Halloween 2017

It was a tough Halloween for me this year. After all, Halloween is all about me, right, not those pesky kids…?! This was the first year I did not walk with my kiddos at any point in time during their trick-or-treating adventure. I actually had to steal a child to walk with in order to recover from the trauma of not having my own near me (thanks Betsy, for allowing me to walk around with Makenzie – you are a lifesaver).

Mario debated whether he was even going to go out this year. He debated all the way up until the weekend before Halloween when he decided that he would just go as a referee. He had received a sweet Italian soccer shirt that had black and white stripes like a referre’s shirt earlier in the week from his aunt and uncle. Even then, he was still a bit on the fence on who he would walk with and if he really wanted to go out at all (whose kid is he?!) 

Maria knew all along that she would be heading out. She is a girl after my heart with her love for gathering as much candy as possible over a two hour period on a cold October night. My enthusiasm for this holiday has totally infiltrated my girl. She and her friend determined that they would be M&Ms weeks before Halloween, and they both got on Amazon to find matching outfits. Of course, Maria and I procrastinated and did not purchase the attire off of Amazon until  days before Halloween, which led to extravagant shipping costs on my end. Better planning next year…. 

Back to Mario … who decided the night before Halloween that he had to have a different costume. That day at school he had decided that he would walk with a group of his friends who all had “cool costumes” compared to him. So, I got to miss out on Maria’s end-of-the-year soccer party in order to take Mario to Halloween Express. It seemed that quite a few other families were in our same boat. I picked out a NASCAR driver outfit and a 70s disco outfit and Maria was appalled. Luckily, my niece showed up soon after us. She has a son who Mario looks up to – Isaiah – who is a couple of years older than Mario. He’s a super cool kid. So when Isaiah  picked a nerd costume, Mario decided he’d go for the same. 

Mario begged Jon and I to go to his Halloween party on Tuesday afternoon. He still wants us to attend those school parties with him but he doesn’t want us near him at other events. The mind of a ten year old…. We both left work to go see him in his parade and to be there for his after-party. However, all we got was a brief wave when we spotted him in the crowd.  He was off with his friends the rest of the time. It’s as though we are his long-time stuffed animal – he just needs to know we are there to be comforted. Even though we were being ignored, we hung in there through the party we knew that this would likely be the last of them. Maria‘s grade doesn’t do parties anymore. 


Both kids got invited to friends’ houses to have dinner before Halloween and then go out with a huge crew of folks.  Maria got dressed at the house and then met her M&M partner over at her friend’s house. She allowed me to straighten her hair and put it in ponytails, which made me very happy. I think she has allowed me to do her hair about five times through her entire life. Mario got dressed on his own and Jon and I cracked up when he came downstairs. He looked absolutely ridiculous, and he embraced it. I gave them each a pillow sack to use to hold all their candy, and told them they better not come home until it was filled to the top. My usual instructions year in and year out. They rarely disappoint. 


I took Ri to her friend’s house and Jon took Mario to his friend’s house. The girls were still giddy as if they were in kindergarten. Except this year you could tell they were more concerned about how they looked, and what outfits they chose, then in actually getting candy. 

Mario and his friends were simply interested in wrestling and jumping on the trampoline. But when the time came to head out for candy, they all took off like cockroaches subjected to light. I tried to keep up with Mario and his crew but after three houses he turned around and gritted his teeth: “Mom, stop! Please leave us alone – we want to do this ourselves!” 


Mario and his buddies lasted until 7:15. I was not at the house when he returned or I would have forced him back outside until 8:00. He’s lucky…. Ri called me at around the same time Mario stopped trick-or-treating. She asked if Jon or I could pick her up. I was still out with my girlfriend’s daughter so I told her Jon would pick her up but she needed to walk with me and Mackenzie for a block to get the last bit of candy. She sighed but obliged because she loves me. 


We walked back to the house Mario and Jon were at, ate a few chips, and headed home. The kids laid out their candy on the dining room table as they have in years’ past and examined all they got. Mario couldn’t get too excited because he was ready to barf from eating 20+ pieces while out with his friends. You can see the nausea on his face!


All in all, another fine year of candy gathering but I really hope they let me walk with them next year. Wishful thinking, I know. 

I guess I will need to nab another 6 year old to walk with again.

Halloween 2014: don’t stop til you drop!

Two Halloween costumes – $65
Accessories for costumes – $24
Candy to pass out for Halloween – $20
Trick-or-Treating with my babes –
Priceless.
Ri’s school party was Thursday and Mario’s on Friday. What a blessing – I could hit them both. It was strange going to Ri’s 4th grade party. She kinda wanted me there and kinda didn’t. She asked me to come – I did not just show up like some parents (whose kids were oh, so embarrassed!)). I helped her with her outfit and took pictures with her friends but as soon as we walked out the door for the parade, she was on her own.
“Do you want me to walk with you?”
“No, mom, stay with the parents! ”
And so I chatted with the other moms and watched the 4th and 5th graders walk by laughing and smiling together. We got a few class shots when they returned and they were off to their class party.
In grade school, I would have been sitting at Ri’s desk helping her with the game or craft on tap. She would have dragged me all over the room with her. In 4th grade, all the parents stood at the back of the room and watched as the 4th graders awkwardly stood around eating and waiting for the games. I left a bit melancholy knowing this would likely be the last year Ri asked me to come to school.

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But it was also nice to see Ri so independent – not crying her eyes out when I left her classroom. I want her to feel comfortable being on her own and she’s certainly moving in that direction.
Mario’s party was what I am used to. Lots of frantic kids running all over the place, throwing things, and giggling. His parade was indoors because it rained on Friday. He paraded through the gym: his eyes grew large and his mouth opened to a smile when he spotted me. Makes me glow every time. I stayed for his entire party – watched him try and eat a donut off a hanging string without using his hands (hilarious game); draw a picture of his teacher in a Halloween costume (he chose a clown); and devour mini M&Ms.
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He certainly seems to be the class clown.
Halloween night was a blast. The most fun one I’ve had with the kids. I got home at 5 pm – Halloween started at 6. We ran around and got dressed; Bethany helped with Ri’s pirate make-up while I tried ten shirts on with Mario to wear under his costume. That boy is picky!
We were finally ready at 5:45 and I couldn’t wait any longer. Yea, that’s right. Me. Not the kids. Well, they couldn’t wait either but I was the major proponent.
I love Halloween. It has always been one of my favorite days. And it’s solely because of the CANDY! Yea, I like the cute costumes and seeing friends out but I LOVE the candy. My sweet tooth is alive and well just like it was at age 7. All week long I’d been teasing the kids they better not even think about coming home until 8 pm, when trick-or-treat ends because I won’t let them in the house without a pillowcase full of candy.
We left ten minutes early knowing our neighbors would take care of us even if it wasn’t officially start time. Ri came running down the 1st driveway mouthing “I got three candy bars!” Mario did the same and added “and I got a Reese cup for you!” They know how to please their mama. We had to make a stop at Stephanie’s house to get pictures with the kiddos. But we made Steph rush with the pictures because we had a charge before us – get candy!
We were serious.
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Mario was a trooper. He usually peters out after 45 minutes or so but we met up with Rowan and Henley around 6:45 and he cranked it out until 7:25. >

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At 7:25, Henley, Rowan and Mario wanted to go home. They were cold and tired. I turned to Ri and asked if she wanted to go, too.
“Nope, let’s keep going, mom.”
“”Are you sure?”
“Yep.”
So we trucked on after Jon came to pick up everyone else. We hit the funeral home on 1st and then crossed over to a few houses. It was about 7:50 by this time and Ri started limping.
“Are you hurt?”
“My foot has been hurting a bit but I didn’t want to tell you.”
“Why?”
“Because I wanted to make it until 8 since I know it means a lot to you.”
I didn’t know whether to feel like a heel for driving my daughter to pain -all for a KitKat – or to be overwhelmed by her thoughtfulness. I gave her a hug and told her we were done…except for the one other house up ahead!
And so she went up to one last house and then we visited her friend, Kathryn who lived three houses down. She soothed her painful leg by eating a s’more and we called Jon to pick us up.
Ten minutes later we were sitting at the kitchen table salivating over Mario’s pile of candy and Ri’s pile.
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Ri counted out 26 Twix bars – her new favorite candy bar.
“I got three of these when you and I continued on, mom.”
That made me feel a bit better…. In turn, I massaged her aching leg as she and Mario laid in Ri’s bed thinking through what candy they’d eat in the morning.>

Spectacular everything

Another rip-roaring weekend last weekend. Moving non-stop but loving it because the weather was so amazing – crisp and sunny.
Ri had a sleepover with Sophie on Friday night. Jon reminded me she had soccer on Saturday morning and I expected when I told Ri that she’d have to go, she would pitch a fit. But I was pleasantly surprised by her reaction.
“Ok, mom.”
She’s really digging soccer. I cannot get over it. This is the girl who, for years, has been adamant that she does not want to play soccer.
“Too much running.”
This was always her response. Thank goodness for Henley deciding to play because that is the only reason Ri agreed to sign up – she was losing her friend during Mario’s football practice. Henley has a brother on the football team, too, so they’d play at the park while their brothers practiced. But then soccer started.
It was gradual love affair. At first, Ri would look at me on the sidelines and plead to come out of practice to get more water. Or she’d say her side hurt. But she never left practice saying she didn’t want to play anymore. And with more practices, she asked to come out less and less.
On the way to her game on Sunday, she proclaimed “I love soccer!”
I smiled so wide it felt like I could touch both ears with the sides of my mouth.

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Ri and Mario had birthday parties on Saturday afternoon. Jon took Mario to his and I took Ri to hers. I love the girl who had the party – she chose gem mining at a local cave for her party activity. All the girls were talking about getting dirty and finding cool stones. Awesome.
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I got myself a much-needed Yi’s Relaxation Station massage. 40 minutes for $40 and they go to town on you. Even so much as climbing on the massage table to walk on your back. Heaven. And chocolate bars to take home afterwards.
Patty and I picked up Ri from her party and headed to Hilliard for Mario’s last football game. They played under the lights at 7:30 pm. He was excited. Patrick and the kids came to watch, too. Very sweet. Mario and all of his teammates played so hard and ended up in a tie. It was a great season – Mario had so much fun and made friends with second and third graders, which helped so much at the beginning of school.
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Meanwhile, Ri, Henley and Alana could have cared less about Mario or football. They spent the entire time on the jungle gym.
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On Sunday, I got a long run in with the Rocco pup and then went Halloween shopping with Patty and the kids. That was at once hilarious and maddening. The kids look so precious and goofy in their costumes and masks they try on but it gets frustrating waiting for someone to help you determine whether they have the costume in your size and then trying the daggone thing on over clothes and shoes and kids who fuss and whine over the proper placement of the shoulder pads or sleeves (aka Mario).
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It’s also quite sad looking at the selection of costumes for girls. Boys have doctors in scrubs, Spider-Man, werewolves, firemen. Girls have nurses in skirts barely falling below the top of their behinds, wonder women in tight tank tops and belly shirts, and princesses in sleeveless chiffon. I love my girl who after looking at all of the outfits remarked: “I don’t like any of these. They are too pink and not scary at all.” We ended up in the boy section. This is the first one she tried.
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Mario simply wanted anything that came with a horrible looking face and some type of weapon. That was nearly half of the costumes for his age.
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We finally arrived at a pirate costume for Ri and a grim reaper for Mario. And 10 Hershey kisses for the road.
Ri had a killer soccer game and we came home to steaks on the grill and twice baked potatoes thanks to Patty.
A weekend of spectaculars – spectacular weather, spectacular sports, spectacular family, and spectacular food.
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Halloween 2013

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One ninja zombie and one valley girl showed up before my eyes when I walked into school Thursday for the Halloween school parties. Some other mom was helping Mario into his costume and an irrational streak of anger jolted through me. “That’s my kid”, my jealous self thought. But then he looked over at me and exclaimed “there’s my mom, she made it!” Yep, work can always be put on hold for that type of reaction; I gently shoved the mom aside and took over wrapping ninja yarn around Mario’s head.
Mario and his boy friends were jumping all over the place and play boxing while the girls were standing around watching. It was a hoot trying to get them to pose. The boys kept punching each other and the girls kept giggling.

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Meanwhile, my girl was in the bathroom with her other third grade classmates getting ready. Aunt Sarah and Jorge were helping her out (blue eye shadow and pink lips to add to the costume). I met up with her after I walked the parade route with Mario (who highly complained about the parade being termed a parade: “this is simply a walk around the block, mom, not a parade with music and lots of people!”). Ri was adorable with her 80’s self.

 

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The rain started coming down right when we hit the school doors – perfect timing. I stayed with Mario in his classroom since this was his first grade school Halloween party. He was grouchy as heck because he expected candy and games and running around thanks to his sis who had given him false hope that his party would be all that. What Ri failed to understand was that I brought in cupcakes and sugar and crazy games because I’m a sugar nut whereas the moms in charge of Mario’s party were wholesome and nutritious and brought in bananas with raisin eyes and did spider crafts. Mario sat pouting as his spider legs wouldn’t glue correctly and his scissors wouldn’t cut well and he was forced to sit in his chair. But then a cupcake appeared with an Oreo on top and life was good again; he even smiled for a picture with his mom!

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Meanwhile, Ri partied it up in her classroom. Sarah and Jorge stayed for a bit but then felt like Ri wanted left alone with her friends so they hit up Stauf’s. A while later, Ri came down to Mario’s room sad that I wasn’t in her room with her. She’s had three straight years of me all to herself. Nonetheless, after she saw how down Mario was, she was her generous self as always and told me I could stay with Mario. She stole a candy corn from his table and bolted back to her room.

Bethany met us back at the house (we were soaked from just getting in and out of the car). Mario threw off his shoes and played Star Wars Wii and Ri threw on her robe and played Minecraft. I headed into work for a quick meeting and prayed the rain would stop by 6. No luck. I got home at 5:30 and Sarah and Jorge had the kids ready to go. We threw on our rain coats and headed up our street for our first time ever trick-or-treating on our street (we usually head to 2nd Ave.). It was Jorge’s first trick-or-treat experience. Too bad there weren’t more kids out due to the pouring rain – but he did get to witness a human taco. My little munchos were making their mama very happy by ignoring the downpour and hitting up all the welcoming houses.

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Meanwhile, Rocco cried and cried whenever the kids walked up the sidewalk to get candy.

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We made it all the way to Broadview before Mario started to peter out on us. He was wet and cold – two things he can’t stand. Sarah and I pushed him hard though saying “look at this house here – it will have good stuff!” He held on for a few more houses (he scored big on the last with eight pieces of chocolate) and then Jon rescued him from his misery (Jon got in from England in the afternoon and drove from Detroit back home to make the tail end of Halloween). Maria left with her friend Riley around the neighborhood so Sar and Jorge and I were left contemplating dressing up and getting candy ourselves. Sar could have completely passed as a ten-year old ghost but we forgot a sheet.
We met back up with Ri and headed to Doris and Kim’s house to say “hi.” We saw our old house on 2nd Ave. and got a handful of candy from Doris and Kim. We also saw our old neighbor Carolyn who still sends b-day cards to the kids. She gave Ri a big squeeze (and a lot of candy). Ri and I hopped in the car as Sar and Jorge brought it around to us and Ri gloated as she showed them her loot. A bag filled to the top – just what I had begged for over the last two weeks. Kit Kat, Reese’s, Butterfinger, M&Ms, Snickers… Pure heaven.

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Ri sat sorting out candy for Sarah and Jorge and me while Mario ate his stash. I was concerned about whether this Halloween would be a bust but it turned out to be delightful.

And the kids really got a treat when Sarah and Jorge stayed with them the next morning and played an epic two hour Monopoly game with them. Pure heaven.

Halloween 2012

We rocked out Halloween as best as we could last night. It was 39 degrees and sprinkling, then raining. But the kids sensed their mom’s desire for chocolate and cranked a few long blocks. Mario got his competitive bug in him for the first 20 minutes and ran from house to house asking “could you do this when you were little, mom?” But then Ri and Zach and Jeffrey caught up with us and Mario got mad because he wanted to be alone with me.

He made it another block before he complained about being cold. He had decorated a little felt bag for candy at school and it was filled to the brim (I always had a pillow case full but I won’t rub it in to Mario – he’d be livid!). I dropped him back at my friend, Amy’s house, and headed back out with Ri and the boys. Amy dressed up her tiny pooch who yapped the entire way as we passed by trick-or-treaters. Between the pup and the crazy kids running all over the place, we were in need of some soothing chocolate (or whiskey but houses weren’t giving that out!). We wrapped up the show around 8:00 and headed home. On the way back, I remembered that UDF had free ice cream cones for kids dressed up in costumes. I can’t miss a freebie!

Cowgirl and Alien Boy walked out with cotton candy ice cream and I walked out with a two dip peanut butter-n-chip sundae. Then we came home, got in our pjs and topped that ice cream goodness off with Snickers and Butterfingers.

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Tailypo

Halloween week has brought 25 degree days and snow even!

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Our poor little frozen pumpkins.

The kids have not been as excited about Halloween this year as in past years. We went to Target a few weeks ago to find costumes – Maria picked up some sleazy adult ones and when I nixed them, she went for the cowgirl costume. Mario debated between a few – I pushed for the Hulk – but ended up with a Redaki costume (only because it had a sweet mask). And after that trip to Target, there has not been much ado about Halloween. In years past, they would have been begging to change their costume after seeing a cooler one on tv or they would have been asking how many days until Halloween. Do they already feel too old to celebrate?!

Ri probably does based on her comment this morning to me. I bought her a turtleneck with gold stars on it to match her cowgirl outfit and she refused to wear it swearing that she “looks like a sissy baby in it.” Attire choices in the teenage years are gonna be horrid.

Mario is just way too focused on hunting with his dad this weekend to care about Halloween. Either that or his teacher, Mr. Park, has scared the zest for Halloween out of him by reading him the book, Tailypo. This past weekend, Jon was upstairs and Mario was downstairs. Jon heard a wail and shouted down to Mario. Mario continued to wail at the top of his lungs and had giant tears falling down his face when he ran up to Jon.
“I saw a monster downstairs. We read a story about a monster whose tail gets cut off and a man eats it and the monster kills the man to get it back. I’m scared of that monster.”

He slept with his arm on Jon’s body all night. Each night since, he has begged for me to go upstairs with him to get dressed because he’s so scared of the dark. He has slept in our bed way too many nights due to Tailypo. Thanks, Mr. Park.

The kids got a bit more into the spirit of Halloween on Monday night when we went to Ri’s school for pumpkin carving. I sported a huge cutting knife in my satchel, which felt very awkward carrying into a school. I bought two huge pumpkins to carve since the kids were not impressed with the baby ones I brought home last week. Maria went to town on her pumpkin but Mario ran around like a mad man playing with our next door neighbors’ kid, Paxton. He finally sat himself down to carve when Paxton tired out.

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As we were carving, they drew a kid’s name every half hour. The winner got a small prize. Paxton won the first time. Mario and I were almost finished carving his pumpkin when they drew names again. They drew Mario’s name! He was charged up and came running back to me saying “I won!” A few minutes later, I deciphered what he meant by “I won” when he said “I won first place because my pumpkin is cool.” I explained to him that names were drawn and that’s how he and Paxton won a prize but he wanted nothing of that explanation. Now I know how scientists feel when they are talking cold hard facts about climate change and people dismiss them as not true. Mario refused to believe that he won for any other reason than he was the best. Imagine that.

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So here we are on Halloween day. Hurricane Sandy blew in on Monday night and her remnants are still felt in Ohio (our love and support for the East Coast residents). It’s cold and rainy and grey. It’s supposed to rain during trick-or-treat tonight. But I think the kids will be ok with it based on their chill attitudes so far. I, on the other hand, am supremely upset because I look forward to mounds of candy to pick from all week long. Looks like I will have to hit the stores tomorrow for the 50% off sales.

Spiderman wants costumes!

Maria’s teacher again came through and agreed to partner with me on a project to collect Halloween costumes for homeless kids in Columbus. I printed handouts for the kids to send home in their book bags and took them to school during lunch. Maria wanted me to stay in her class to talk about the project but I was running late. She started to sulk and I was trying to cheer her up (“we’ll get ice cream later!” – why do I always use food?!) when her teacher came by and recommended that we make a video talking about the project for the kids to watch at school the next day.
Maria loved the idea! Gotta love Ms. Palmer – she got me out of the school tear-free. Maria and Mario came up with the above video for her school mates that night. Mario always begs to be famous and after they made this video, he asked “do you think I’ll be on the news?”
He’s always trying….

Happiness is hanging with a 70’s hippy and an 1800’s pirate

Happiness is hanging with a 70’s hippy girl and an 1800’s pirate…

We began our Halloween day getting up late and scurrying around trying to get outfits and breakfast and hand-made cards together.  Maria and I jumped in the car at 8:17 and made it to school at 8:20 as the bell rang.  Maria was able to devour a cereal bar in that three-minute period of time, though – my girl can do anything!  Mario drove with dad and got treated to timbits and loads of chocolate at preschool (could that be why he is running around like a mini-tornado at 10 pm?). 

Maria had her 2nd annual Halloween school party where they walk around the perimeter of the school to show off their costumes to the ogling and way-too-excited parents and friends.  I arrived just in time to see Maria walking out of the school and turning down the street.  She looked so happy.  Maria has an infectious laugh and just hearing it once a day keeps the doctor away, I believe.  I heard it as I watched her walk down the street with her girlfriends.  She spotted me soon after I pulled up and held out her hand for me to join the walk (how long will her intense desire to have her mom near her amongst friends last?!).  I walked her around the perimeter of the school taking in the sights of other scary, beautiful, funny, and cute costumed characters.  Maria wore her 70’s hippy outfit well.  She even threw on the John Lennon specs for a bit of the walk.  However, she would not do the peace sign to people as she walked by, which would have sealed the deal.  She gets very self-conscious when eyes are on her.  She is like her dad – she is much better in a small setting versus a larger one.  There was a snow princess in Maria’s class who wore lipstick and eye shadow. Maria commented about her saying “all she cares about are her clothes and make-up – I am not into that.”  Thank god my dear. 

Doris and Kim with the kids

Megan picked Maria and Mario up from school today so I could get a little work done before leaving for Halloween night.  I begged her to give them a bath since Mario’s hair looked as brittle as desert grass.  Thank god for Megan – she cranked out the bath and had them ready to roll when Jon and I got home.  We headed to our old neighbors’ house, Doris and Kim, for dinner.  They made chili and brats for the adults and hot dogs for the kids (Mario took one bite of the hot dog and exclaimed “this is the best hot dog and bun ever!”).  We miss them and their cooking!  Maria finished in record time and got her costume.  She refused to wear her John Lennon spectacles but still sported the total hippy look and would have fit in at Woodstock without a problem.  When we were getting on her costume she asked “were hippies for peace, mom?”  I answered “yes” and she smiled and responded “Good, I want peace, not war.”  John Lennon would have used her as his muse. Mario finished soon after Maria and donned his pirate costume (after taking ten minutes to situate his skull cap). 

The Halloween gang

And we were off.  Into the sprinkles of rain.  Within a block, Maria was cold and wanted to go to her friend, Zach’s house.  We headed over there and met up with Zach the Ghost and his cousins.  We walked a few houses with them but Zach was going way too fast for M&M who took their time at each house.  Both always said “thank you” and Mario added “Have a happy Halloween!”   By the third block, both kids were ready to head back to Doris and Kim’s house.  I could not believe it.  I tried to entice them by telling them we were close to Mrs. Page’s house (Maria’s old teacher who she loves) but even that didn’t work.  I felt shafted!  I specifically had two kids in order to get at least ten pounds of candy each Halloween.  How could they want to come home 25 minutes after they started?  I would always stay out until the very last light turned off at the very last house in the neighborhood.  I would dump out my candy on the family room floor and count every last piece, always making it over 100.  I would go to sleep with a massive belly ache and wake up the morning ready to dive back into the chocolate.  Now that I think back to those experiences more, maybe it’s a good thing that M&M only have a desire to go to 10 houses and gather only enough candy to skim their Halloween bags.  I should celebrate their moderation and ungreedy selves.

Chaos among the troops!

When we got back to Doris and Kim’s house, we dumped their candy (it did not even take up the whole side of the dining room table!) and found pieces that mommy would like, friends would like, and grandparents would like.  Mario went coo-coo for Skittles and Tootsie Rolls and Maria went coo-coo for Snickers.  I took down the Hershey’s bars and Reese Pieces.  Nothing better than hunting for candy and coming back to eat the kill!  We headed over to Zach’s house after eating ourselves silly and engaged in some fun-filled wrestling and madness.  It is always crazy when we head over there because Zach and Maria pick each other up and rough house like two drunk frat boys.  Mario inevitably joins in the mix while they scream at the top of their lungs.  Someone is usually hurt within five minutes, consoled, and then the chaos starts again.  My friend Amy and I become both exasperated and slap-happy with it all – thank god we have each other to get through it! 

After Zach’s, we bundled up and strolled home while I told them stories about Mario playing in the forest and Maria turning into a princess.  They love my stories, which I love to tell, except after a night of non-stop action and chocolate and screaming and insanity.  But a good mom perseveres through it (although I made it home in record strollering time). When we got home, we watched Big Time Rush Halloween together (I read recently that if you let your kids watch tv, you should watch it with them) and I asked them questions about it afterwards.  Maria looked at me in disgust “Mom, this is not school, just let us be kids!”  We turned off the lights and headed upstairs to sleep.  We snuggled under the covers together and fell asleep within 10 minutes, bellies full of chocolate and heads full of Halloween memories.

Costume shopping and pet store browsing

We hit the Halloween costume shop last Wednesday night but only after stepping into Petland to greet the hamsters and puppies and kitties.  The kids have been begging to go to Petland for a month.  It is like a petting zoo because the animals are kept in cages that are easily accessible to children.  Maria can open the kitten cage and hold any kitten she desires and Mario can stand on a step-ladder and “play” with the hamsters (poor hamsters may not consider it “play!”).  

Maria steered right for the kittens as she always does.  There were not many in the cage and the one she picked up was not enjoying being held.  So, she headed to the puppies.  She immediately noticed a white Eskimo puppy and asked to hold him.  The puppy snuggled up against Maria’s mid-section like Maria was his mama, and only lifted his head when someone spoke to Maria as if to tell the person to bug off.  I am a sucker for kids with baby animals and I wanted to purchase the darling pup at that moment.  If raising a puppy was as easy as feeding him and snuggling with him, he’d be with us now.  But I remember those nights of getting up at 2 am, 4 am, 6 am to let the pup out.  Hearing the pup cry at night.  Picking up the “accidents” on the floor.  I think I’d be asking for a nervous breakdown if I took that challenge on at this point.  Of course, the only thing in Maria’s mind is holding and playing with the sweet little pup.  She wanted him so badly and was promising to do every chore possible to have him.  She cried big heavy tears when I told her that we could not buy him (he was also $1590 – holy smokes!).  She eventually released the puppy after giving him a big kiss and was completely heartbroken.  Mario discoed on the sidewalk and made funny faces to try to cheer her up.  Nothing worked, that is, until we got into the Halloween store and she began to look at all of the costumes.  Then the Eskimo pup fell to the wayside. 

As Mario and I reviewed all of the boy costumes, Maria went to the end of the wall where the women costumes were posted.  She yelled “Mom, what about this one?”  I walked over and she pointed out a “candy striper (stripper)” outfit that might as well had been a non-existent costume – how two tiny pieces of material could be $29.99 is beyond me.  The next one she wanted was a “hot goth” outfit that had spiked black heels and a sparkling black bikini top.  I had to move her over to the girls’ costumes and with one look at them she sighed “these are the only ones?”   After much review, she chose a Spanish princess outfit (that was pretty racy for a 6-year-old with an off-the-shoulder design) and a spider princess dress that I knew would be too long for her.  The Spanish dress was adorable but way too sexy for a six-year old girl.  I took her back to the drawing board and found a 70’s groovy girl outfit with the peace sign and a head sash.  Surprisingly, she loved it (the girl loves the peace sign and even tattooed it on her neck a month ago).  She looked adorable in it and decided that was the outfit for her (especially when I told her that her aunts and grandmas would think it was so groovy!). 

Mario chose a Wolverine outfit.  I asked if he wanted to try a ninja or a power ranger outfit but he was set on the Wolverine.  It took him 15 minutes to get the legs situated on the costume – he rolled them up ten times).  He had to get his mask absolutely perfect before he moved down the aisle to the checkout line.  When he had finally situated the outfit perfectly, he asked for the claws.  He carefully put them on and looked up at me with a disappointed look.  “Mom, they are not even real. I want real claws.”   Maria jumped in and counseled him about what a costume was and the fact tha Wolverine’s claws were going to be fake because you could not wear real claws of a Wolverine.  Then she looked at me and whispered “Should I tell Mario that the Wolverine is just a character and not a real thing?”  I think the days of Santa and the Easter Bunny are over at age 6. Ugh. 

Mario sans the eye patch

We headed home with our costumes and a piece of candy for each of us (Mario and I with snickers and Maria with a piece of gum.  Within an hour of getting home, Mario wanted to a different costume.  I explained to him that he chose the Wolverine and we could not return it for a new one.  He did his latest trick which is covering his ears and chanting “I’m not listening.”  Maria again chimed in with an astute observation “Mario, you only want, want, want” (may be the pot calling the kettle black, a bit).   

When we woke in the morning the first thing out of Mario’s mouth was “Mom, can I please be a ninja for Halloween.” I told him I would think about it and he gave me a huge squeeze with an “I love you so much, Mom!”  So then the question became should I make him live with the Wolverine costume since I told him that he had one to choose from at the Halloween store and he chose it or should I allow him to pick another and return his Wolverine one?  I have got one group of friends that would definitely tell him “no” and make him live with his purchase.  Their reasoning is that you told him what the consequences would be at the store (“choose a costume and that is what you are wearing”) so you should stick with it.  My other group of friends would return the Wolverine and get him the ninja.  Their reasoning would be that he is 4 years old, he is bound to change his mind and what is the harm with making another trip?  I tend to default to that group’s thinking and found myself at Target the next day getting him a ninja costume.  We still have the Wolverine at home, too, since the Halloween store is farther away.  Of course, when we put on the ninja costume it looked ridiculous because it was a size 4T and Mario is barely in a 3T.  It drooped everywhere on him and he was pissed off!  He tugged and grabbed and pulled on the costume but nothing worked.  He fell to the floor in sheer disgust and cried and cried.  “It doesn’t fit me, Mom.  I look dumb!”  As a woman who has stood in a dressing room and had the same meltdown, I felt for him.  “Can I get a pirate costume?” he plead from the floor.  “Of course” I immediately replied.  I had wanted him to be a pirate all along because of the eye patch and the sash.  I did return the ninja costume before I got the pirate one, and  

All fit perfectly.

Halloween with the Superheroes

Superheroes!

Maria and Mario love Halloween as much as their mama loved Halloween as a kid.  Our Halloween was held on Sunday, the 31st.  Most other neighborhoods held their Halloween on Thursday, the 28th.  When I realized this, I immediately came up with a plan to stroller to the adjacent neighborhood and hit a few homes on Thursday.  Jon stopped that nonsense.  “Mary, give me a break – they will get too much candy on Halloween night – you do not need to go out Thursday, too.”  In my heart, I knew that.  However, in my competitive head, I didn’t care.  It wasn’t that I thought we really needed the candy (that is the farthest thing from what this family needs) or that I would eat it all up (which I would if in front of me – another farthest thing from what mom needs!) – it was simply that we had the opportunity to go out and collect free things (candy in this instance, and an occasional set of fangs) and I wanted to take advantage of it!  I was the same way as a young girl dressed up in my crayola crayon costume or my ghost costume.  I would walk around the neighborhood until my legs felt like they were encased in cement – tired, heavy and slowwww.  But when I got home and flipped over my pillow case – heaven on earth.  Reese’s, Snickers, Heath, Milky Way, KitKat….

Ready for the Haunted Hayride and festivities...

Rather than head to the adjacent neighborhood, we went to our neighborhood park for a Haunted Hayride and Halloween goodies.  They had four large card tables full of chocolate candy, cookies, chips and cheetos, and hot dogs.  My children could not get enough.  Maria dived into the cookies like they were being discontinued, and Mario ripped into Kit Kat bars like he had never eaten in his life.  It was impossible to monitor the two of them, also, because each of them had me at different places at different times (part of their plan).  Of course, here I am spouting off about how much candy they are eating and telling them to stop as I rip open my third snickers and take a big bite.  Like mother like daughter and son.  Neither superhero won the costume contest.  My girlfriend’s daughter won as a pink flamingo and a boy we didn’t know won as a Mad

Returning from the hayride (Mario is still shaken by ax-wielding boys!)

Hatter.  Maria was upset – Mario could have cared less unless it meant he would be forbidden from the candy.  Maria could care less about winning in sports but when it comes to contests related to costumes, drawings, guessing games, she is serious.  We took a hayride around the park, which was not too scary (there were two little guys at the end holding fake axes that scared Mario a bit) but provided great entertainment for me because Maria sat next to her Kindergarten buddy, Jason, and bugged him the whole time by sitting close to him, getting in his face, and snuggling with him. 

Maria’s Halloween night left her with a basket full of treats and some good times with her friends and cousin.  In past years, I have held her hand and we have gone to a dozen houses before she looks at me and pleads “let’s go home and eat our candy, mom.” This year, a completely different girl emerged.  She walked over ten blocks, saw friends from school that she embraced and talked to, walked up to houses by herself and said “thank you” after getting a treat, and acted goofy with her cousin during the entire trick-or-treat event.  I even caught her looking at people differently than she has in the past.  She really studies them now.  Both girls and boys.  She will catch something on them or about them that fascinates her, and she will just stare.  She looks to be in deep thought processing why the person is acting a

Maria and her cousin

 certain way or looks a certain way.  It is much more penetrating and more sophisticated than her stares in the past.  I walked the last block home holding her hand and her cousin’s hand thinking about how lucky I am to be able to experience the excitement and raw pleasure that these two five-year-old girls have for this holiday. 

Mario just wanted to eat his candy.  We went to about ten houses before he looked at me and demanded to eat a piece of candy.  I told him he had to wait until we got home and without hesitation, he was ready for home.  It was as if he knew that after he ate his candy that night, he would likely never see his basket again (Jon wants it out of the house so I stash t in secret hiding places for me and to calm the kiddies when I need to do so).  He got just the amount

Spiderman playing it cool

 he could eat that night with a few extras for the grandparents (he knew his mom and dad would require him to give a few away to family).  Calculated little fella.

So, another Halloween over.  Maria brought home a craft from Daisies this afternoon.  It was a paper turkey for Thanksgiving.  Hard to believe that it is only three weeks away.  I catch myself saying that every year but every year it seems even harder to believe how the time flies.

M&M getting ready for bed after a night of Halloween fun!