As the old Sesame Street song goes: “One of these things is not like the others, One of these things are kind of the same. One of these things just doesn’t belong here…”
I thought about that song last Halloween. All the candies were given out, the doors shut, the kids de-costumed and put to bed. The outside of our house on October 31 just didn’t belong.
We had just moved in August. Although it was only a few minutes’ walk from our old place, it was clear that the people on this street are super-keen on Halloween.
As the sky darkened, we stepped out with our children, Hawk Girl and Wonder Woman (otherwise known as Mary and Adelaide) and it was clear: we’d have to step it up.
The porches were covered with webs and spiders, and aglow with lighted cauldrons and groupings of elaborately carved jack o’lanterns. Grave stones, skulls and stakes dotted the lawns. Life-size zombie ‘bodies’ hung from trees – one spotlit on the side of a house. Blood-curdling sound effects and dark music played. Home owners dressed as monsters waited near front doors to scare the daylights out of kids.
It was AWESOME.
It’s just that now we have major Halloween insecurity.
My kids love Halloween as much as the next kid. It’s the holiday with the biggest fun factor, probably second only to Christmas. I put out personalized skeleton chair covers for the girls, which have pockets you can drop candy in. And we have a festive dinner of black pasta (seppie al nero, if you want to sound fancy), followed by black-and-orange jello and bat-shaped homemade cocoa sugar cookies. But the usual lone jack o’ lantern and plastic pumpkin lawn lights (some bulbs not working) will no longer do.
We’ve got to get ready for the Halloween preen; get researching on the Web and hit the pop-up Halloween store as soon as it opens. Will we get costumes for ourselves? Oh yes, and we need more candy. Much more candy.
For decades, Halloween was a holiday for children. Today, it’s a bona fide festival for adults, too. All this outdoor decoration on All Hallow’s Eve is just as much for the grown-ups as for the little ones, isn’t it?
The kids have been planning this year’s costumes since last November. I wonder what the front of our house will be wearing?
Tracy Cooper is a stay-at-home mother of Mary, 6, and Adelaide, 3.
Originally published in ParentsCanada magazine, October 2012.