I know, the words "Halloween" and "confession" aren't really a large part of the Jewish vocabulary. Yes, I am Jewish. No, I do not celebrate Halloween. Yes, I am writing about it anyway.
Halloween was an interesting event here in Des Moines. In the great Walmart spirit, costumes, candy, accessories, and decorations were sold in the store fore-front for about six weeks prior to the very important holiday. For Aviva, this was a bittersweet experience. There were some days we couldn't even walk past the aisles because some of the costumes were so God awfully scary. Other days, we regained our courage and searched the costumes for none other than... our best friend... Elmo. Elmo is referred to as "LaLa" in our house because Aviva's one DVD (Elmo's World) begins with Elmo's theme song, "la la la la, la la la la la, Elmo's world..." So when we were feeling brave, our Walmart experience consisted of finding la la (before the scary costumes could find us).
Our first personal Halloween experience happened when Aviva's Kindermusik sent out a newsletter inviting us to a "Halloween/Fall Festival Party". Ok, maybe I shouldn't have gone because the word "Halloween" was in there. But the word "Fall Festival" was also in there - and I felt that was pretty parve - so we went! Listen, on Sundays when Josh is studying all day I pretty much jump at any opportunity for a fun activity. And no, don't worry - I didn't put Aviva in a costume.
The party was fun. The kids pretended they were leaves falling from trees (Hence the "fall festival" aspect of the event title - see? parve, right??) They also sang "The Monster Bash" - Ok... I'll admit defeat when necessary.
After the singing was over, the kids were invited to a room full of fall activities such as jumping in a "leaf pile" (of scarves and pillows), riding through a pumpkin patch, and decorating wooden Halloween masks. Despite the wonderful other parve activities, Aviva chose to decorate a kitty-cat Halloween mask. As our parve outing was turning less and less parve, I decided to let it go. Aviva loves her mask, decorated it very nicely, and maybe will be able to wear it on Purim!!
Oh and don't worry - at our next Kindermusik class where the kids were invited to come dressed up in Halloween costumes, I did NOT cave. After much consideration of putting Aviva in her Purim bumble-bee outfit or Redskins cheerleading outfit (you can guess which one her father preferred) - I decided to stop the Halloween Mishigas and stand my ground as a nice Jewish family. It actually felt good :) And don't worry, Aviva wasn't the only kid left out. One other mother forgot to put her kid in a costume and she was looked at as the world's worst mother. I wonder what the only could have thought of me...
Well, after all the great anticipation, Halloween finally arrived. Now, you may not know, but the families in Des Moines are quite Frum. They go trick-or-treating on "Erev Halloween" - the night of October 30th, not the 31st. I was quite glad to hear this since October 31 fell out on a Friday this year and I sure was not in the mood for my barefooted neighbor friends to stalk us during our Friday night dinner.
I definitely overestimated the wonders of Halloween in our neighborhood. I had visions of the doorbell ringing all night with tons of kids bombarding us for candy. My mother gave us a good idea and told us to leave some candy on the porch and a note saying not to ring the bell or knock on the door - just take the candy. And hey, if one kid takes all the candy - there's no more! Sounds pretty easy. A sure way to keep the kiddies away.
Like I said, I overestimated. I bought three large bags of the Hershey's mini chocolates (milk chocolate, dark chocolate, Mr. Goodbar, & Krackle). I put up a note requesting that the kids don't bother us - and invited our guests to take TWO treats per person. Even though Josh rolled on the floor with laughter at my TWO treat rule (he explained to me that I was quite the dork) -it actually worked pretty well.
Our only true guests (who arrived before we put our note up) were of course... can you guess...? Our lovely neighbors!! Desiree was a cowgirl which was actually quite endearing. Although her brother (the one with the knives) was some horrid looking vampire thing on stilts that was sure to give any toddler nightmares. They were very pleasant and naturally... took the candy and ran.
I should say that we ASSUME everything went smoothly. I chose to attend Josh's volleyball game at his school that night and left the Rabbi's daughters to babysit on Halloween night. We didn't hear any horror stories and of course, we gave them tons of candy when they went home. We can only imagine what they think of us now. (Just joking... they totally understand).
In conclusion, to end our Halloween spirit, I purchased an Elmo trick-or-treat basket today at Walmart for 99 cents. Naturally, Aviva loves it.
Oh, and also - you can only imagine where our extra Hershey's candy is going.
I'm almost 8 months pregnant... you don't have to think too hard.