Can you believe Halloween is next week? Time just goes by so fast. Oh, how we loved Halloween when our children were young. I used to make them wait until Oct. 1 before we hauled out the decorations and began making our house look as scary as possible.
They loved putting fake cob webs all over our shrubs outside. Long before pre-made headstones were a thing, we bought Styrofoam and cut it, spray-painted it and made our own cleverly-labeled headstones for the front yard.
One of their favorite things to do was to create a haunted house — either in our basement or in the garage. One year they even built a coffin and one of our daughters dressed up as a ghost who rose out of it during the haunted house scene. There was dry ice all over the garage, scary music and even a chain saw (without the blade part) for extra scariness.
Dressing up for the big night of trick-or-treating was always the highlight of the holiday. Their choices of costumes were always amusing. I had a fairly strong rule about making/creating their own costume. I wanted them to use their creativity instead of just purchasing a costume in a bag.
One year I relented and allowed them to all pick out a store-bought costume. It was ridiculously expensive and the costumes lost their appeal rather quickly — not to mention they were cheaply made. We went back to homemade costumes after that.
Our daughters tended to choose costumes representing things or hobbies they were interested in at the time. One daughter, the animal lover extraordinaire, was a veterinarian one year. Another year she was a bird. My mother was extremely helpful when they would choose a costume requiring extra work. For the bird costume she helped make wings and a beak. The other daughter was a cowgirl one year, and a private detective another year. Other choices included a cat, a ballerina, a witch and a ghost.
Our sons typically went the scarier route — the grim reaper, Frankenstein, Count Dracula, and an army zombie all made the cut. I loved taking pictures of my Halloween crew and framed my favorite picture every year. When we decorated the house for Halloween, one special box contained those precious pictures. It was always fun, and still is, to look back at those creative costumes and how much everybody had grown since the last year.
Carving the pumpkin was also always fun. Pulling out the “guts” from the inside of the pumpkin and separating the seeds for roasting was a memorable task. Some years everybody had their own small pumpkin for painting.
Of course, for the kids, collecting all of that candy was the highlight of the holiday. Our neighborhood is quite small, so as the kids got older, they wanted more homes to go to. Sometimes we trick-or-treated with friends who lived in larger neighborhoods or we went to my parents nearby neighborhood.
For someone who advocates against excess sugar consumption, seeing all of those pillowcases full of candy always caused me stress. When the kids were quite young, I had more control. After they went to sleep, we would go through their candy, sort it and discard much of it — then we allowed them to have some in a rationing sort of way. When they got older, that was pretty much impossible to do. I remember just being happy when the last piece of candy was gone.
Are you busy getting your little goblins ready for next week and Halloween festivities? I love seeing the images of your children and grandchildren on social media. Let the trick-or-treating begin!
South Forsyth resident Adlen Robinson is author of “Home Matters: The Guide to Organizing Your Life and Home.” E-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org.