Friday, October 31, 2014

True Halloween Spirit

The Sweetest Treat: A Boo Baby       

Most of the time we went to houses in our neighborhood, but one especially memorable evening that forever changed our family was unusual in more ways than one.  My grandma was in town, and arrangements were made for us to go trick-or-treating with one of our neighborhood friends and her brother.  Their dad drove us all to an apartment complex where we could get more candy and cover more ground than would be possible on the relatively small cul-de-sac we lived on off of River Road back then.  My sister and I were smitten with the prospect of collecting so much candy.  Our sort of make-shift, last minute costumes didn’t bother us much. 
We were used to having our parents walk with us to each house, but our friend’s brother was a little older, so his dad just drove around following us from one section of apartments to another.  He had “Monster Mash” blasting out of the car speakers.  The windows were down and the sunroof was open. 
Back before cellphones were mainstream, and when car phones were still exceptionally rare, we received an extra special message.  Suddenly, “The Monster Mash” stopped playing and we heard the life-changing words: “You have a new baby sister!”  Our lives were never the same.    

The Costume Kid Turned Dancing Diva

The year she turned one, my youngest sister had a really cute cow costume.  Friends of ours owned a donut shop, and my mom took a picture of her and wrote a sign by it “Got milk?” which they had up at Daylight Donuts for quite some time in the 90s.    
As a little girl, she loved Disney, dress-up clothes and had an unbelievably wide selection of pretty costumes to choose from since a close family friend would get discount costumes from Wolff Fording to use for the annual Musical Revue she put together at St. Mary’s School.  My sister owned a ton of princess costumes which she insisted on wearing everywhere during that particular period in her life.  Some people thought it was really cute and endearing, but as a teenager, I was mortified to have to go around with my youngest sibling dressed in some get-up.     
I grew up taking dance, mostly ballet, tap, and jazz, so I had a number of costumes for recitals that doubled as ones for Halloween.  I’ve even worn a couple of costumes "Miss Reesa Lynn" wore in her later dance recitals to parties. 
I had perhaps a little too much fun one year decorating for my sister’s Halloween/birthday sleepover party.  She had a large Lamb Chop's play along stuffed animal which I dressed in a black graduation gown and hung.  I also stuffed a pair of striped stockings with stuff to make it look like a witch had crash landed into the shower in the basement.
When in high school, the dancing diva told us she wanted all of us to dress up as Disney characters.  Our middle sister asked if she was kidding.  Obviously not, since she’d gotten a Tinkerbell costume to wear that year.  During the day, Kevin had a costume contest at Circuit City.  We dressed up as Men in Black, both in blacks suits, white collared shirts, black ties, and sunglasses.  Kevin went so far as to paint a water gun we had to make it look a bit more like the weapons they use in the movie.  Then that evening, I turned into Mulan for my sister’s Disney themed birthday party. 

"Trick or Trunk?!"    

I’ve heard of the popular custom of having kids don their costumes to go to a church parking lot and “trick-or-treat” from one car trunk to the next, but I am a bit concerned by the sign outside of one church that I saw advertising a Halloween “Trick or Trunk.”  I’m not sure quite what this entails, but I had visions of extreme trick-or-treating scenarios and possible outcomes.  It sounds like something that a gang might come up with—either that or a group of parents of wayward adolescents that have had enough and are ready to take drastic measures.  Of course, this suggestion also seems very much like one father of three silly sisters would come up with as an advisable alternative to dressing up your kids in costumes and walking them around the neighborhood ringing doorbells and demanding candy from strangers.    

Back in the Day

For a while, because my birthday is near Halloween, we’d have costume parades or parties for my celebration.  There are pictures of a morning costume parade in our neighborhood and donuts that marked one of my under five birthday celebrations. When we were growing up, we didn’t use those little plastic pumpkin buckets for our candy.  We got pretty hardcore after a while and used pillowcases, since those were easy to carry, and you can fit a whole lot of candy in them.  We’d walk as far as we could talk our parents into going. 
Our ritual at home was the same every year.  We’d sit down on the living room floor and dump all of our candy out in a pile, so our parents could check it for anything suspicious (or particularly delicious).  Our main concern was counting how many pieces we had, in hopes that we’d somehow gotten more loot than the other person.  Then it was time to trade for the candy we liked most with the yucky stuff that we’d resort to only once we’d eaten all of the name brand candy.

Wild Thing, You Make My Heart Sing

One of “my two little guys” who is now in his double digits is going to Disney World with his family for Halloween.  That has got to be such a cool place to be when half the people in there are already in costumes.  I’m looking forward to seeing the photos. 
I couldn’t resist dressing one of the boys up in the shark costume he had for Halloween and taking him to visit Kevin at West Marine, the retail store where he was working at the time.  I brought goldfish crackers for the boys to eat, and let them play around the dinghies and small personal watercraft on display in front of the store to get some really cute photos. 

A Celebration's In Order

Today we’re looking forward to celebrating Theresa’s birthday as well as our brother-in-law Jordan’s as a family.  I can't imagine what this life or our family would be like without my youngest sister Theresa in it. She has brought so much joy, smiles, laughter, love, and hope into our family. May the Lord continue to bless you, love you, and keep you ever close to Him as you use the many gifts He's given you to inspire others. We love you dearly! Looking forward to celebrating this evening.
My mom’s famous homemade chicken fingers, mashed potatoes, and apple pie are going to be involved.  We’re also hoping to see the cutest mailman on the planet.  Our nephew’s dream is coming true: he gets to be a mailman for the day.
Happy Halloween!  Lord of all souls, Father of all creation, thank You for the gift of loved ones, for the joy of new life, and the hope of eternal life You have given us.  All you holy men and women, pray for us!
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