I’m about to launch into telling you about my thoughts of Halloween, but first, to those of you who have just stumbled in and know little about me, and why I write – I’m hoping this blog, these images, help you to think about what you love about your neighborhood. What memories do you want to collect? Can I help you collect them?
So, a mom-confessional time.
I have a love-hate relationship with Halloween. But my neighborhood is conspiring to pull me more towards the love side. Can I talk about what I hate first? Basically I’m a grumpy grinch who doesn’t feel like shelling out cash for my kids to have sparkly new Halloween outfits every year (in fact, I usually hit Target two days after Halloween, load up on 70% off Halloween clearance to give to the kids for their November birthdays and Christmas). I hate the mounds of candy and how it makes me anxious about obesity and wastefulness and what cavities. I hate having to basically designate an entire day to dealing with costume angst, begging, schlepping through a neighborhood, and sugar crashes.
But what is pulling me into the love side? When I step behind the lens and start looking and seeing the magic that we are creating. The memories. The year my 2nd kid made a Groot (Guardians of the Galaxy, people!) costume out of Amazon brown paper packaging. The year my oldest, in new teendom, won a costume contest by tying keys to his shoes and going as “low key.” The piling of candy into categories and massive candy swaps (with any trade having to be authorized and approved by an adult to keep the olders from scamming their younger sisters). The inventiveness, the cackling, the pride and sheer joy. Even the crashes seem so perfectly part of childhood when I stoop down to see things from their eyes.
There’s a block party two blocks from my house the weekend before Halloween. When I say block party, I’m not sure that does it justice. It’s a group of neighbors who have created a beautiful, magical evening – where hundreds of my neighbors gather, costumed, to dance, listen to music, to fest together. My children race around with their friends, weaving in the darkness through adults who are gathered to catch up, to make merry fun. My daughters walk home giggling at the delight of it all.
That’s just the beginning! There is a trunk-or-treat from the church across the street from us – we’ve popped in with a trunk of our own every year we’ve lived in this sweet town – because how could I live with myself if there was a trunk-or-treat literally in front of my driveway and I didn’t back up my van and contribute to the fun?
There’s the school rhythm – my younger kids come home at lunch, hyped up to change into their planned-for-months but then last minute changed costumes – a parade at school and the Monster Mash Dance – then a party and off to the streets. (Moana’s grumpy face while dad eats lunch is her being mad that we can’t leave RIGHT. NOW. to go back to school for the party!). (And yes, I have a son who was “board” for Halloween. Pun love. <3)
And then the trick-or-treating with friends. Moana hugs Princess Lea. Hans Solo dad having to consult duct tape issues on the Washing Machine. The awesome neighbor with the epic-ally decorated Halloween house who is handing out giant pixie stix, while dressed as a One Eyed, One Horned, Flying Purple People Eater. The plopping down in the middle of the sidewalk when a house with popcorn offers something to cut the sugar highs. And when you make dad pull the wagon it means you’re done.
So. That’s a window into my world, into #whyilovecollingswood. But how about you? Philadelphia and surrounding towns, I’m talking to you. What are the parts of your life that you love, the parts of it that are making magic for your children? I want to help you capture those!