Halloween with older kids
What is Halloween with older kids like?
Well, it’s a lot different than it is when the kids are little, that’s for sure. I remembered when my kids were toddlers and I could choose their costumes. They were always something cute like a teddy bear. Then later when they picked out their own costumes, they were Spider Man or a friendly skeleton. It was quite a while before they all wanted to be something creepy or scary.
Last year I was the first year I didn’t give out Halloween candy or even decorate our house. It was kind of a let down for me, even though Halloween isn’t among my favorite holidays.
“Not that great, actually”
“How was your Halloween,” the hygienist asked me. I was in the dental office electronically signing the forms while my son was down the hall having the wires removed from his braces prior to his cleaning.
“Not that great, actually.”
“Well, sorry. But Halloween with older kids isn’t the same…it was the first year I didn’t give out candy because I spent the whole night driving my three kids around. We live in a neighborhood with three cul de sacs and my youngest wanted to trick or treat downtown, where we used to live, with a friend, who actually lives closer to where we live now. My older two are too old — well, my 14-year-old is mostly too big…you saw him (for those who haven’t seen him, he’s 6′ 2″) — and they went to separate parties. My oldest’s party was far, far away. Well, never mind. How was yours?”
She gave a glowing report. Her kids are 7 and 9 so she’s still in the midst of it all: the anticipation, planning the perfect costume and route, counting and sorting the candy, and possibly even eating too much candy and/or confiscating the candy (and then usurping the parent tax).
I tried not to worry about the unknown
I wasn’t so worried about my younger two. My youngest went to a neighborhood party before I picked him up to take him downtown, where he’d be chaperoned by one of his friends’ moms. My middle son got a ride to a local party from where I’d be picking him up later. I knew the plan was for them to watch horror movies and possibly play moonlight basketball. I knew the family. It was my oldest that concerned me. Well, it actually wasn’t him, it was the unknown.
He was going to a party approximately one hour away. I did not know the family. I barely knew any of his friends. He goes to high school out of town. It’s actually out of state, just over the line enough that it’s 30 minutes away. Kids from a lot of towns attend this school, so the radius of his friends and activities has expanded considerably.
After my younger two were situated, we drove together to his party. I grilled him about who was going to be there and whether there would be parents chaperoning. I didn’t want to embarrass him and go to the door with him, but I would if I had to. The neighborhood felt like it was in the middle of nowhere, though it wasn’t, it was just nowhere I had ever been before. And it was so far away from home I planned to go shopping during the time my son was at the party. He was dressed as a basketball player (which is not REALLY much of a costume since he IS a basketball player).
It was unlikely that I’d have found the house if there wasn’t another car at the end of the driveway, and a woman who turned out to the be the mom (whose husband was inside with the kids) was chatting with the driver who had just dropped off another party goer. The mom invited me to stay and I declined, telling her that I was sure my son would be mortified but I was so happy I had a chance to meet her all the same, since “you never can be too sure that Halloween with older kids won’t involved spiked punch or something,” wink-wink-nudge-nudge. But I was only half joking because I was in high school once myself (I have to remind my older two who think I don’t know anything) and I know what goes on.
This year I put out two skeleton decorations, at least, and some of my family even noticed! (The downed lamppost is actually not a decoration, but another whole story.) Long gone are the days that we’d carve pumpkins, because I always found that kind of disgusting and arduous, anyway. When we moved to this neighborhood, I had visions of creating a trail of terror in our long and winding driveway — I imagined sound effects and a fog machine and scary monsters (my kids) surprising people from the shadows, but I gave up that idea last year.
Now it’s three days before Halloween. My youngest doesn’t know what he is going to be (every time he says that I suggest “hockey player” since he has plenty of equipment, though it’s all kind of smelly) or where he wants to Trick or Treat. My middle has no plans that I’ve heard about, and my oldest is going to a costume party at his girlfriend’s house — and now that he has his license, he can drive himself!
Maybe I’ll hand out candy and maybe I won’t — the lights on our long, winding driveway don’t work so if I’m not standing at the end of it with candy buckets, no one will come to our door. It’s way too scary and besides, the year before last, rumor had it there was a bear roaming through our yard. It will depend on whether I have to drive anyone anywhere or not, and no, I have not planned ahead and bought any candy because I do not want it in the house.
Our dogs are the only ones truly ready for Halloween.