But what I want to be delivered from is a lot scarier than long-leggedy beasties! Eleven boxes of decorations!
Halloween was always a big holiday at our house. I wrote last year about my mom making our costumes, and my grandmother having a Halloween party long before that was popular. When we lived in California we went all out. I made the girls separate or matching costumes, we walked in the Claremont holiday parade, and we would have a Halloween party each year. I would decorate every surface, make bags and decorations for the kids, fix chili and corn bread and baked potatoes, and apple and pumpkin pies. The dads would take the littles trick-or-treating, and come back with bags of candy in time for dinner. After they ate (a little! Much candy sampling!) they would run around out in the back yard, and then it was time for the piñata. Yeah, cause what they really needed after that was more candy! Our school district made it easy on us by having an “in-service” day the next day, because if you wanted to see the real Walking Dead, it was those kids the morning after. Sweets hangover!
After we moved out here to the woods of Woodinville, we tried to replicate it for awhile, but NOBODY trick-or-treats in our neighborhood. Our houses are all on a couple of acres and the streets aren’t lighted, no sidewalks, so it’s lacking in trick-or-treaters appeal. The first year we were here we walked around to the neighbors – goodness, we got GOBS of candy that people had just in case, but really we didn’t bump into any other costumed kids and that wasn’t very fun at all. Tried the party too, but since the kids couldn’t even go trick or treating (I had to have it on a Saturday as here they do have school November 1st – poor teachers) it was 15-20 kids stuck inside and downstairs and that just wasn’t as much fun. Eventually we gave up the ghost (see what I did there?) and started heading over to friends’ houses so my daughter could trick-or-treat with friends and they could hang out and gorge on candy together. Tonight she’s going to her first Halloween party that doesn’t include her parents, so we are left at home. So, I still like Halloween, but it’s not the same big holiday anymore. I don’t know, maybe it feels so different too since the “baby” is in Driver’s Ed? Not really a small-kid household anymore.
Anyway, the upshot of all of that I still had boxes and boxes of decorations and no desire to spend the better part of a day to put them all up. True confession, I haven’t actually put them up the last two years, and I only did it the year before as we had an exchange student and I thought it would be fun. But, in my barn, there were 11 plastic bins and two plastic bags of décor. And a papier-mâché tree and witch. Um, that might be too much. And since I’m working on simplifying our life and cutting back, I decided that this was a good time to do a big cull.
It was surprisingly easy to make the decisions after all. I was a little worried as I tend to be sentimental and hang onto stuff, but it was easy to see that so much of it was aimed at very young kids and would not be decorations that I would be inclined to buy today. Some I put aside for each girl (things made by their grandparents – my girls are lucky to have had two very talented grandmothers) and just kept the very best ones to use. The rest went into boxes for Goodwill. I am trying to use more natural things like small pumpkins and flowers and pinecones and I can start putting those around in late September.
Things that made the cut:
I won’t know until in a few days, but I think I should be able to pack all of the Halloween away into two bins now – leaving maybe one for fall only, and one for Thanksgiving only. After I put everything out and called it a day, I asked Mr. WoW what he thought and if he were fine with my getting rid of the rest. He was thoughtful for a moment – “Well, I think it looks good but I’m a little sad that we don’t need all the old decorations because that means there are no more little kids in the house.” Which we have known for awhile, but it does strike you as sad sometimes, even if you love the adults your kids are turning into, or have even become. He’s right, but I’m still glad that I did it. You can’t hang on to what has already gone past, and I’m trying to make room for life as we live it right now.
Have you had to make adjustments to the way your celebrate your holidays as your family grows and changes? Are you excited to leave behind cumbersome traditions that don’t really make sense for your family anymore, or do you miss the hubbub? A little of both?
And on a side-Halloween note, Mr. WoW and I met at a party 35 years ago today. I never would have guessed that the bum with the charcoal beard and sweet smile would one day be my partner in this crazy trip of ours, but I’m awfully glad he is. I don’t have any photos from that night, but here’s one from when we hadn’t been dating very long. Cheers, Kirk, it’s been a lot of fun!!