halloween in boulder is outrageous. when we stepped out to go trick or treating our first year in colorado, i thought we’d wandered onto a movie set. literally EVERY house in our neighborhood was decorated, and not just with a pumpkin or two but with strings of orange lights, giant spiders and webs stretched across the houses, skeletons and zombies and werewolves emerging from the lawns and ghosts and ghoulies hanging from the trees. and when you ring the bell, the homeowners answer in full costume. sometimes they jump out at you and sometimes they just smile and offer the kids candy and the parents a glass of wine or a beer. yes - if you accept all the libations presented, you will be quite tipsy by the end of your neighborhood rounds. there are even a few famous addresses that do full spook houses… i took lucy to the one on 10th street when she was a little too young and we were both traumatized … i nearly peed my pants when a gazillion enormous spiders dropped on us and she let out a wail that lasted for at least two blocks. we had to retire for the evening after that.
i don’t really like to be scared. for some reason, my parents took my brother and me to see the shining in the theater when i was ELEVEN and my brother was only EIGHT. i think my brother and mom spent most of the movie in the lobby, but i’m pretty sure i stuck it out in my seat with my dad… the image of the father creeping around that big, isolated house with an ax continues to haunt me and obviously, i never want anything to do with a maze. as if the movie wasn’t scary enough, while we were walking home my dad did his best jack nicholson repeatedly saying, “i’d never do that to you kids…” my brother and i slept with my mom for weeks after that and my father was banished to the guest room. (generally, my parents were pretty tip-top, but taking us to that movie was a lapse that i think my brother and i only truly appreciate now that our own kids are approximately the same ages… holy crap! ironically, i now live only forty minutes away from the stanley hotel, which was the inspiration for that film.) i didn’t go to see another scary movie until high school when i saw aliens on a date. again, i came home and slept with my mom. i was over thirty for the next one - blair witch, which had been described as “campy,” but i found flat-out terrifying. i was living with my boyfriend in new york at the time, so i didn’t have to fly home to sleep with my mother.
hank doesn’t really appreciate the scariness of halloween either. as we walk around our newly haunted neighborhood, he stops frequently to bark at the monsters and pull skeletons out of the ground to wrestle. or he sits frozen, staring down a spooky black cat (even though it isn’t real.) i have to give him quite the nudge to get him walking again, so we have been spending most of our exercise time at the undecorated park across the street. he DOES love rolling around in the fallen leaves. i think he likes the crunchy sounds they make as he squishes them first with his belly and then his back. i can understand this as i was always trying to find the loudest leaf i could when i stomped back and forth to school each fall. there is something so satisfying about the sharp, crisp crackle when you step on a perfectly dry leaf.
i do love fall… i love the cool, brisk air and the amazing sunsets and i like daytime halloween. i love seeing the kids dressed up for the parade at school… except for the creepy clowns, even on little kids i find that scary… but if i look away from the bloody masks, i really enjoy the parade. plus there is always at least one mom who wears hot pants… she is either a sexy cat or a sexy devil or a sexy nurse or a sexy something and she manages to incorporate bikini sized bottoms into her costume for a parade at an elementary school at two o’clock in the afternoon… amazing. this year it may be snowing so i am really curious about whether there will be any hot pants. i am not judging though, as i have been absolutely forbidden (by my children) from wearing costumes to school. when lucy was in kindergarten and had no front tooth, i blacked out mine and went as her. i think i nailed it and still believe it was my funniest costume ever, but for some reason my children found it mortifying and i am not supposed to wear so much as a decorative hat these days… happy, happy halloween!
to read more about my parenting foibles click here