Friday, October 26, 2007

Water Torture

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!


  1. What is it with the Lehigh Valley and rescheduling Halloween? I went to college in Kutztown, having grown up in Delaware (where we trick-or-treated on the 31st!), and was befuzzled at the diddling with the calendar. Whenever I asked a student/friend who was relatively local, I always got the same answer. "I don't know. It's just how we've always done it."

    I hope your rain has finally stopped. Ours did this afternoon. I live near Sesame Place, in Lower Bucks.

    Love your blog and I'll definitely be back. ;D

  2. That sounds like my house (the sobbing, sad children, and the angry mother). My kids don't do too well with disappointment either. Not too many do.

    Columbus and all its suburbs used to do trick-or-treat on various days all around Halloween as well. No one ever knew why either, but it turned into kids being bused all over the outer belt to trick-or-treat on as many nights as possible. Lovely. Last year all of the city officials, in their infinite wisdom, made some sort of deal to go back to Halloween. Woohoo!! But, now it's rain or shine. I think we're supposed to have dry skies, but who knows.

    I hope Saturday was better for you. I know it's hard -- but sit more. And have you looked into a belly belt (or whatever they're called). They do help a little.

  3. poor you guys!

    Does you local Mall have trick or treating at the stores? They could get trick or treat that way and everyone stays dry.

  4. Don't let them feed you that "we always did it this way" crud. No. They didn't. I was there. Whenever "they" started adding cheap cheese wiz to a cheese steak sandwich is when things must have gone to H*** in a bandbasket. Provolone or nothing on the cheese steaks. Some years back a friend and I went to Philly. Me from Ca. her from Mi. - on the shuttle in I met with another native Pennsylvanian. We'd both lived out of state for about 35 years. WE BOTH wondered when such an abomination crept in. My guess is some well meaning but misguided schoolmarm types thought, "mustn't keep the little darlings out on a school night." Phooey. It's as bad as that stupid FDR fiddling with the date of Thanksgiving for a while. [Ha-ha-- you sound like me re: the reese's. I only bust those out if I run out of "the other stuff."]

  5. They change the day for trick-or-treating? That is just wrong. I remember one year the 31st fell on a Sunday, so trick-or-treating was done on the 30th instead - and it just wasn't right.


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