November 1, 2010

The Neighbors Pull Through

Yesterday, I wrote about how I am not that mom, the one who makes homemade Halloween costumes or sews her kids' candy bags. Well, we are also not that family. We don't decorate our house much for any holiday, and even as I write this, I'm remembering that we have some Halloween decorations in the garage that I completely forgot to take out, let along hang up. Thankfully, the kids are too young to know any different. I hope that by the time they are old enough to want decorations, they will remind me to get them out.

Fortunately we have neighbors who do make the effort. There are two families in particular who really go all out. One house a few blocks away decorated their front yard with every inflatable, movable, Halloween character you can image: gargoyles, ghosts, spiders, and two grim reapers, including one driving a hearse with a coffin inside. The coffin opens up and a vampire peeks out. A ghost pops out of a pumpkin. And Jelly's favorite was the big black cat. My favorite are the ghosts circling the tree, though they were absent this year. I loved them in previous years because they get repurposed to be angels at Christmas time. (This is not a one holiday family).

But another family, just a couple houses away from us, really goes all out. For over 15 years as I understand it, they have put an enormous hand constructed dragon out front. The head moves up and down and the eyes light up. The house also gets a facade to make it look like a stone castle. And they open the house up to people as a haunted house. In previous years, we've walked by the house to look at the dragon. Everything about this medieval castle scene looks quite...homemade. There is nothing professional here and it shows. We used to joke about it a little. But this year, we went through the house and I have a new respect for this family. The haunted house goes on and on, winding through a fairy garden, past a graveyard and back into the house. You walk through all kinds of rooms, including the kids' favorite, an underwater treasure room. It is all run by the dad, his teenage son and his friends. They have rules (if you're carrying the blue staff, there's no "scaring and no swearing"), and they do a great job. We'll certainly go back next year.

After our two main stops, we came back home. Then we turned off the lights and hid inside. With a nervous barking dog and two sleeping kids, we didn't hand out candy this year. Winding down after the excitement was a challenge, but overall, it was a successful Halloween.

This was probably the last Halloween for me to choose both costumes, so this year, we decided to go with a brother/sister team, Luke Skywalker and Princess Leia. Hope your little ones had fun too, or that you were able to avoid the chaos if you needed to. May the force be with you.

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