Thursday, 1 November 2012

Hallowe'en Hangover

As I stood in the rain this morning dropping my youngest off at school, I witnessed again the notorious Hallowe'en Hangover. Kids who normally walk into school without a backward look or thought for the parents cling to them with tears in their eyes, others slowly clomp into the playground late for school, bleary-eyed and glum and others throw full scale fits for one reason or another.One child this morning was pleading that her mum relent and let her bring some candy to school. It seems that privilege had been revoked after she was busted trying to sneak an extra piece into her lunch bag. I think the Mum was regretting that particular consequence as much as her daughter at that moment. But parents must be strong and follow through - we can't let them know how much it pains us. Truly it is a case of "this hurts me as much as you...". But it is only recently I realized (like right now) that parents say that not to comfort the child but to comfort themselves - I am surely not the only one to take solace from knowing my kid is as miserable as I am when I am forced to discipline them.

Anyway, as I walked away happily bidding them all au revoir, one Mum also turning to go said, "Now WE party." I laughed - partying to me these days often involves just lying down in a quiet dark place. It is the case for most parents that Hallowe'en is not just one late night, it is two. Last night was reasonably late and candy-fuelled but the night before was much more taxing and made Hallowe'en itself seem longer.

The last couple of years, my only Hallowe'en prep has been fine tuning the Hallowe'en play list for the iPod.

Some top choices are:

People Are Strange - The Doors
Monster Mash  - Bobby "Boris" Pickett
Ghost Riders In The Sky - Nancy Cassidy
Love Potion No. 9 - The Clovers
Thriller - Michael Jackson
I Put A Spell On You - Screamin' Jay Hawkins (or Creedence Clearwater Revival or Nina Simone)
The Boogie Monster - Gnarls Barkley
Werewolves of London - Loudon Wainwright III
Purple People Eater - Sheb Wooley
Spirits In The Material World - The Police
Little Ghost - The White Stripes
Highway To Hell - AC/DC
Way Down In The Hole - The Blind Boys Of Alabama (or Tom Waits)
Psycho Killer - Talking Heads
Superstition - Stevie Wonder
Freddie's Dead - Fishbone
Boris The Spider - The Who
Evil Gal Blues - Aretha Franklin
Evil Ways - Carlos Santana & Buddy Miles
Worms - The Pogues

But this year I upped my game. The night before Hallowe'en, after I had helped my wife make mountains of homemade caramel corn for three Hallowe'en class parties (BTW delicious), I stayed up to 1 a.m. helping her assemble our oldest's werewolf costume. My original commitment was to make the tail - a coat hanger, an old stocking and some torn up clothing (see previous post It All Comes Out In The Wash for the back story on this) made for a cool looking base. I then had to affix fake fur to it. By the end it looked pretty damn impressive. In the meantime my wife was busy sewing fur to a pair of torn up pants and a torn up shirt to mimic the look of a transformed werewolf bursting out of his clothes. It was nearing midnight by this time and she and my son had been far too liberal in tearing holes in the clothing so I shared that particular duty with her.

The main complaint I had partway through the process was having to watch W television (stands for Woman, I guess, though after I while I began to believe it stood for 'Why' as in 'Why is this crap on TV and Why am I watching it?'). Well, I didn't mind when the Victoria's Secret Angel Collection Push-Up bra ads were running. (Did you know that ALL angels dream of the perfect push-up bra? I had no idea, I thought they might have other things on their celestial minds. Very enlightening.) Once those ads finished running however I needed to change the channel to something more intellectually satisfying - like Friends reruns.

I had such a headache by the time we dragged ourselves to bed but, despite my initial reluctance, I found it was fun helping out with that Hallowe'en stuff. My wife asked if I ever thought I'd be up all night sewing a werewolf costume. I could honestly say No. I would never have done it for myself, that's for sure. Throughout, I kept seeing images of my Mum the week before Hallowe'en sewing three new costumes every year and snarling at us kids through a mouthful of pins if we weren't properly grateful. I thought she was crazy for doing it. And here was I doing the same. My Dad's job was to take us out trick or treating and remove us from my Mum's reach as she was properly sick of us by the time we went out the door. In turn, I also was happy to see my kids go out this year with my wife into the rain.

I enjoy handing out the candy and asking the little kids about their costumes and giving the older kids a hard time about their half-assed "hobo" or other non-costume choices. My rule - you could be 99 but if you have a costume you get candy. No costume? You have to perform a trick - a song, a riddle, a handstand, something or you get zip. Occasionally the house has been egged upon candy denial but that's the contract - you dress up to get candy or you get nothing. The trick is your other option. This year the rain kept the lame-o teens home so I could just enjoy seeing what the best costumes were this year.

Unfortunately I didn't see any angels in push-up bras - but there's always next year... after all it's every angel's dream... and now mine.

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