Halloween is a holiday that is a hell of a lot more fun with kids. I love Halloween, but as an adult, I’ve found it oddly dissatisfying. As a teenager, I imagined celebrating Halloween as an adult would be mysterious and attractively dark, like a Victorian masquerade ball. But instead, I found out that people’s costumes are less interesting, parties are less well-attended, and it’s just another excuse to drink. While I suspect adulthood in general would be disappointing to my teenage self, I did rekindle my love of the holiday this year through a series of activities with Sprout. With a kid, you once again have an excuse to participate in all of the Halloween activities you remember nostalgically.
Our Halloween started early, with the Silver Spring Zombie Walk followed by a whole week of activities. My newly retired mom came down for the week to celebrate with us, bringing Sprout’s costume with her. She sewed all of my beautiful, original Halloween costumes, so of course we wanted her to make Sprout’s as well. (Unfortunately, her craftiness did not pass on to me.) We ended up picking a dinosaur, as he refuses to wear hats and it was the one toddler costume that didn’t need head-gear to be recognizable. Although I wasn’t impressed with the photo on the pattern envelope, my mom turned the costume into something spectacular. She found scaly, shiny green fabric that gave him a lizard-like feel. She added spikes up the back even though the pattern didn’t have them. She raised up the tail so it didn’t drag on the floor, increasing its aesthetic attractiveness and scientific accuracy. (Although I don’t think any dinosaur with spikes walked upright.) It ended up coming out better than the most expensive store-bought costumes, and of course, it was made with love.
Fortunately, Sprout really liked it. He didn’t fuss while we were putting it on, except for the head piece. (We have exactly two photos with the hat, both with me trying to shove it on and him in the process of pulling it off.) At first, he had a lot of difficulty sitting down because the tail got in the way. But once he figured that out, he seemed to enjoy the costume quite a bit while it was on.
That was a particularly good thing because we put it on him as often as possible. Early in the week, he wore it to a Halloween party at one of our town’s community centers. Despite the variety of activities, he spent most of his time sticking googly-eyed stickers on a pumpkin. But he was far from the only one enamored by the stickers and the fact that he didn’t try to eat them is definitely something for the win category. Later that week, they attended an party at the local kiddie gym that teaches his movement class. There, he cemented his tendency to be a bit of a thrill seeker by going down the baby roller-coaster multiple times all by himself.
Of course, Halloween evening was the pinnacle of the activities. I worked from home that day, so I was able to enjoy the whole evening with my family. We started the night with the annual neighborhood Halloween parade. The fact that my town and its neighborhoods put on numerous events is one of my favorite things about where I live. The parade had close to 75 parents and children, with a full spectrum of adorableness. Among the kids, there was a lightening bolt, a police officer (with his dad as a prisoner!), the dragon from How to Train Your Dragon, a train, a truck with working headlights, a bunch of princesses, Pooh Bear and Piglet, and many others. I wasn’t the only parent in costume either – quite a few adults got in on the action, with funny hats and full costumes. There was even a friendly dog in a purple and green tutu, which slobbered all over Sprout’s face when he got too close. We dawdled along, with the pace being slow enough that Sprout could walk on his own in parts. When he started going too slow and backed up the group, I would scoop him up and hustle to catch up to the rest of the group.
After the parade, we did an abbreviated trick-or-treating route. He was too little to know what was going on, but he also likes trying new things. Also, we knew our immediate neighbors would love to see him in his costume. At first, he was confused as to why he was standing in front of a closed door and would turn around towards us. When someone finally opened the door and greeted him, he got really excited. By the last house, he had the routine down pat, except for the words, of course. Our neighbors were so charmed that they gave him handfuls of candy.
For his hard work, we allowed him to eat a single piece of candy. As most candy is either too small (choking hazard), too chewy (ditto) or has peanuts (haven’t introduced yet), it was surprisingly hard to choose one. We finally picked an Almond Joy and plucked out the almond to avoid the aforementioned and ever-present choking hazard. He loved it, gobbling the whole thing right up. I’m not looking forward to the day he realizes what happened to the rest of his candy.
The one single disappointing thing about Halloween was that we didn’t carve a jack-o-lantern. We left our hard-earned, beautiful pumpkin outside since we picked it a couple of weeks ago. In the meantime, we had a number of warm and rainy days. By the time we went to carve it, it was so mushy that it wasn’t structurally sound. As it was the night before Halloween, we just used Sprout’s pumpkin with way too many eyes instead.
Parenting offers you the chance to see the world through your kids eyes, but this Halloween, I also remembered what it was like to see it through the eyes of myself as a kid.