Archive for November 2nd, 2009


I know you’re anxiously waiting to see how we fared with our wet & wild Halloween bash. 

Long story short:  I’m still here. 

After more than five inches of rain (how many more I don’t know, my rain gauge was overflowing after five) we ended up with a swampy back yard.  All that talk that my husband has been doing for the last couple of years about bringing in a load of dirt and filling in the low spots?  Yeah, hasn’t been done yet.  Obviously.  So we mucked about for most of the morning, moving decorations to higher ground, and cordoning off the swampiest section of the yard so that no one would lose a shoe in all the muck. 

Plans to scavenger hunt in the cemetery had to be scrapped because getting into the cemetery was also a swampy affair, due to the gates being closed and any entry point would have had to have been off-road. 

I should point out that Saturday dawned sunny and clear, if a bit cool.  If it were not for the deluge 24 hours prior, it would have been a glorious day all the way around.  I was just happy to see the sun. 

I ran the vacuum, shoved the dining room table to one side of the room, placed chairs all around, and closed off the study, where I had stashed all the piles of crap that every household accumulates in the process of everyday living.  The cats were banished to the basement, and happily so.  I lit scented candles (apples and cinnamon) and played themed music on the stereo. 

The pinata was rigged up on our deck pergola, which worked out very well.  There is something quite satisfying about the sound a wiffle bat makes when in contact with a filled paper pinata.  Once that pinata broke open, the kids were like rabid wolves after the treats that spilled out. 

Apple bobbing also took place on the deck.  I have never been one to see the charm of chasing down a floating apple in a washtub full of chilly water, but the kids loved it and went for two rounds.  Spawn won the bobbing contest with the most apples bobbed.  Of course no one ate any of the apples, so I had ten pounds of Michigan apples with bite marks in them that went for horse treats later on. 

Kids in the 8-to-9-year age range are game for games, and I had an arsenal of simple games lined up.  I even planned to pull out the Twister game if we hit a lull.  Turns out we didn’t have to go quite that far, as the games were enough.  We did a pumpkin bean bag toss, tossing bean bags into plastic pumpkins (not as easy as it sounds, plastic pumpkins tend to tip over if you toss with too much force).  We also pulled out a party game from the ancient files of my youth and dropped clothespins over the shoulder into a plastic pumpkin, with the aid of a hand mirror.  Also not as easy as it sounds.  Another game was a Smarties game, where you transferred a pack of Smarties from one bowl to another with the aid of a straw. 

And because I am the crafty sort, I had little pumpkins lined up on a table, with peel & stick foam face parts in a basket, so that everyone could create their own pumpkin buddy to take with them. 

I also was able to offload a rather large bucket of candy into treat bags — I was even smart enough to hand out the candy myself, one handful at a time.  Kids can be pretty grabby. 

Party food: 

halloween party 2009 001

I tried to balance the sheer volume of sugar that these kids were consuming with something that had protein in it.  Thus, we had mummy dogs (your standard pigs in a blanket) and monster mouths (peanut butter apples).  The mummy dogs were by far the biggest hit.  I tried one and they were pretty good, even if I do say so myself. 

Two hours later, a gaggle of moms showed up to take photos and usher their kids home for further sugar gathering, and Yours Truly collapsed.  When you are not gregarious and social by nature, being “on” like that for two hours can sap you pretty quick. 

Let me say that I could not have done any of this without my best friend.  Eileen is the daughter of a teacher and very, very much like her mother.  She helped to keep the kids moving along, kept the games from getting too raucous, and donated some great ideas to the cause.  I am not teacher material, I learned that after one semester in the teaching program at my university.  I don’t have the cojones for it.  But Eileen has the teaching gene and the teacher-style mannerisms, and kids queue up for her because she has an authority that I do not have.  In a word, she is awesome

Spawn went home with my mother, who was taking one of the party guests home.  I spent the rest of the afternoon putting my house back to right.  Spawn ended up being invited to another Halloween party, so I got the rest of the evening off. 

Sunday dawned sunny and clear, though it was still muddy.  My husband and I put away the Halloween decorations.  I now have to buy another plastic storage tub to stash the overflow.  Spawn is already saying “next year.” 

Heaven help. 



— Mox


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