Friday, October 9, 2009

Perle Mesta is at it Again

It's time for this year's Neighbor's Night Out again, coming up this Sunday. Remember last year I hosted an hors d'oeuvre reception in our carport at the ridiculous hour of 7 p.m. (Our party was the latest of the 60-some parties that were held city-wide.) I decided to host the event for one more year, but this time do it in the afternoon and have an ice cream social, figuring more of the parents with children would come.

And, no dummy I, I can buy tons of ice cream and if nobody shows up, well, gosh--gee whiz--somebody has to eat it all, right?

The folks at the city dropped off my package, which includes little reminders to put on everybody's doorknob, so I went out this morning and walked the street, putting reminders on all the doors. It took about 45 minutes to do, so I've had my exercise for the day too. I only ran into two neighbors on the route, one an old man I'd never seen before. We didn't chat. But the other was a woman who has lived here as long as we have and we talked for a long time. She says she makes a "killer hot fudge sauce" and will see if she can send some with her husband (since she can't come).

I also spent most of the time I was walking trying to remember the name of our next door neighbor. I remember HIS name, but I cannot for the life of me remember hers. This is not so much an Alzheimers thing as it is that we have not spoken in probably more than 20 years. No reason that I am aware of why we don't speak, but we just don't. She never even sent a note of sympathy (or made eye contact) after Paul's or David's deaths. (But that's ok--she wasn't alone. Most of our neighbors didn't, including people whose kids had gone to school with them. But who's bitter...?)

Anyway, the invitations are out, the plans are made and on Sunday at 2 p.m., we will gather together for ice cream and hope that not very many people show up, so I can have an excuse to eat the leftovers.

The one thing I noticed on my walk around the neighborhood was how many houses are decked out for Halloween. I assume these are either houses with children, or houses of people who have grandchildren who are expected to visit during the month.

It reminded me that Halloween is my very least favorite holiday. I have always had trouble with Halloween on so many levels. First is the costumes. I always felt that I should be The Good Mom and make my kids' costumes, not just buy tacky store-bought plastic costume. Of course the flaw in this plan is that (a) I do not have a creative bone in my body, and (b) I can't sew a button, much less a costume. I remember one year all the boys were super heroes, which was easy because we could use towels for capes and Tom went as Diaper Man (the cutest superhero you ever saw!), dressed in pink and blue, if I remember correctly.

But no matter what kind of costume they wore, we would get to the school parade and I'd feel about 2" tall because there were kids who looked like they were ready for the stage in Vegas, the costumes were so gorgeous. Mine were made with love...and very little else!

I also loved making my own treats for trick or treaters. I'd make rice krispie treats or cookies nicely packaged in individual bags. I think I even did candied apples one year. But then the sickos started putting razors in apples and poisoning cookies, so nobody would take your home made goodies and you had to go with store bought.

Then there was the candy problem. It's a no-win situation. Either you give in and let them dive into their stash immediately and make themselves sick from gorging on candy, or you go through the daily, sometimes hourly fight over how much candy they can have and why they can't have it before dinner. We generally went with the "eat it all now and make yourself sick and then we'll throw out the rest" until the kids got old enough to become territorial about their candy (this was also the age when they could if Mom had stolen a Snickers out of their bag, so it stopped being fun for me completely!)

The kids continued to get older and we had a few fun years where we decorated the house and they helped with a haunted house that the city ran for little kids and they also did most of the giving out of candy here at home. But eventually they moved out and now it's just Walt and me at home.

Ever try giving out trick or treat candy and appreciating the costumes of little kids while trying to keep several dogs from licking the trick or treaters or rushing out into the street? I ended up turning the trick or treat task over to Walt completely and I manned the dogs. But there was the problem of my buying way too much candy, so I could eat it myself after the little kids had gone.

Soon, we had fewer and fewer little kids, as there were more dangers for little kids trick or treating. Now they do it at businesses downtown and the older kids have parties at the school. Mostly the only kids out trying to get candy come dressed as surly teens, taller than I am, with pillow sacks they are trying to fill.

Now I pretty much ignore Halloween entirely. I turn out all the lights in the front room and the carport and stay in the back of the house and if someone should decide to check and see if just maybe there is somebody home, I don't answer the doorbell.

I suppose I'm ripe for having my windows soaped, but I don't think anybody "tricks" any more.

At least I hope not.

1 comment:

pandionna said...

Oh, they trick, all right. And not necessarily on Halloween proper. I've already seen a house "rolled" with toilet paper. I do love the holiday, though. It's the vampire in me.