Our usual Halloween routine involves walking around our quiet neighborhood and running into a few groups of kids here and there before returning home to hand out/devour candy while watching a creepy movie of my choosing. As the resident fan of all things frightening and disturbing, I get to pick, and no, I do not limit myself to age-appropriate options, which is one of the many reasons my children will eventually need therapy.

(I know, I know: the therapy joke is both tired and lame, but honestly, I’m here to say that therapy is actually really awesome and nearly everyone would benefit from it at multiple points in their lives, so I hope my kids DO get therapy when they’re older, and if a teeny tiny bit of Poltergeist-related PTSD encourages that to happen, then I have done them a favor.)

This year, however, we chose to visit John’s brother’s family so Dylan could trick-or-treat with his cousin. We knew their neighborhood goes all out for Christmas — they live in a relatively upscale-modest street but the adjoining streets are filled with actual mansions, and the Christmas displays are so opulent people hire limousines to go cruising by the lights during weekends in December — but we hadn’t quite realized how seriously some homeowners take Halloween, too.

I have never experienced a Halloween like that. It started out pretty tame, with some cool displays here and there and a decent number of kids and families, but soon we were trekking by what felt like Hollywood sets complete with professional lighting and roiling plumes of dry-ice fog, and the sidewalks were as packed as Disneyland.

It was delightful, and a little overwhelming, particularly as it got dark and the costumed crowds took on a disorienting offkey-carnival-music vibe as people loomed in and out of our increasingly tiny field of view. Riley was a little meh about the whole trick or treating thing and Dylan had a hard time pulling out of a funk related to getting busted for sneaking off with his cousin earlier in the evening (“But Charlie said it was okay!” “CHARLIE IS SEVEN!”) but all in all, everyone had fun.

We cut out early to come home, do a quick loop to visit a few neighbors, and settle in front of the TV with our laps full of chocolate. It was the perfect mix of tried-and-true, plus something new.

I have to say, our little family foursome has collectively and individually been stepping outside of our comfort zones lately — trying things we haven’t tried before, meeting new people, daring to do things that seem scary or just plain socially intimidating — and it isn’t always easy, but it’s almost always kind of great.


9 Responses to “Old favorites, new twists”

  1. k on November 1st, 2018 2:52 pm

    LOVE your costume! And what a cool night! We got suckered into someone else’s tradition for the second year in a row, and I just need to have the courage to bow out and do stuff that our family would enjoy (which, based on comments last night, looks a lot like what you guys did). :)

  2. NK on November 1st, 2018 6:14 pm

    You are spoiling us with all these blog updates…I see your website’s email in my inbox that you’ve posted and I click immediately into the article, even *before* deleting all the junk mail (now you know that is big).

    Really enjoyed the Halloween pics! It’s a thoughtful road, taking my kids into affluent neighborhoods or visiting friends in them. I have to mentally prepare myself, and then them. The divide between, “hey, isn’t this neat, let’s appreciate these gorgeous homes and all the hard work that went into them” and then the crushing weight of one’s children wishing their own house was just as big or as niftily decorated…well, it’s too much sometimes! :) I know they are too young to have the same perspective as I do (and may never have, I need to prepare myself), but I still remember being 12, and feeling disappointed in my own home and wishing I had the same things that *insert popular/rich kid’s name here*
    had. I try so hard to teach the teachable moments of gratitude, blessings, having enough, giving to others…but the age-old middle-school feelings still bubble to the surface in my sweet kiddos, as they probably do for everyone.

  3. Anne on November 1st, 2018 6:18 pm

    Woowwwww. I don’t know what your costume is but the overall effect is so awesome!!

  4. Kelly on November 1st, 2018 8:15 pm

    You look spectactular!

  5. Suzanne on November 2nd, 2018 6:47 am

    Wow – excellent costume! And the trick or treating experience sounds like a great change of pace. I love how excited some people are by Halloween — the over-the-top decorations are so fun.

  6. Elizabeth_K on November 2nd, 2018 8:47 am

    I love the updates and your bravery. Very inspiring to those of us still in our ruts …

  7. Trish on November 3rd, 2018 2:22 pm

    Amazing costume!

  8. Mackenna on November 4th, 2018 7:46 pm

    You’re an absolute artist with that face makeup. And breathtakingly gorgeous. If you ever decide to try a new hair color you could totally work that.

  9. Shawna on November 9th, 2018 10:48 am

    We’ve been having what I refer to as a FaceBook year – I check out the local events section and start hitting “interested” on all the ones that look, well, interesting. And once I started looking up local events to go to, FB started sending me suggestions. We’ve definitely managed to hit some things I never would have known about otherwise – a night market in Chinatown, a Halloween Sober Dance Party, a Feminist Fair at a Maker Space, a Geek Festival, various craft shows and art shows… Super fun and maybe even the start of some new traditions!

Leave a Reply