Thursday, November 01, 2007

Happy Halloween!

I love Halloween. These two pics are of a neighbor's house, just a few doors down from me. Their daughter is in college, and their son is 14, but they still knock themselves out putting up a wonderful Halloween display each year, and this display, of 2 giant spiders, complete with web, is over the top! Xander took one look, last week, and decided he wanted to trick or treat on my street.

When my kids were young, we always had a Halloween party. I enjoyed it at least as much as the kids did, and we'd start planning it about a month ahead of time; what games we'd play, what our costumes would be, what the theme would be. Some years we spent crisp, sunny afternoons in pumpkin patches, looking for the perfect pumpkin to carve into the scariest/funniest/strangest Jack-O-Lanterns, and some years we made do with what we found at the grocery store, but always we washed and roasted and salted the pumpkin seeds and ate them afterward.


I have a costume closet in my house, and it contains many of the costumes that I made for my kids over the years. Hanging in that closet, even as I write, are the following costumes: ET...sewn by me for Alex when she was 6. I spent an entire week feverishly sewing that costume,
using a Vogue pattern. It has not only a lining, but an interlining...what was I thinking? Then there's the genie costume that Katharine fancied when she was 7...the grey poodle skirt from when Kath was 10...Alex's blue crayon costume from when she was 11...Mike and Chris' pumpkin costumes from when they were 2...I'm sure you get the idea.

And then there was the year that Mike and Chris were 7. They were cubscouts, and I was in graduate school, but I was also their scout leader, and we'd invited all the boys in the den to our house for a Halloween party. The boys were serious fans of Captain Hook, so we'd decided to have a pirate theme for the party. In keeping with this plan, I'd sewn black velvet eyepatches for all the boys, and Mike, Chris and I had spent some happy time one evening placing those patches and many other little treasures inside the brown paper goody bags, in anticipation of that party.

A couple of nights before the party, I made a late night run to the grocery store. I'm not sure why, but I've noticed there are always a number of seemingly random items stocked at odd places in grocery stores. For example, there might be a cluster of cellophane bags filled with those little green plastic toy soldiers hanging right above the Tide laundry detergent...and I've never known if this is because some childless store manager thinks a kid having a meltdown in the laundry aisle might be placated by those things or if it's simply because some stock clerk got distracted...
Anyway, as I perused the aisles late that night, enjoying a little well earned time to myself, I spotted one of those stock juxtapositions...a vertical display of beautiful little red velour pouches filled with fake gold coins, in the feminine hygiene aisle (of all places!). I couldn't believe my luck! I remember thinking to myself as I pushed my cart, at high speed, toward the display, "Wow, the only time I've ever seen these foil covered chocolate coins in the grocery store is close to Christmas! How cool is this?" I quickly pulled a dozen bags, each holding 5 coins, off the rack and tossed them into my cart, thinking, "I can't believe my luck! These'll be perfect for the boys' goody bags..." Feeling proud of myself, I pushed my cart toward the front of the store, ready to check out. Ha! Was it my imagination, or did those two women I'd just passed, fellow late night shoppers, give me a look? The neighborhood elementary school was filled with competitive Moms, and just as it occurred to me that I probably wasn't the only Mom hosting a pirate-theme Halloween party that year, I began to feel a little smug, because it appeared that I may have been the only Mom who'd had the good fortune to stumble on this cache of foil covered chocolate coins which, coincidentally, I'd depleted...yes, that's right, the entire display was in my cart...which got me to thinking, I hadn't checked the price, and as money was a consideration...I turned my cart around, wheeling it back down the aisle, past the 2 women who were definitely scrutinizing me as I walked past, sheesh!

I felt incredulous and my heart sank when I saw the price: $5 for each bag of 5 coins! Shoot, the red velour bags were pretty, and the coins were big and GORGEOUS, but $5 a bag? What kind of exotic chocolate was this? I picked up one of the pretty bags and examined it carefully, straining to read the fine print on the small tag, because I wanted to see why these chocolates were so prohibitively expensive. I felt my face growing warm, and suddenly knew with awful certainty that my face had just turned the same bright red as the velour pouches as the following words, in small print on the tags, came into focus: "features silicone lubricant, reservoir tip, golden color and a ribbed texture for your pleasure..."

Aaaaaaaaaaaaarrrggghhhh! I dropped the pouch as if it were on fire, and immediately shot a quick look around me, fervently hoping that no one who knew me, even slightly, was in the store. No wonder those women had scrutinized me! I'd been about to purchase 5 dozen "Extra Large! Extra Strength!" gold condoms, and had I purchased them, I would have dispensed them as goody bag party favors to a bunch of 7-year-old cubscouts...

What a party that would have been! My guess is, just about the time the parents were showing up to pick up their sons, all the little boys would have been happily blowing up condoms on my front lawn...although I have a feeling, had that happened, I might have gotten out of being the den mother right then and there...

8 comments:

Onemoretina said...

Hey Judi .... I am still laughing as I write this. I can imagine that you were mortified. On the other hand, thank goodness you didn't buy them and hand them out. There would have been a dozen boys who would retell this story every year at this time ! Don't feel too badly, though ... my sister accidently sent my daughter a six-pack of condoms for her 13th birthday. Long story, but you can imagine that we have never let her forget it ! Tina

Lisa :-] said...

That is HILARIOUS! I SO wish you had bought those things and given them out to the boys... Imagine how much funnier this story would be! Of course, you would have had to leave town... :D

Pam said...

I TOTALLY remember this! So funny!

Marika said...

That is the funniest story I've read for AGES. I would have paid to see the looks on the parents' faces when the little tackers got home and showed their bounty...

Jan said...

This is so good. Thanks for the laughs and pictures. I'm glad I'm taking the time today to catch up on my blogging friends.

dreaminglily said...

The best. Ever. lol Love this story.

~Lily

PS Your neighbor's yard, holy cow. I want to do my house like that every year lol

Chris said...

That is so cool. A mansion on the river here has a huge 20 foot spider at the gate of their compound entrance every year, which is cool, but it isn't as impressive as your neighbors because I know that your neighbors did this on their own....I'm sure a crew was paid to do the one here while the owner just looks on!

Erin said...

This is a GREAT, HILARIOUS story! I love Halloween, too, although I'm usually too lazy for grandiose decorations. I do love to pass out candy. :-D