i guess i haven't typed a word about halloween. hang on to your word-catching picture hats.
after going through three levels of hell to procure a replica big tex shirt for oliver, i secretly hoped he would want to be big tex for halloween. slap on his yellow boots and one of those straw sheriff's hats with a red star from the party store and spend a little too much time finding a vintage children's vegan cowboy belt online and DONE.
he decided that would be next year and this year... OOMPA LOOMPA. or, poompa, as he was calling it for a bit there. i suppose this makes sense as the smaller his body is, the better poompa he'd make and the big tex shirt will come much closer to fitting him next year. besides, it's really easy to talk yourself into something being totally doable before actually start doing it. so me and my rudimentary sewing machine skills made a mental pair of oompa loompa pants and thought, "no problem."
in reality, you have to decide on the fabric and pour over other people's interpretation of oompa loompa pants and go to joann to make purchases and find the right buttons that don't cost $5 each and see if everyone has brown shoes and lace one of them with yarn because someone decided to unlace a bunch of shoes and push the loose laces out into the ether and then you have to search and search the internet and stores for long-sleeved brown shirts (because you can't find the one you already have somewhere) and green hats and how is this turning out to cost so much more than originally planned and much more than a bagged costume set?
you teach your five year old about the nasty chemicals we don't want to use to make his face orange and his hair green and, thankfully, he's cool with that, having been previously groomed to not salivate over FDA-approved chemicals too terribly much.
i spent the week prior sewing. the first pair was for violet and i just tried to go by a pair of pants. she came home from school and we tried them on and her little ethipoian belly refused to go in the waistband. i decided to test my alteration skills and added some panels to the side. we could get them on, but it just wasn't quite right.
i tried again and whipped out a more acceptable pair and then another for oliver. then there were suspenders and sewing on buttons and oliver asked if they were working buttons and i said hell no, just decorative. what. you think you have a mother who knows how to install working closures on clothing? that's the beauty of these here suspenders.
at the last possible moment, i located $2.99 toukes in the target mens section and too-large brown thermals at gymboree, since stupid american apparel didn't bother stocking in-store the ones they offered online.
i got the muslin bags stuffed with vegan gummies and ABCD crackers, purchased during two different shopping trips, and packed up some halloween-themed post-it pads and tiny pot-it-yourself plants from the target dollar section.
first up was the school halloween parade. the toddlers don't wear costumes, but are instead given shirts that the headmistress has painted pumpkins on. they get to be part of the parade audience. oliver toddled through in his outfit and brian was able to be there this year, his first parade-viewing.
then a little later, we were back up for party time. we went to violet's room first. they were still out on the playground and so we helped the room mothers set up. i guess all the classes had decided to paint small pumpkins black and put out stickers and chalk to decorate them. someone had discovered the chalk needed to be primed and brian and this other mother were going to town with them on a little chalkboard and the other mother held one out to me and i kind of cringed and put my palms under the opposing arms and muttered something about tactile issues. and i kind of turned straight on to the other room mother, coincidentally the president of the PTO, and she said something about helping set up plates with chik-fil-a nuggets and i was like, errrrr, and kind of turned again, trying to find something else that needed doing. i guess that's when i started setting up plates for violet and claire, the classroom veg*ns. later, i discovered they received nuggets and the president redid their plates. and then there was milk. blarb.
brian ended up having to leave before their arrival as he had promised to be a craft dad in oliver's room. they came on in and looked terrified to see us milling about in there and doing things to upset the order of their space. violet refused to speak or sit on her tiny chair, so she sat on my lap for ages. she finally moved to the chair, but would only put food in her mouth and remove it without taking a bite. then, she graduated to taking bites. it was taking a suepr long time, so i finally just moved her over to the black pumpkin table. don't be racist.
of course, she was totally into the party by the time i needed to get us way on out of there and we moved it to oliver's party. i heard tales that while brian was explaining the black pumpkins to oliver's classmates, oliver had started crying. it's just one of those oliver things. i think he's still not fond of parents showing up and mucking up the classroom while he's on the playground and it might have super freaked him out to have his daddy hanging with everyone else? who knows. during our parent-teacher conference a couple of weeks later, mrs bailey suggested perhaps he was distraught over not getting to have chik-fil-a nuggets and mummy dogs. even though they hadn't even started over to the food table yet. i'm not sure if the implication was that we should feed him nuggets and weenies or what.
the next evening was pumpkin carving time. oliver had already drawn the faces on our two pumpkins and he chose the one we would carve. both children continued to find offense with pumpkin goo. i just can't understand how they cannot be thrilled to touch something deliciously slimy. and since daddy claims pumpkin contact allergies, it was up to mommy.
sunday, 10/30, was the designated trick or treating day at the arboretum. we got there later than anticpated, which is really no surprise. what was surprising was, after going past all the LOT CLOSED signs to the parking lot where they run shuttles, seeing the exceptionally long line snaking down the sidewalk. fortunately, i think we made it on to a bus within 15-20 minutes. oliver's hat hair was already off at this point.
since we had experienced much angst over the trick or treating process last year, i decided to try switching it up. i asked oliver if he would rather trick or treat at the tables OR wouldn't it be great to do a scavenger hunt instead?!!!? and, in the usual backfiring way, he chose to do both. well, what a lovely pickle.
somewhere in there, we became brilliant geniuses. we had visited the piper-flowers a couple of weeks before and they already had their halloween business out and the kids went nuts stealing rubber rats and skull rings and halloween stickers from the treat bucket and oliver was hot to hand out treats at our house. and, um, we live in a gated condo, so not going to happen. okay, then the brilliance. we told him he could collect the arboretum candy and then, THEN, go to daddy's work the next day, halloween proper, and hand it out to the co-wokers. we scored mightily.
so that's what we did. after a couple of tables, i ran ahead and dropped some of our bags in the flower beds and oliver was pretty excited. violet collected a couple and then decided she preferred kicking it stroller-style and having her treats collected and delivered to her. trying to dash away and hide was too much work in that crowd and so i just started tossing them into plants as we walked and we told oliver they were falling from the trees out of squirrel paws or from the sky when the Great Pumpkin flew over. he chose the second fanciful creation.
we heard several people commenting on how awesome the kids looked and guess what? they won the best costume prize in the contest judged by me!
we eventually ran out of the muslin bags and tiny potted plants and i tossed the notepads on a bench while brian and oliver looked at koi and this family of three approached and the little girl was all excited and her dad was like, "look! someone left behind little books!" and i was kind of standing two feet away and saying, "uhhhhh..." and i they finally figured it out, but i felt kind of bad. oh, well.
i made it up to myself by dragging us to the biergarten. we found a filty table in the courtyard and i guzzled while children fought over crackers like an angry flock of crows. and then we got the hell out of there. another success under our holiday belts.
brian was off work again on monday, so we all drove up to work together and everyone salivated over my adorable and charming offspring and they had a hard time dealing with the fact that a child was giving out candy and we were having to beat them and their return candy off with a stick. "oh! you're giving away all your candy?! [you have truly awful parents]" and i kept trying to assure everyone that the children had been taken care of, i promise.
and then we went home and i let them pay-per-view the great pumpkin and watch the second half of charlie and the chocolate factory or willy wonka and the chocolate factory on vhs and they were up way too late and grumpy for days, especially because that was right before violet got her stomach virus.