As children we celebrated Halloween much like the rest of the neighborhood, dressing up, trick-or-treating through all kinds of inclement weather to get that pillowcase as full of candy as we possibly could.
Mom discouraged costumes that were scary or gory so we stuck to being clowns, hobos, farmers, animals and the like. I remember Mom and her friends also got into the spirit of the fun and got very creative with their homemade costumes. One year, she dressed as a golden statue. Another year Mom was Mother Goose, somehow figuring out how to use her legs as the goose’s legs while at the same time fashioning dummy legs that dangled from her sides so it looked like she was riding the goose. Simply amazing! I think she won a money prize that year.
Over the years we have tried to celebrate Halloween differently for a couple of reasons — for one, all that candy! So unhealthy. We made it a celebration of the harvest and had parties with good old-fashioned activities like bobbing for apples, carving pumpkins, hayrides, treasure hunts and crafts. One year, Joe’s mom let her kids decide if they wanted to go trick-or-treating; his parents never really liked the idea of teaching kids that they could get something for nothing. Her then 10-year-old son decided not to go, instead staying home to hand out candy as neighbors came by. Each time one of his classmates appeared at the door, he was met with, “I can’t believe you are not going!” He just gave them a big smile. I was kinda proud of him.
We like to get in on the fun, too! A couple of years ago we dressed as characters from Austin Powers — Joe was Dr. Evil and while our bald-headed baby at the time, Kady, was Mini-me. Val was Austin Powers, Vicki was Agent Shagwell and a very pregnant Alina dressed as Fat Bastard. Some friends of ours, a man with two wives, dressed as the Clintons and Monica Lewinsky! Our group won the prize for best costumes!
But trick-or-treating seems to win out each year. We still enforce the no scary or gory costumes rule. And it’s actually a lot easier on us than planning a harvest party! We still make sure, as with all holidays, that we center it around plenty of family time. We carve pumpkins, make hand-print turkeys, go to the school costume parade, drive through the canyon to enjoy the autumn leaves, and bake some pies — just not on Halloween night.
The biggest challenge is getting creative with costumes on a budget. When it is time to trick-or-treat we let our children go to a friend’s house. We don’t get many trick-or-treaters at our house. I suppose it is because we are not on a main street, and we are, after all, those polygamists. Maybe now with the book we can change that and just be the neighbors.