Happy Halloween. It’s not my favorite holiday but we had fun. In general, it’s a much bigger holiday in our town and neighborhood than I remember when I was a kid. People go all out decorating. On one hand, I don’t love all the super scary and creepy decorations. On the other hand, it’s probably the one night of the year we talk to the most number of neighbors. One cul-de-sac in our neighborhood even put together a party in the middle of the road with a bonfire and hot dogs and cider. A house was showing an outdoor movie and another house had an optional “Haunted Trail” for the bigger kids. Can’t tell what John is dressed up as in the photo above? Wondering if we adopted a slightly strange fourth child?
Here is John with his second head, later named “Jimmy” (the head). His costume kind of evolved from being the headless horseman to the horseless headman. He had a plan to kind of float the head out in front of him but it didn’t work out so he improvised and stuck it in the hood of his coat. This year’s costume was a bit of a minor ethical dilemma for me. We usually discourage the super scary costumes. His didn’t turn out that scary but it did give his sister nightmares the night after he was painted it in our kitchen. I was appreciative that he wanted to do something creative instead of opting for something manufactured or easy. We talked briefly about making sure it was all in fun and about how there is a line we don’t want to cross. I admitted that I’m not sure exactly where that line is. We do Halloween as a family and we don’t avoid all the references to ghosts and skeletons and monsters. I’m a Christian who believes that Halloween is pretty much about having fun dressing up and getting candy. At the same time, there are some scary things that we won’t do. I want the kids to kind of figure out where that line is for themselves. And I can totally understand why having a floating head or second head is a really funny costume to an 11 year old boy.
Earlier in the day we engaged in a much more terrifying activity. The boys have birthdays close together so this year we combined their main present and got them a trapeze class at The Trapeze School of New York (in Washington).
All kidding aside, they had a fantastic time and weren’t scared at all. I thought it might be at least a little disconcerting to watch our kids flying through the air well above our heads but the school does a great job of making everyone feel safe and comfortable (parents included). I’m sure they want to go back.
Ruth was sad that she didn’t get to do it also. They do allow six year olds but since she had just turned six we weren’t sure if it would be appropriate for her. I guess we will have to go back because we promised her that next time we’d sign her up also.
In general, I find we are moving more and more to giving experiences rather than things for gifts. Part of it is that we have very generous family members who give our kids all they need (and more). There is really nothing they need in terms of stuff. They always want more (they are kids after all) but really, how many Legos can you have? Giving an unusual or special experience has been a good way to limit the amount of clutter a least a tiny bit and also to expose them to a variety of fun and different activities that we might not have done otherwise.