May I first say, I love how diverse and unique God made families. As our children grow, we all get to discover what we find to be meaningful and fun. I have great respect and admiration for many families who create traditions different than our own. With that said, in the past we have felt conflicted over how to best celebrate the 31st of October. We did, however, finally hit upon tradition-worthy plan a few years ago. A day that previously felt awkward to us is now one of our favorite family events.
It doesn't really have a good name (suggestions welcome) and usually ends up called "Family Harvest Night" or "Fall Celebration." It consists of placing a nice bucket-load of candy at the front door for the neighborhood kiddies and us hunkerin' down for a family-night extravaganza.
To document, here are a series of entirely blurry (no low-light lens, sorry!), but happy pictures:
While us girls set to work on making taco salad fixins' the boys gutted the pumpkins. Peter got to use his knife he purchased in Honduras and was most excited. I chose not to watch, fearing severed fingers and punctured palms.
After dinner and clean-up, the kiddos flitted between the carving station and carameling some apples in the kitchen. The idea is to keep the evening full of lots of fun and treats all in the context of being together as a family.
The kids are welcome to dress up if they so choose. This year we had some be-pearled princesses and a swarthy pirate. (Don't forget to flip the patch up when eating caramel apples!)
Here you see a couple of wraslin' princesses in a sugar-induced state of utopia. (The blurry floral number Lucette is wearing was my mother's dress she made and wore at her wedding rehearsal. That dress warrants a blog post all on it's own!) The kids get to partake in gooey apples and candy corn, drink apple cider and munch on "sweet-n-spicy" roasted pumpkin seeds. It's a regular sugar-fest.
When recently asked if she felt disappointed that she didn't get to do trick-or-treating like the other kids, Lucette responded with: "Well gee, no! I don't have to stand out in the freezing rain to get candy!" Oh sigh, that girl makes me laugh.
I know that some families make a night of trick-or-treating together. For many, I think it is a sweet, exciting time. I'm just also glad that our kids don't feel deprived. It's a night they eagerly look forward to, even though our version is formatted a little differently.
Violet had requested to be a window and, happily, ended up looking like an illuminated cross. We also had a two-toothed pumpkin with glasses, a menacing-looking fellow, and one mimicking Lucette playing cross-eyed tag.
With pumpkins flickering, we piled onto the sofa under mountains of blankets and cozied up for movie time. This year's selection? A brilliant movie named Gus. You can't get much better than a 70's film starring Don Knotts and a Yugoslavian donkey who plays football for the NFL. Genius.
After the evening concluded and children were snug in bed, Pops commented: "It's rather perfect, really. How many other holidays do you spend just as a small family unit with no other commitments?" Perhaps our plans and perspectives will need to evolve or flex as they get older. Or maybe ... they'll continue to find this tradition a sweet, anticipated time together.
Bet you know what I'm rootin' for.