Wednesday, October 31, 2012


On Monday night the girls and I played around a bit. I turned on some "spooky" music while we were doing our chores—The Monster Mash and things like that (gotta love Spotify)—but while Rachel was helping me with dinner a ghost story track came on. She listened for a while as she stirred but soon she drifted over to the speakers where she sat, listening intently to the story unfold.

It wasn't a very scary story, just a ten-minute version of The Ghost with a Black Eye (if you're dying to listen to it I'm sure you can find it on Spotify, too, if you search for Halloween + kids), but she was scared stiff. I sat down beside her and finished listening to it with her to make sure she got through it alright. When it was over she said, "I don't get it."

So I walked her through the punch line and she burst out laughing.

Later that night we played "I'm an old woman with a broom and a staff," which the girls caught onto surprisingly quick and enjoyed every minute of it. Our costume consisted of a Micky Mouse Sorcerer's Apprentice hat, a pink shawl, and a broom. The words varied significantly from round to round.

Rachel thought it was silly to say both broom and staff since we only had a broom, so she'd say that she had a broom for a staff. She's very particular about language lately.

Miriam has no idea what a staff is. This is what she said (as transcribed from a video that I have but am not going to post because Miriam is far away from the camera and is speaking quietly and Benjamin is very close to the camera and is squawking wildly; I pity anyone's ears who tries to listen to this video in the future because they're going to turn up their speakers to hear what Miriam's saying and then...BLAMO...Benjamin will scream):

I'm an old woman with a broom in my hand...
*long pause with an eye roll to the left*
...'n stuff.

She said it so dramatically, even the 'n stuff part she tacked on at the end. It was adorable.

Here's Benjamin and me taking our turn. He was thrilled about it. 

And here are some other shots of the girls' turns:

They were getting quite comical with their schemes to make each other laugh (they really didn't care about making me laugh because I was actually trying to play the game (which means that I wasn't trying to laugh); the girls were giggling the whole time because they just wanted to take turns dressing up and acting goofy (and because they find virtually everything hilarious all the time).

On Tuesday night I threw away all of Rachel's trunk-or-treat candy because I asked her to help clean up the living room and then she screamed for an hour and a half prior to me throwing out her candy (she screamed longer after that but I was past the point of caring by then). Technically I didn't throw it out, I just put it back in the pot to give out to trick-or-treaters the next day (which Daddy was glad of because we didn't buy any chocolate candy and so he wanted to steal the ones that Rachel lost). 

It was kind of an ugly evening.

But Rachel apologized and cleaned up her room and helped set the table and was sweet and kind all during dinner and then cleared the dinner table and got into her pyjamas and did everything she was told to.... So we finished up the evening by decorating our pumpkins. The girls really wanted to carve them because our neighbours have been carving their pumpkins but there was no way I was going to try to carve them without Andrew around. Instead I handed the girls permanent markers and let them go to town. 

Rachel covered hers with ghosts yelling BOO!

Miriam covered hers with princesses.

She's such a girly-girl. When I told her to put on her pyjamas she went into her room for ten minutes and emerged dressed like this:

This morning Miriam and I spent some time doing some Halloween activities from and 1+1+1=1. She decorated a haunted house: "It's spooky!" she informed me. "I drawed black on it!"

Here she is putting together a strip puzzle—I was surprised by how she put 1 and 2 together at the top and then instead of finding 3 she put numbers 9 and 10 together at the bottom (but left room for the other numbers to fit):

Benjamin was on the floor beside me, smiling, so I thought I'd lean over and take a picture of him and his cute smile, but he did this:

I took six pictures of him doing this (while trying to catch his silly smile) before I finally started recording it as a video (which I'll post if anyone asks for it; I just don't feel like uploading it right now because...effort). Every time I leaned over him he'd open his mouth as wide as he could. I don't know what he was doing. Maybe he was trying to tell me he was hungry?  

This afternoon I left Andrew at home with Miriam and Benjamin while I ran to Rachel's school to help with her class party. Her school only permits lame parties—a little snack just before being dismissed for the day. Other schools in the area had costume parades and made crafts and played games. Only 52% of her school performs at grade level, though, so apparently they're not allowed to take out as much time for fun (though if you ask me, what some of those kids probably need is a little more fun and a little less time sitting behind a desk). 


It was fun to get to go into Rachel's classroom, and I got to meet another mom, which was nice. Rachel was excited to be a "car rider" instead of having to take the bus. I was simply proud of myself for driving to her school (and parking!) all by myself. As luck would have, just as I was going around a bend in the maze-like parking lot I saw that a stall was open right in front of me so I didn't have to turn into a stall at a crazy angle and then reverse to fix my parking job and instead drove straight into it. A tender mercy, for sure. 

When we got home from school we finally got around to carving the pumpkin. I got the top off, Andrew and Rachel scooped out the insides while I fed Benjamin. 

Then Rachel helped transfer the pattern onto the pumpkin and then I began cutting it out while Miriam wandered around the yard picking flowers, Andrew did homework, and Benjamin sat in his chair looking like his life was over.

Rachel transfers the pattern; she picked it out online
Miriam says, "No way! Pumpkins are gross!"
Benjamin says, "My life sucks. I'm not even going to bat these toys."
When Benjamin started screaming (it was inevitable given the look on his face the whole time he was in his chair) I tried carving while balancing him between my legs but that obviously didn't work out so well so I ended up finishing the pumpkin while Andrew held Benjamin and tried to do his homework.

Fortunately for everyone I'd thrown dinner in the crock pot at lunch and so it was nice and warm and waiting for us by the time we were finished with the pumpkin, feeling too frazzled to make dinner.

Halloween always feels a little bit rushed on school days. I realize this is our first Halloween with a school-aged child, but I remember it feeling rushed when I was in school, too. Come home, eat dinner, get dressed, head out! It's just busy!

We ate dinner as fast as we could and then got the girls into their costumes. We'd forgotten to have Rachel bathe the night before so that I could braid her hair so it was straight, which she thought was a tragedy. I quickly kinked it with the curling iron and she was satisfied with the results. Then I drew some whiskers on my little mousie and we were ready to head out the door on our way to a celebration at one of the city parks—they were offering trick-or-treating, hay rides, story telling, and face painting (among other activities).

I grabbed flashlights and extra sweaters and a blanket for Benjamin; some string, scissors, and LED lights to make glowing necklaces for the girls; the camera, my purse, and the baby carrier; an extra burp cloth, some wet wipes, and gloves; I put an extra diaper in the diaper bag and then rushed out to the car.  We were halfway to the park by the time I realized that I hadn't grabbed the diaper bag. 

"Just don't poop," Andrew told Benjamin. 

He didn't. *phew*

We didn't stay long at the park—we went trick-or-treating at the old house at the park. They gave out apples, which was a nice change from candy, and I'm sure they're perfectly safe since it was sponsored by the city.

You can see we're a bit more bundled up than we were the last time we got in our costumes. It was supposed to be a chilly Halloween. Rachel wore a long-sleeved shirt under her blouse and a sweater over top, she wore tights instead of knee-highs, and she added gloves. 

Benjamin abandoned his Arab costume altogether in favour of fuzzy, full-body duck suit. He was the Very Cute Duckling (not to be confused with the Very Ugly Duckling). 

Miriam put pants on over her tights, a long-sleeved shirt on under her leotard, a sweater overtop and Rachel's extra sweater over that (because she didn't want to wear the one I brought for her).

It was chilly...ish...but still rather nice. I was fine in my sweater—I didn't even shiver—and though my fingers and nose felt a little cool I wouldn't say that I was ever cold. The locals, however, were jumping up and down and stomping their feet to keep warm. They were rubbing their hands together and breathing into their fists.

"It's freezing today!" they'd remark. "Are you frozen yet? I'm completely frozen!"

For the record, it was above the freezing point (like a lot).

The park was beautiful—they had paper-bag lanterns lining the paths since there are no electrical lights in the park. There were actual candles in the bags—with fire and everything!

It was fun to be out in the woods during Halloween. It was spooky—very Ichabod Crane.

We retold the story of Ichabod Crane to our girls while we enjoyed a hayride through the park. We didn't see much except for trees (and a deer) but Rachel was sure spooked from our pathetic retelling of The Headless Huntsman so we decided to skip the "Scary Tales in the Dark" part of the evening.

(Rachel, upon entering the trailer, said, "Ugh! There's hay everywhere!" I'm not sure what she thought a "hay ride" was but she wasn't terribly impressed).

Miriam's at that clueless stage in life where she didn't even notice we were telling a scary story. We could have told her the Huntsman was right behind her and she still would have put this cheesy grin on her face for the picture.

Benjamin, also, was unimpressed with our story. And the hay ride. And Halloween in general.

We decided to leave after the hayride since it was dark (and our girls are both afraid of the dark and anything else remotely spooky, like storytelling and face-painting) and because the girls had collected 1 apple and 3 pieces of candy each. They were not satisfied with their loot and there was no more trick-or-treating to be done at the park.

Perhaps in future years we'll get to go hiking up the hill to where the scary stories were—it looked like it would be fun to follow the path of candles to the path of jack-o-lanterns leading deep into the woods, but there is no way we'd be able to drag these girls up there this year, so home it was!

I took the girls out trick-or-treating while Andrew stayed home to greet the trick-or-treaters (and to do homework). We tried to get a nice picture of us before we left to go trick-or-treating but instead we ended up with just a regular picture of us. Miriam wouldn't stop playing with the flashlight. Rachel was scared to sit on the bottom step because she'd have to sit by the "creepy pumpkin," the one with the face that she picked out. Benjamin is looking like he's wondering why he was stuffed into a duck suit. And I look like I haven't slept in years (and that's true).

But, it's pictures like these that make memories, right?

We had heard that trick-or-treating in our neighbourhood was awesome and that we should have a huge stash of candy to give out. It turns out that the bulk of the trick-or-treating happens deeper in our neighbourhood than the girls and I ventured (we did about 10 houses total) so we didn't see many trick-or-treaters. We went to enough houses to get a nice variety of candy—and for the kids to be praised over and over again for how cute they were.

Apparently we usually get more trick-or-treaters in our area (we only got a handful) but it was just "so cold" that not many kids were out.

I'm going to love this winter, I can tell. Yesterday it was still above freezing and recess was cancelled at Rachel's school because it was too cold to play outside. And today when the kids were lining up to be dismissed from school Rachel's teacher was patrolling the line, telling kids to get in their coats. "Nobody's leaving my classroom without a coat!" she chirped, "It's freezing out there!"

Except that it's not freezing. It's still just sweater weather. And it's lovely.

Though we'll be dealing with candy for a little while (there are nerds scattered all over my floor!) we won't be dealing with it as much as if we'd spent all our time trick-or-treating instead of going on a hay ride (so worth it for that reason alone). 

I think we'll be going to a party of sorts for the majority of our trick-or-treat time next year, too. 

And that wraps up our Halloween, now on with the rest of the holiday season!


  1. Dad and I went out to dinner and a movie (Brave). Best Halloween ever! I didn't even buy any candy!

  2. I always like hearing about Rachel's hour plus long fits. I think you are an a+ mom so of Rachel still throws them then maybe my kids are just normal instead of horrible :)

  3. Ha! When I went to elementary school in Norway, it had to be -15 C for us to be allowed to stay inside :)

  4. Oh, I know, Tamsin! I laughed out loud when she told me this because I grew up in Canada. Hahaha! To stay inside because it's "too cold" when it hasn't even reached freezing?! Folks say humidity makes things worse but I can guarantee that not freezing while humid is still warmer than -20 C without humidity! :)

    I have to say, though, that if this was "freezing," I have come to the right place!

  5. Years ago, we'd visit our grandparents in northern Florida. Some cousins from Miami were visiting and cold when we - from NC - thought it felt just fine. So I see why this was noteworthy to you. :)

    Great Halloween post!