I suppose we can declare that the official Holiday Season has begun, as we just kicked it off with Halloween. But...before we dive into that topic, I just have to say (since I can't help myself): I noticed that a local shopping center adorned their lamp posts with Christmas tree banners...on October 29th. Driving by, spluttering with indignation, I found myself struggling to adequately express how very much this IRKS me...except: seriously, people, would it kill you to wait until November 1st? I believe I speak for most of my fellow humans when I tell you that no one wants to jump ahead while their minds are still occupied by candy, and costumes, and such. And by the way, whatever happened to Thanksgiving? Remember that one? Family, and togetherness, and feasting, and whatnot? Please....One. Holiday. At. A. Time. Thankyouverymuch. (Oh, and while I'm on a cantankerous roll: Hey, you kids...get off my lawn! Nope, just kidding about that last one...thus ends the rant...carry on...)
Anyway, back to the spooky and sweet--I soooo enjoy seeing the photos on social media...artistic pumpkins, clever, cute getups, amazing food creations...it's all super-fun stuff that makes me happy. And I'd like to participate, I really would...but I have teenage sons, now, so our Halloween is somewhat...different. Yes, Husband does still corral the boys to carve the decorative gourds, ostensibly to brighten up the porch and beckon invitingly to trick or treaters--but I suspect his true motivation lies in the fact that he, himself, looooves roasted pumpkin seeds!
Otherwise, while Riley made tentative plans to stroll through the neighborhood with friends for a while and knock on a few doors, Derek's agenda as he shared it was decidedly more...vague. "Oh, we're gonna get together at someone's house...maybe walk around and look at people's decorations." Hmmm...okaaaayyy, dear. I suffered a brief internal parental dilemma when he told me this. I didn't want him to think I was suspicious of him and his buddies, because they're (thank goodness) not the kind of kids you'd expect to run amok, toilet papering lawns or egging houses or terrorizing small children. So yeah, it sort of goes without saying, but...I'm ME, so I nonetheless still felt it necessary to reply, "No...mischief...right?" Fortunately, Derek isn't easily offended, either, so he just shook his head firmly and answered, "Nah, just hanging out." (My obligatory motherly nagging concluded, I relaxed and wished him a good time...)
When the hour arrived for little (or not so small, as it were) ghosts and goblins to commence ringing the doorbell and begging for sugar, Riley hadn't heard back from his posse as to what they had decided to do. With a downcast expression, he resignedly announced that he would go out by himself for a little bit, since he "didn't want to miss out on the whole thing." Awwww! He was breaking my heart, I tell ya. I offered to drive him around and try to find his pals, but he brushed me off and headed out on his own...a solo Middle Schooler...on a valiant quest for chocolate. (Hey, I can totally respect that!) At least he made a token effort with his outfit: an Orioles shirt and hat, with a baseball glove for that added touch of authenticity. And his evening took a turn for the better when he ran into some classmates and joined up with them, salvaging his mood and saving his trick or treating experience.
And then...there was Derek's merry band of...urchins. (Or, as I like to call them, the Five Stooges...) The gang congregated at one of their houses, where the parents had ordered pizza for them (nice!) in exchange for the guys being in charge of handing out goodies while the grownups took a younger sibling out for the festivities. Sounds reasonable...and simple...right? Suuure...except that they left a bunch of 16-year old...goofballs...manning the fort, as it were. As Derek relayed it to me--with great relish--one of them would answer the door, and offer the hopeful treat-seeker...a tray of vegetables (which his mother had left, to supplement their dinner with something healthy. Yes, it does sound like something I would do...have done....whatever...).
He went on to describe how the kids would stand there, looking confused--at which point the second prankster would jump in and inform them that they could indeed get themselves some sweets...if they answered a trivia question. You see, he happened to be studying for a History exam at the time, and reportedly chose sample test items from his Study Guide. (I know, right: diabolical..ly hilarious!) Finally, when the youngsters were about to give up and leave empty-handed, a third member of the quintet would come to the rescue, skidding around the corner from where he'd been lurking out of sight, and holding out the actual candy bowl.
Oh. My. Goodness. At least they're putting their...ahem..."talents"...to good use? I only wish someone had filmed this whole shebang, because I'm certain it was entertaining. Especially the instance involving a bevy of little girls who, upon having the carrots held out to them, seemed so disappointed that Derek said, "It was like, their faces just fell...they looked sooooo sad!" I can just picture this--the teenage boys probably feared they were about to be faced with something downright horrific, like...TEARS...and they panicked, skipping the pop quiz and calling the Candy Fairy to the rescue, straightaway. (Whew...as far as juvenile hijinks go, I'll take this variety...)
In the end, everyone came away with a few treats, a couple of laughs, and maybe a trick or two. Successful Halloween; check. NOW we can move forward...to Turkey Day. (Or, you know, "Gluten-Free Vegan....Side Dish Day...ha!)