On the eve of Halloween, the kids, Aaron and I were treated to a very special visit from our longtime best friends, the Baxters. David and Corbin run their own production company, Soulbox Productions, which we've proudly watched grow from a dream into a successful award-winning videography business. Their creative pursuit is inspiring - and as a recent children's book I am now reading reaffirmed what I've known - it's important to expose our children to talented artists as often as we can. So we were thankful when they came over to spend the evening with us - and overwhelmed when they brought over a tray of fine sweets from a local bakery, and gifts for the kids....
We spent the night reading, playing games, cooking and enjoying each other's company around the dinner table together.
Bedtime came around too soon, and I promised Ava we'd save her Halloween treat. The next morning when Ava woke up, the first thing she asked was, "can I have my treat now?" So after a plate of pancakes, she feasted on her special treat that Aunt Corbin handpicked for her.
I had been procrastinating the decision of how to celebrate Halloween as a family and creating traditions. Will they get scared if a werewolf comes to the door? How do I moderate their intake if neighbors are generous during trick-or-treating? Is it worth battling crowds at the mall for a tootsie-roll?
Halloween is still an entirely new concept for the kids. Last year, Ava passed out treats while Noah in his aluminum wrapped spaceship-walker watched from the window. Now that they both run at full speed, I just wasn't sure... until I stumbled upon an email invite from the Women's Museum to attend their Kids Fall Fest.
We pulled out costumes from the children's dress-up bin, and explained that Halloween is a fun day, where they wear costumes, play games, and get treats. They didn't seem to mind... they were heading outdoors, and that was joyful enough.
They watched the puppet show, The Sorcerer's Apprentice, went on a scavenger hunt, made green slime, decorated cookies, colored pumpkins, and participated in a costume contest...
The kids ran around the exhibits freely, and enjoyed the lights and pictures on display. A marquee with flashing words streaming to the ceiling stopped Ava in her tracks to say, "that's amazing!"
Watching our kids interact with each other and having fun with what they are thrown into by their parents - is probably the most celebrated experience we could ever ask for in return.
For both Aaron and I, our favorite moments were of Ava when she found the first loot on the scavenger hunt and picked one piece of candy to throw into her hollow pumpkin. No one was watching. A basket of candy just sitting there - and she took just one! Then she handed Noah a piece and said, "Noah, you get one too!"
Our second favorite moment was of the kids participating in the costume contest. Their cowboy and cowgirl costumes rounded up their courage to stand in line and be judged by the crowds. We couldn't help but laugh, when Noah kept going back alone to be judged against the older kids...
We left shortly afterwards in an attempt to make it around our block so that Ava could experience a "trick-or-treat" at a neighbor's door. When we parked in front of our house, Ava reminded us that she needed a flashlight to trick-or-treat. Thank goodness for PBS and their safety tips - I love that station!
Our neighbor handed her chocolate, and she humbly accepted and said, "Happy Halloween." And since Noah was sleeping in Aaron's arms, she took the liberty to get his sack and fill it too..
We knocked on two more doors before we reached our neighbors across the street and scored the jackpot - a bounce house!
She didn't bounce for very long - the one frosted chocolate-chip cookie with sprinkles, orange lollipop, 2 Now & Laters, 2 bags of Skittles, and 2 Tootsie-rolls caught up with her. We headed home for baths and dinner - followed by the much anticipated opening of the Scary Movie Watching Survival Kit from from their very creative Aunt Corbin.
The kit included a "monster-proof" blanket, It's the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown DVD, 2 spooky sippy cups, and a giant bucket to hold their treats. The Baxters' thoughtful gesture rounded out the evening into a memorable tradition I see us doing for years to come...
Cuddling on the couch with our blanket, watching a scary movie, and drinking milk to wash away the excess sweet we filled our bellies with. What a great family-fun day! Halloween - we had a great time. Thanks for giving us a new family tradition... and adorning us with lasting treats we'll enjoy year after year...