Bet you didn't know that "Halloween" is actually Old English for Death by Bitter Disappointment, did you? Well, that's what my kids found out this year, and it ain't pretty, my friends.
The first disappointment was the fact that they have a pregnant and tired mother who declined to carve pumpkins while her abdominal muscles screamed in pain from supporting the human she is growing. After being a classroom helper for Francie's school party, it was a kindness to say I was dragging. When every single person you encounter tells you that you look tired, you might just have to face the music and slow it down a little. The pumpkins were the first Halloween tradition to bite it.
The second blow came when it started raining at four o'clock. Not just a little rain, but a nice steady, thrumming kind of downpour. And it was cold. Normally this wouldn't be a problem, seeing as how this isn't actually Halloween and all, but the supervisors of our township, in their Infinite Infiniteness, have messed around with the calendar. After a fun and formative childhood of trick-or-treating on the 31ST, no matter what day of the week that happened to be, my children get to trick-or-treat on the Friday closest to, but not after, October 31st. On some years you might get lucky and get to go out on the real day, but that hasn't happened yet in the four years that we've lived here. Every town in this area does this, and I have no idea why. I've asked, and no one ever has a good reason, unless Well, that's the way we've always done it counts as a reason.
I made the brutal call to not go out when the wind started gusting and the rain was blowing sideways. You would have thought that I had just told the children to eat ground glass. Their eyes were wide with shock, and then the sobbing began. All of this was compounded by a handful of my neighbors who decided that they would drive their children into each and every driveway so that their princesses and ninjas could dash to the front door with minimal exposure. Their children were met at the door by my children, who dropped candy in their bags and choked out Happy Halloween in between sobs. I wanted to just throw it all on the lawn and let them find it in the lagoon that was our yard (except the peanut butter cups. They're mine). Bleak House indeed.
Mom and I tried to cheer the kids, until cheering them became too exhausting. At some point I think I made a heartless comment about knowing hope to cope with the disappointments that come into each life. It doesn't help that Halloween gets paraded in front of them from the end of August until October, but come on, kids! It's not like we cancelled Christmas. We played cards and made very tentative plans to try and go trick-or-treating the next night in a neighboring town, although the weather was supposed to be just as dreadful.
Then Fiver managed to slam the front door on Sally's hand after a round of damp Halloweenies. It was accidental, but I still managed to overreact in a fine way. You all would have been so proud. I know I was.
Then I did what I do best, and sent them to bed miserable.
Now if you'll excuse me, I have a little cache of peanut butter cups that has my name on it. Trick or Treat!