Thursday, November 02, 2006

“This is Halloween. This is Halloween.”

On my list of favorite movies is Tim Burton’s 1993 “Nightmare Before Christmas,” an innovative and creative take on the holidays, but it is hard to pin it to a particular season. On one hand, it is a movie about a bunch of characters living in HalloweenTown so it is great to watch during Halloween. On the other hand, the lead character, Jack Skellington, invades ChristmasTown because he has a fascination with Sandy Claws, which makes it prime fodder for Christmas. Perhaps its best to watch it sometime between the two holidays, bookending the Fall season front to back.

The movie is one of the few things I like about Halloween. That and how Natalie decided that she would only give out one single gumdrop to each kid that came to the door until they ran out, then she turned to pencils.

Yes, we were the house that had pencils. Avoid us.

It was like the Charlie Brown Halloween movie when all the Peanuts are standing on the sidewalk after Trick or Treating, asking each one of them what they got, and Charlie Brown says, “I got a rock.” Well, as one kid was leaving our porch after having treats properly and efficiently metered out by the “Mermaid, Princess, Butterfly,” I heard him say, “I got a pencil” in that same incredulousness of Charlie Brown. She was happy, but soon Kara began to augment Natalie’s rations with additional candy so we would avoid the wrath of Halloween tricks.

Halloween officially started at our house the night before, what with the carving of the pumpkin and all. Natalie was a big help, telling me where the eyes should go and how many teeth it needed to have. She held the knife when it was time to operate, but I couldn’t convince her to scoop in and dig out the guts. Matthew didn’t have a problem with it, as he dove right in and started shoving raw pumpkin innards and seeds in his mouth as fast as possible, and when he got hold of the disc that I cut from the bottom of the lid, he went to town, chomping away as if it was a giant pumpkin-flavored cookie.

Natalie lined up all of the pumpkins by the door and prepared them for the following evening, the big night when we would get on our costumes and go out into the night, essentially begging for food door to door.

We went out on the neighborhood rounds a little after 6pm, and instead of merely turning off the house lights and pretending that we weren’t home, I put about a third of a bowl of candy on a chair on the porch to conduct a little experiment to see if any would be there when we returned. What do you think? After being gone for 20 minutes, do you think there was any candy left?

You’re right. The bowl was empty…even the pencils were gone, and since the bowl was set down in a different position from where I originally set it (the lip of the bowl was resting on one of the runners of the chair back), that tells me that one person got it all.

Little cretins.

Since I’m really tired from walking around Disneyland today (yes, by myself… I’m pathetic, but more on that later) and I’ve got a mountain of work stacked up that I probably won’t get to tonight, I’m going to let the Halloween pictures and captions speak for themselves.

Every skilled doctor knows that it is important to get the pumpkin ready for his operation, and Natalie spent the entire week prior to cutting open the big orange guy by standing on him to climb over the couch. Matty was just happy to have something to stand up next to.

Natalie was a big help holding onto the knife and directing which way I needed to cut. She especially enjoyed pushing the pumpkin lumps back into the pumpkin after they were cut.

Of course, Matthew will put most anything he finds in his mouth, and why shouldn’t yummy raw pumpkin chunks and crunchy seeds. Here I am trying to coax out a seed that he started to gum.

He gnawed on his pumpkin top disc for a good 15 minutes before he directed his attention elsewhere.

Finally, after all of that work, Gnat gets to pose with her creation, Mr. Pumpkin.

Matt the Cat… he was none too pleased to be dressed up like a cat. Maybe he was tired or a little cranky, but he spent most of the time hanging his head low, wondering why the oppressive weight of these furry ears was keeping him down. Scary, huh? Meow!

He didn’t fully understand what was going on—which is pretty usual for him—but he took it in that same nonchalant stride like his father does. What a trooper, but after an hour or so stuck in the cat suit, he got pretty tired of it.

Everyone’s ready for a night out Trick or Treating, even Kara’s jumped into the spirit by donning her cowboy outfit for school.

As we went around the corner near our house, Natalie pointed down the street to a lit-up house at the end of the block and announced that we were headed that direction. The first house we went to, she wasn’t 100 percent sure what to do, but by the third or fourth ring of the doorbell, she was an old pro. “So, I say ‘trick or treat’ and they give me stuff? I wonder if this will work all year long!?!”

Once home, after only about 20 minutes, Natalie laid out her score on the floor of the front room. She then separated the chocolate candies out from the non-chocolate ones. Matthew got a bunch too, but since he only has a few teeth, we think it best not to let him have any, as I don’t think a baby should have a cavity before his first birthday.

So, that's our Halloween.

Tomorrow, I'll share with you a new addition to the family... tear in the corner of my eye... I'm so proud.

Stay tuned.

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