Monday, October 31, 2011

Too much Hallowe'en fun?

Can we be done now?

Despite making a holiday wish list and keeping only the events that are near and dear to our hearts,  we have worn ourselves out trying to cram it all in.  And of course, the most crucial Hallowe'en events all take place within the last 5-6 days of the month.  Even though it is early in the morning of the big day - we are ready to be done.  I left Dean to carve pumpkins with Jordan and Rylan last night while I took the younger two to the store, and he slumped his shoulder and whined, "Do I have to??".  Yes.  Because it is on our list of *fun* things to do, damn it.

This happens every year, and every year I swear I will not do as much.  We did drop two events this year, even though they were on our list.  It meant being outdoors at nighttime for a length of time, and we just didn't feel like putting the little kids through that - and - it came on the tail-end of a busy, busy day, which never turns out well when naps are missed and meals are scattered.

The pumpkin patch trip last Sunday went really well.  Dean and Jordan arrived home from a scouting overnight backpacking trip at lunchtime, and we left for the patch mid-afternoon, as soon as Colin woke up from his nap.  Owen didn't nap, and it showed, but other than that the kids did well.  The afternoon was warm - but not hot, and we didn't eat there this year, so that we could avoid the wasp swarms that plague the picnic table area.  Each little boy came home with copious amounts of itchy straw in their diaper, so I know they had a good time climbing the haystack pyramid.  And we held ourselves to only one big pumpkin each, since we came home with a ton of little ones from our Miller Farms trip.  And we only spent $20 this year, which was under budget. 

We went to our homeschool group's Hallowe'en party on Wednesday night.  We had received a nasty snow storm that lasted late Tuesday into Wednesday evening, and lots of folks were without power, but luckily the facility where our party was was okay.  I was in a panic most of the day, frantically trying to finish up the costumes.  Owen's dragonfly and Colin's bee were already done, but I needed to sew Rylan's ladybug skirt and spray paint Jordan's stag beetle head and carapace.   Even worse, the painting had to be done in the basement, since the garage was too cold.  Luckily the workshop area was still set up for the time Dean spray painted Jordan's pine derby car (yes, it has been that long....), so it was pretty much ready to go.  I had to open the basement windows to get enough ventilation so I wouldn't pass out, but it was dry to the point of tacky by the time we needed to go, so it worked out.  We didn't get to the finishing touches until the next day, though - so he was just all blue and not much else.

There were all sorts of games set up, so Owen and Rylan did the ole' Balance-the-eyeball-in-the-spoon challenge.  Colin didn't quite get what was going on.

Then there was the 'mystery stuff' in the boxes.  The power of suggestion...  I remember doing this at Camp Amakulo (Campfire) one summer.  It freaked me out then, and it freaks me out now.  So, 'no', I didn't partake in this activity.  :)

Pumpkin bowling... which Colin *loved*

Cupcake eating and face painting...

Thursday was a quiet day, thank-goodness.  We enjoyed the snow (well, at least Jordan, Rylan and Owen did), we put the finishing touches on the beetle costume, and Rylan got in some painting time.  She made her own rendition of the stag beetle.

Friday meant a Daisy meeting in the morning, and then family trick-or-treating at Dean's workplace.  Some of the employees dress up and they have a contest.  The gentleman pictured here had one of the most creative costumes I have seen in a long, long time.  It took Owen several minutes to sort out how he did it. 

After we were through we went out to dinner, which has now become a rare treat for us.  We ate at Padre's, a Mexican food place in Loveland.  It was awesomely good.  Afterwards we were planning on driving over to Greeley to go to the Centennial Village trick-or-treat festival, but it was dark and getting quite chilly.  Colin did not have shoes with him (oops), and Rylan was wearing tights, so we gave it a miss and headed home.  Since we had the whole evening ahead of us, we put on some apple cider, broke out the candy and had a game night instead.

Candyland... Toy Story Yahtzee... and Blokus.  Rylan rated this day as the 'Funnest Day Ever'

Saturday was a marathon.  Mom arrived at 6:45 am, and Dean and I headed out for a breakfast date.  It was sooo nice!  Thanks so much, mom, for the gift of breakfast out and babysitting.  Afterwards, we headed home and madly stuffed kids, karate outfits, costumes, rakes and shovels into the car.  I dropped off Dean and Jordan at the church where they hold their boy scout meetings so that they could participate in a fall clean-up project and leadership training class.  I headed on to Loveland to take Rylan to her karate class.  Just as class was over, the downtown area of Loveland was filling up with costumed children and critters: it was the Downtown Fall Festival.  So we headed to car and put on the Halloween costumes.  I forgot Rylan's skirt at home, so she had to wear her karate gi instead.  Whoops.  We snaked our way through all of the participating businesses, and raked in a lot of candy goods.  Colin got very tired in the end and had to be carried back to the car.  That kid weighs a ton now...  He fell asleep before we got home, and luckily stayed asleep.  We had to turn around less than two hours later to head back to karate for their Hallowe'en party.  It was absolute craziness.  It was meant to be held at a park, but because of the snow still on the ground, it was at the studio.  It was wall-to-wall kids.  I had a hard time keeping track of  the boys, and I didn't really enjoy it at all.  Both Rylan and Owen got to throw a shaving cream pie at Mr. Schuett's face (the owner/head instructor) and then I got to as well - so I guess that made it worth it.  :)    We didn't stay too much longer - Owen was totally out of sorts by that point.  We raced back to the church, picked up Dean and Jordan and drove home.  Jordan had five minutes to change into his costume and grab a jacket.  We dropped him off at his friend Abbi's as they were going to head out for an evening of fun with Abbi's family.  We went back home and I went on to the store to get stuff for an artichoke/spinach dip to take to a party later that evening.  We were going to go to a trick-or-treat thing for little kids, but we were so wiped and the little ones were so out of sorts that we didn't.  Instead we waited a bit and then loaded up the car and drove an hour south to go to a party that was being held by a coworker of Dean's.  All three kids slept on the way...which really helped.  The house where the party was held was amazing.  It was the most decorated house (for Halloween) that I have ever seen.  There were full-size coffins, mummies, skeletons, witches, smoking cauldrons, spiders, candelabras, fog machines and spooky music - all throughout the house.  It was great and the kids were more curious than frightened - even with moving spiders and talking heads.  The greatness ended there, though..unfortunately.  There were no other children there, even though it was billed as a family party.  It was nerve-wracking having the kids milling about - there were a lot of breakable/dangerous things that they could get into in mere seconds.  We lasted about an hour and then it was time to go.

This brings me to a conundrum.  After a dryspell of social invitations for our family for over a year.. we received two party invites for the same night.  Whoa!  One was from one of my fellow bookclub moms, that was hosting a little kid party earlier in the evening.  We would have been able to go, but only be able to enjoy about thirty minutes of it before we would have to leave and head over to the little kid trick-or-treating thing, which I had bought tickets for over three weeks ago.  Then the other party invite (which started kinda late in the evening - in my opinion) came a couple of days later.  Dean really, really wanted to go to that one because he said it would be a great party - he had heard about it in past years, and was so excited that we finally got an invite to go.  What to do?  I felt bad, but I turned down the earlier party because we wouldn't be able to stay long (and what if the kids were having fun and didn't want to leave??) it would be way too much for one evening.  And then the event that I had turned it down for we ended up not even going to!  And then the much-talked-about party turned out to be a flop (in my book).  An evening of disappointment - but here is the lesson learned: everyone has to be equally invested in what we decide to do with our time, so that we all come away happy.  And only ONE event per evening.  Back-to-back evenings are hard enough.

Sunday was a much more tolerable pace.  We went to church - for the first time in nearly two years.  It felt good to see all of the familiar faces.  We came back a couple of hours later and did the trunk-or-treat event that afternoon.  Colin enjoyed working on a rather large Tootsie Pop while sitting on his grandma Judy's lap.  His costume is now a sticky mess (and so was she...)  I need to remember to wash it for tonight.  We began the pumpkin carving last night - and got as far as cleaning out the pumpkins.  The carving has yet to be done.  Luckily, we have nothing planned for today until we start trick-or-treating tonight.  Thank goodness - because I need a rest!!!  How I long for November 1st!!

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