Happy Halloween from our little Viking Warrior*!
There will be much devouring of sweet things and much crashing in a sugar-induced coma afterwards.
Life will be as it should be. :)
So, I'm doing my Halloween post a little early this year mostly because I couldn't wait to share Roman's costume but also because, let's face it, nobody cares about Halloween the day after :)
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Halloween is one of my favorite holidays and also one that I have not been able to celebrate properly for years due to our non-American residence. Let me tell you, Trick-or-Treating in the balmy Abu Dhabi weather had its perks but it definitely had its shortcomings - for one, Halloween was postponed until the first weekend in November last year due to the death of a Sheikh. Not my cup of Arabic coffee.
But it's not just the candy and dressing up that I love. I love the whole run-up to Halloween with the candy-stashing, the decorating, the pumpkin carving (and of course pumpkin seed roasting!) and generally obsessing over autumnal and spooky things, something in short supply in the Middle East. Here in New England, though, it really looks and feels spooky at this time of year with crunchy leaves, howling winds, and rustling woods everywhere you look, so it makes Roman's real "conscious" experience of the holiday all the more special.
I have to admit, though, that these days I'm not so involved in what used to be my very favorite part of Halloween: dressing up. At least, not for myself. I had so much fun choosing Roman's costume this year and I loved being able to make it myself too now that I have a sewing machine. Growing up my mom always made our costumes and though I have to admit that sometimes I wished we could go to the store and buy the nice pre-made ones, looking back I see that our costumes were always that much cooler because they were unique. I get it now and fully intend to inflict the same reality on my children. I mean, I've had some pretty crazy costumes in my day (A Geisha, Uncle Fester and The London Eye(ball), for example) and I am proud to say that none of them were slinky, sexy or flaunty, and that, in fact, the weird ones weren't imposed on me by an over-imaginative mother - they were entirely my choice and sometimes to my own detriment (yes, someone called me a Condom when I dressed up as Uncle Fester and yes that did scar me).
|Understanding "costumes" and Halloween has been a real epiphany. :)|
For the first time this year Roman really gets Halloween. He is as much if not more of a devotee as me. Every store we go into the request is loud and clear: "Can we go see the Halloween stuff?" And then he makes me try on 20 different masks, push the buttons on all the dancing vampires / ghosts / witches and points out all the different kinds and colors of trick-or-treating pumpkins. The clerks LOVE me. It's actually really cute but after about the 30th time I started lying and saying that the masks were sleeping because too many people tried them on and they were tired. So sue me. The kid is obsessed! Besides, I don't want him having some freaky preoccupation with the morbid. On the other hand, I think it has been a serious epiphany for Roman to understand what it means to "dress up" or pretend to be something else. I think next year will be really cool because I have a feeling he'll have a very definite opinion on what he wants to dress up as, whereas this year the Viking was allowed because he just didn't get it yet.
But sentimental discoveries aside, let's get to the point of Halloween: everyone likes Halloween because of the candy. No matter how many silly commercials or kids' shows try to tout the idea of "healthy" Halloween snacks, it's just utter BS. Nobody eats apples on Halloween. Nobody wants nuts in their bag. And nobody actually eats the "home-baked oatmeal pumpkin cookies." I mean, come on, that's just bad!
So not all Halloween candy is created equal. We know this.
And actually just recently Matt and I had a serious discussion regarding a traditional Halloween candy that we find utterly puzzling: Candy Corn. He doesn't like candy corn. I HATE candy corn. Even Roman won't eat it! In fact, between the two of us, we couldn't think of a single person who actually does like it. We have started to wonder if it's just one of those old-timey things that people gave out and ate on Halloewen because they didn't have Snickers bars around back then. Interestingly, the Nick Jr. Moose seems to agree.
Candy Corn nightmares aside, over the many years of relentlessly stalking down every single light-on-pumpkin-out-ghoulish-creature-in-the-corner-house in the neighborhood, I've become a connoisseur of Halloween candy - the good, the bad and the downright ugly. What makes you smile, what makes you cry, and what makes it worth shoving the little fairy next to you to the ground ninja-style to get into that plastic cauldron first? Here they are in Top 5 form.
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Brenda's Top 5 Halloween Treats
Because I have no qualms about taking down the little fairy princess if I have to.
5. The Holy Trinity of Halloween Mini-Candy Bars: Snickers, Three Musketeers, and Almond Joy (Milky Way?)
You know you're in a home of generosity when you see these pricey little guys in the treat bowl. Unless a 1 or 2 piece minimum has been established by your patron, dig in brotha' because chances are the guy next door will have something nasty like Dots or unmarked orange and black taffy things on his plate. Milky Way is kind of an honorable mention. I prefer Almond Joy but I know that's probably not the norm.
4. BlowPops or Tootsie Pops
I mean the full-size ones and I would take BlowPops over Tootsie any day but would settle for either over DumDums. Admittedly, I love DumDums (especially the thrill of the mystery DumDum) but you just cannot pass up that sugary bubble gum interior (or the chance to mimick the ridiculous owl who asks how many licks it takes to get to the center :)).
3. SweeTARTS or Smarties
I am a sour-candy fiend. I could eat sour stuff all day long but on Halloween my choices are limited in that department. Almost nobody gives out Warheads or Nerds these days (though those are high on the longer list of awesome Halloween candy), so the next best thing, and all nostalgically-packaged-to-boot are SweeTARTS and Smarties. I LOVE the crinkly wrapping. I love that you get to eat them one little coinlet at a time in both cases. I love that they are sweet but sour. Ah, I just love them.
2. Hershey's Miniatures
Back in the day I was quick with the eye and the hand in getting the Mr. Goodbar before all the other kids in my trick-or-treating group. It was a fight for survival. The Goodbar, the Krackel, or the Dark Chocolate. Always good, and kept well in the closet stash for the next few months leading up to Christmas. Besides, am I alone in believing these are literally the perfect size piece of chocolate? Not too much that you feel like a pig. Small enough to justify more than one. Halloween candy in Platonic form, really.
1. Reese's Peanut Butter Cups - The Big Ones.
Nothing sets the Halloweener's heart a-racing like the sight of that bright Orange wrapper. We all know what it is - the big single-serving Reese's Peanut Butter Cup. A veritable Holy Grail of candy - something so utterly decadent and wonderful (unless you have peanut allergies) that you almost want to eat it before you get home so you don't have to split the difference with your kid sister (sorry Caaa). Sure, we all like the little ones wrapped in their golden foil, usually half-smushed by the time you get home, but you really feel like you did your parents proud when you get The Big One. The combo of peanuts and chocolate is the perfect, sticky, messy Halloween indulgence and my favorite treat of all. :)
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Happy Trick-or-Treating and Many a Reese's Peanut Butter Cup to You All!
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* For Roman's costume this year I used a grey jogging suit from Wal-Mart as a basis and then sewed the brown vest and boot covers you see from furiously fuzzy remainders I found at Joann's. I used his rain boots as a pattern for making the boots which have no bottom and a long felt section at the top which folds into the top of the boot, keeping it in place. Roman has been wearing the boots around the house and in public for well over a month, so I think they are a hit and am considering making other variations including green monster feet :)