But I hate the clean-up.
Every year at Halloween I host a pumpkin carving party. It's really an excuse to gather all my neighborhood friends and eat, drink and burn stuff in the fire pit. All that merriment; plus we have our pumpkins already carved come Halloween night.
I was fearful that the weather wouldn't hold for the party this year. There was a huge storm system that stretched all the way from the Texas panhandle up through the Great Lake region. There was no way escaping the rain, it was just a matter of when it would arrive.
Carving pumpkins inside in case it did pour, like it was threatening to do? Not a good idea. I'd be finding pumpkin rinds and seeds until the next Halloween season for sure. The thought of little kids inadvertently throwing pumpkin guts on my walls and furniture was enough to give me a rash. At least keep me from sleeping soundly and dream of drinking heavily.
I became obsessed watching the radar map following the storm on WeatherBug. Waking up in the middle of the night several times to check on my iPhone the storms progress across the Midwest. I started sketching out a 'Plan B' and perhaps even a 'Plan C' in my head if indeed the storm landed in Cleveland when we should be out putting another log on the fire.
But the Weather Gods were on my side, for once, and it was a beautiful day extending into evening. It was even warm! 70 degree flip-flop warm, which is unheard of this time of year. If it holds, the kiddies won't have to don winter coats over their costumes for once.
All was looking good.
The storm hit at 1am. We sat by the bonfire until it started to rain. Feeling the wind pick up as it neared. The clouds overtaking the moon, the wind blowing the branches on the trees to the point of breaking. The sparks from our bonfire lighting up the night sky as if a swarm of fireflies alighted into the air. It rained hard throughout the night and blew many of the glorious colored leaves from the trees. The storm had perfect timing. With it's passing, it would leave the night for Trick-or-Treating clear and rain free. Verging on a full moon, Saturday was shaping up to be quite fun...
Halloween is one of my favorite times of year. It's the best holiday to decorate for, in my humble opinion. Christmas is good, but you can really get your creative juices working for Halloween. Many of you know that I work in the display industry, so you can imagine, I deck out the house. I think I have almost as many Rubbermaid's with decorations for that holiday as for Christmas.
This year was no exception. I even created a new element to add to the already spooky setting.
I've an old chandelier refitted with candles and spiderwebs that gives the front porch a Gothic edge; a large rusty Victorian steamer trunk that holds all the candy; gargoyles galore, tombstones, wrought iron and mummified mannequins. Strobe lights and music complete the ensemble.
This year I built a large archway with black cloth streamers, so you'd have to walk through to get to the front porch, and the candy. It looked pretty cool, if I do say so myself. I lit the pumpkins and chandelier, donned black scary finery, ghoulish make-up and a rusty chain or two and I was ready and waiting for the kiddies to arrive.
I love costumes.
I love making costumes.
I love seeing the costumes that others make.
My daughter went out with her posse from class this year. They've been talking about what they wanted to be for Halloween since school started. One of her friends gets a catalog each year that she chooses from. My daughter balked.
"My mom makes my costumes.", she informed the other girls.
"Uh...we always buy ours.", replied Chloe.
"It's okay. My mom will make yours too!"
And so it was that it became my job to make vinyl jumpers for the girls to be the Go-Go's. They looked fabulous, darling. Really quite colorful and fun.
But this year while handing out the candy, I have to admit I was disappointed with the costumes I saw.
There were a few that were clever, and some that were nice. I understand there are alot of people who don't have a vision for costuming. They go and buy whatever Target or Wal-Mart is selling. I get that. But this year the costumes were really lame. Some people that came asking for candy didn't even wear a costume.
You've got to be kidding. Right?
There were only about 15 or 20 kids that I knew. Most that came around weren't from our neighborhood, and I don't think even within the community. And again, that's okay. I get it. But still...
However, this year, there were a couple of groups that made the normal fun Trick-or-Treat'ing event distasteful.
You've heard of the "One bad apple spoils the whole barrel"?
I didn't get just one bad apple, I got a peck of them.
A few kids knocked down my archway. Seemingly on purpose.
But that wasn't the extent of it.
When I came off the porch to right it, the others in the group took off with half my candy stash.
What does that say for society? How are these kids being raised?
There was no respect for me, for my home or my property.
I didn't yell at them, or chase them or say anything to them as they ran off. I was afraid that they would come back. If they were that disrespectful while I was standing there, what might happen to my home after I've retired for the night?
And by my passiveness, what does that say about me?
Perhaps because no one holds these kids responsible for their actions they feel entitled to treat people in this manner.
I give out full size candy bars.
Or at least I did.
I'm not sure if I'm even going to participate in Halloween Trick-or-Treat 2010. I might just have a party for my daughter and her friends and call it a night.
If I do decide to hand out candy, I'm taking a chapter from the classic Charlie Brown cartoon and handing out rocks. I'm going to forgo the Snickers and Reese's and Hershey bars and give out the crap candy that no one likes to those without costumes next year. Or those too old to be out collecting candy anyway.
I'll save the large, yummy candy bars for the few that I know, or that have gone to the trouble to assemble a real costume. Not just a hoodie and a $1 mask.
All it takes are a few bad apples.
With all the Halloween decorations now put away for the year, perhaps in the next 364 days I might have a change of heart.
I do like to throw a party. And give out candy. And make costumes. And see the costumes.
So I'll probably cave and hand out candy even though today I say I won't.
But I will be picky next year.
I don't give out bad apples.
Nor will I give to bad apples. They'll be getting tricks, no treats.
Don't say I didn't tell you.
You've been forewarned...