I have to admit it – I kind of dropped the ball on Halloween this year. Yes, we got to a pumpkin patch. Yes, we did a few other fun Halloweeny things this year. Yes, I bought candy, wore a costume, and carved a pumpkin. I even sifted through all the slimy pumpkin guts to get to most of the seeds and roast them in the oven. (Here’s a tip: add about 1 tsp of raw sugar at the last minute for salty-sweet yumminess.) But I just didn’t go full-on like I normally do.
Most of my decorations were down in the basement, and when I walked past the last few boxes that need to be unpacked I just couldn’t bring myself to add to the repack/unpack mess. I decided that it could wait until next year to swap out all the coffee mugs for Halloween mugs, and yes, I DO that.
We had a great time this year. Overseas, Halloween is truly different. You want Halloween, you make Halloween. So we normally have a party – which once the DBs diverged in interests (scary movies v. candy relay and bobbing for apples), morphed into two parties. It also is a chance to show your local colleagues some of the most fun American traditions. The consulate went full-on this year, and I couldn’t be more proud of my colleagues who decorated the hallways and “really scared some of the kids”. They made a really cute video of the celebrations – Halloween Awesomeness in Mumbai
It’s kind of strange to shift gears with respect to Halloween. Here, I don’t have to do anything unless I want to – there are activities, pumpkins, and Halloween in yo face everywhere. It’s not public or a sideshow the way it is when it’s that “strange American holiday that is all about lollies”, according to one of my Aussie friends, who was completely baffled about it all.
Our Halloween was kind of last-minute too – rain and conflicting schedules meant we packed it ALL into about a five-day period.
First, we visited a pumpkin patch. We love Summers Farm in Frederick, Maryland. It’s got all the fun things to do and apple cider donuts that make it worth the drive and calories. We were supposed to go with DiploSis and her kids and DiploBro’s daughter, but we got rained out, so the next day, we headed out with just the DBs. It was so much fun. If you are reading this and have not experienced an American pumpkin patch and corn maze in October, you seriously have to do it.
We started in the small maze. Decided it was too wimpy. Waded through corn to get to the big maze. Got hopelessly lost for 20 minutes.
Lots of other fun stuff to do. And we did it ALL!
Still, due to rain, we couldn’t do the one thing we really wanted to do – go on a hayride to the patch to pick a pumpkin. So we headed home pumpkinless.
We had about an hour’s respite before we were heading to The GLOW to meet some friends, so in true parent fashion, we told the kids to entertain themselves and took a nap.
When we woke up, DiploDad remembered a place nearby that would fit the bill for a quick pumpkin stop, so we headed there first.
We drove out to Lake Fairfax park to meet friends for dinner before heading over to The GLOW, a pumpkin experience featuring tons of awesome carved pumpkins. Dinner was at a place called Kalpasi’s – South Indian – and I was so happy to see idli I almost cried.
The GLOW was awesome too!
After that awesome experience, we had a few days to prepare at home for trick-or-treating.
Pumpkins were carved . . . .
And then, we were ready for the tricks and treats!
And the actual event we’d been waiting for began. DiploDad took DB2 out.
DB1 had two tests the next day, so he stayed home. Until he just couldn’t stand it anymore and wanted to get some candy and have the experience so many people say he’s too old for.
So I was left alone with the DiploDog (grousing and acting all depressed that I made him dress up) to hand out candy.
Most kids had costumes. But not all of them. I have a simple rule: you show up, you get candy. But you have to work for it. If you didn’t dress up, you have to sing me a Halloween song, tell me a story, or tell me your favorite costume from when you were little – it’s always the teenagers and pre-teens. Mostly. And most kids were happy to just engage. Joke a little. One tween girl was a bit snotty, but I still gave her candy.
And then, one boy, about 12 or so, came to the door alone. No costume. So I asked my usual questions. He didn’t know a song. And so I said to tell me what his favorite costume was from when he was little.
“I didn’t have one. We didn’t have any money for one. I still don’t.”
“Do you want one?”
“Nah, I’m OK.”
“You sure? How about my hat?”
“Yeah. I have an extra, I’m sure.”
“Like, I can keep it.”
“Cool. Do I get extra candy too?”
Ha. So I removed the satiny witch’s hat from my head, handed it over to him, and dropped two fat handfuls of candy into his plastic CVS bag. He said thank you, waved goodbye, and ran off into the night.
I went back inside, took another witch hat from where it lay on the sofa and resumed my post.
The DBs came back with an appalling amount of candy. There will be rules about this. And Mommy Taxes.
Halloween is over. Which means that everything at the drugstore, at the party store, and the grocery store will be ridiculously marked down. Makeup. Masks. Costume headpieces. In short, everything I need to set up a costume table next year.
Because that’s what I’m going to do.
As my one friend said, “Some kids are lame. But some kids are poor.” And if I can make that a tiny bit better for a few little pumpkins, I will.
*Did you guess? He’s a Charlie Brown ghost from “It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown!” All his idea.