a gold crown for a whole evening?), but the only costume I could find consisted of skimpy blue knickers and a risqué corset. I told the woman in the costume shop that there was no way in heck that I was strutting around the city in my undies and she tried to tell me that it was okay because “it comes with a substantial cape”. I don’t think so, Lady. Unless I could just wrap the cape right around my body, that costume wasn’t happening. I think my exact response was “I’m a mother“. And then I proceeded to pick out a much more respectable Supergirl costume that came with significantly more fabric AND a red cape. Super!
It’s not just the dressing up and the trick-or-treating that we look forward to. Each year and every year – come hell or high water, snow or freezing rain, tornadoes or hurricanes – we hop in the car and drive three hours to attend a big Halloween party thrown by our former neighbors (and dear friends), Gord and Celine. Well, they may prepare the food, lay out the wine glasses and provide hilarious conversation, but the real Halloween magic is designed by their son, Austin.
One of Finn’s friends asked him whether Austin is his cousin or something. Finn looked at his friend with a serious, blank stare and said, “It’s Austin.” To the boys, he’s like an extraordinarily cool big brother. A celebrity teenager that they look up to and completely admire. A mentor who fills them in on all the things that their parents know nothing about, like Spongebob Square Pants, skateboarding, the wonders of kids’ Netflix, Beyblades…the list is goes on and on. They have Austin to thank for their expansive knowledge of superheroes. Austin came to stay with us for a week over Spring Break and I swear I only saw my children for meal times. The rest of the week they were hanging with their buddy. And the thing is, Austin never seems to grow tired of their endless energy and constant stream of questioning. Do you know many fourteen year olds would be that patient and caring with three young boys? Nope, me neither.
During the run-up to Halloween, Austin (with help from his good friend, Pasha, who’s also wonderful with the boys) spends loads of time planning out how to make the party special for the kids. Austin and Pasha use their own money to purchase decorations to transform the basement into a haunted house. They go all out….this year there was mask painting, skeleton assembly, little gifts for the boys to take home. They even planned out a route for our trick-or-treating. I know Halloween is supposed to be scary and all, but all of this thoughtfulness really brings a tear (or many) to my eye.
And, of course, there were loads of hilarious moments….as there usually are when there’s three small boys involved.
Here’s a photo of the gang as we headed out the door to go trick-or-treating:
The boys were really fascinated by all of the face paint that people were wearing. Which was fine if the people actually were wearing face paint. It was all going so smoothly…and then we walked up to a lovely white house that had cute pumpkins outside and a fuzzy spider hanging over the door.
“Oooh, look at the decorations!” Ro-Ro shouted out, as Cal rang the door bell. We all nodded at the decorations. To be honest, he was commenting on every single decoration that he saw. After about the tenth house, it was growing harder and harder to get excited about yet another pumpkin, so we’d just resorted to smiling and nodding.
A woman opened the door and said “Happy Halloween!” as she started dishing out candy to the boys. Ro-Ro looked up at her with wide, innocent eyes and shouted “Oh, man!! LOOK AT HER FACE!!!!”
She stopped for a moment and looked up at him, appearing a bit confused.
Austin’s head whipped around to look at me. I looked back at him and shrugged. And then I looked a bit closer at the woman. There was no paint or makeup on her face. Not a speck. She did look a bit pale and tired. Ro-Ro must have thought that she had some zombie makeup on or something. Kids are brutally honest sometimes.
Don’t react, I thought. Just pretend you didn’t hear it.
“Thanks so much!” I said to her as she finished putting treats into the boys’ bags. “Have a lovely evening!”
I rushed the boys away from the house. Before she had fully shut the door, Ro-Ro yelled out again “Did you see her FACE?!” It’s times like that when you just keep on walking….
And then there was the Halloween party. The costumes were fabulous – homemade minions, Goldilocks and the Three Bears, a pirate, a cow, Wolf Man, zombies. Everyone joined in on the fun. And one of the most ‘interesting’ costumes was Gord’s brother, Don. He normally seems like a pretty reserved and respectable guy….but then he walked into the party wearing a grass skirt, a seashell bra, a trashy blonde wig, just-been-shagged makeup, and nothing else. Hands down the ugliest woman I’ve ever seen. The way he flicked back the strands of blonde hair out of his face was far too natural. I’m pretty sure that wasn’t the first time he’s dressed up in a seashell bra (but don’t tell him I said that).
At one point in the party, Cal walked up from the basement and came to an abrupt stop when he saw Don. Cal tugged on my arm and whispered “Uh, Mommy, who’s that weird lady?” while pointing at Don.
“Oh, Honey, that’s not a lady. That’s Gord’s brother.”
“Well, then why are there seashells on his boobs? Why’s he wearing girl hair? And what’s that red stuff on his mouth?”
“That’s his costume. He’s kind of like a hula dancer….sort of.” It was the best explanation I could think of.
Cal stood there staring at Don. It was like he couldn’t believe what his eyes were seeing. After a moment, he uttered “That’s just wrong” and walked down to the basement. I’ll be sure to bill Don for the years of therapy that it will take to erase those unsettling images from Cal’s memory.
Two seconds later, Ro-Ro walked into the room, took one look at Don and shouted out “DAT’S AN UGLY LADY!!!” before running right back down into the basement. Make that two therapy bills for Don.
When you have three kids and rarely get out, you make the most of house parties. You break into dance moves that probably shouldn’t be attempted after the age of thirty. You try on other people’s wigs and make a total fool of yourself. You shake your hips and jump around to songs that you’re probably way too old to be dancing to. And that’s just what I did. This mama let loose and booty bumped anyone within a ten foot radius (whether they wanted to be booty bumped or not). And it was fun. Loads of fun. And then I heard those four precious words:
“UGH!! THAT’S MY MOTHER!!!!”
I spun around to find Finn standing there with Austin. Finn looked completely mortified.
“I can’t believe my mother is dancing!” he exclaimed before rolling his eyes and storming off to the basement.
I read somewhere that if you’re not embarrassing your kids in some way, then you’re not doing a good job as a parent. I guess I can expect to receive my “Mother of the Year” badge in the mail any day now.
It’s been over a week since our memorable Halloween weekend and the boys are still talking non-stop about all of the spooky fun that they had. And Gregor is still attempting to clean green face paint out of the crevices of his ears. And my stomach muscles are still recovering from all of the laughter and good times. Now to start planning our costumes for next year…