Wednesday, October 17, 2007


Somehow it's already October 17 which makes me incredibly sad as my favorite month is almost half over. Why is it my favorite month? Besides being the gateway to autumn (ahem, this is your cue to stop climbing into the 80s, Memphis), it is, obviously, home to the most amazing holiday ever. Halloween, according to lore, is the one night of the year where lonely spirits can return to the earthly plane in search of a body to inhabit. Now, I'm sorry, but between families sitting down to eat turkey over a football game or venturing outside to win candy at the cost of your mortal soul? There's just no contest. October is the month of looking over your shoulder, of watching Bela Lugosi nuzzle the neck of a luststruck innocent, of haunted houses and carved pumpkins and way too many naughty nurses. It is the month of sloughing off the hardened shell of adulthood and believing - just for a minute - that there really is something waiting for you on the otherside of the door. (By the way, I am absolutely loving that it is storming outside as I write this.) So the question has come my way:

What's Harlow going to be for her first Halloween?

I'm not embarrassed to admit that one of the first things I did upon learning I was pregnant was calculate how old my sweet babe would be (7 months!) on her first Halloween. 2006 would be our trial run. With Harlow in utero, we had moved to a big, spooky house that was perfect for decorating and situated in a neighborhood that promised tons of kids in costume. I donned a big goldilocks wig and sparkly dress pulled over my new bump (I was Ms. BabyMama 2006), bought bags and bags of candy and got ready. Four hours later, the Sweazys were ruined on Halloween in Memphis. It started off ok, cute kids with polite parents and sassy kids with moms and glasses of chardonnay (I personally dig this version of trick or treating). And then came the kids with parents who BOTH demanded candy. The 19 year olds who looked in disgust at your Milk Duds. I'm sorry, but you are 19 and standing on my porch, dressed like a gang member with some dirt on your face - your costume, I presume. You are 19! You should be on a date! Not on my porch taking candy meant for children! Then there was my favorite of the night - the lady on her cell phone who shifted her Newports to her other hand so she could paw through her bag, look me in the eye and ask "Is that all?" When I said yes, she huffed and explained that it was for her 11 MONTH OLD. And who would I be to deny the tender infant his Snickers? Maybe I'm naive, but the majority of the parents were shockingly rude, not making eye contact and failing to say thanks let alone encouraging their children to interact. I mean, isn't the underlying idea of Halloween - sending your children to strangers' doors with a task to retrieve candy - supposed to foster confidence and independence? I guess in today's world, I as homeowner bear the brunt of suspicion. I'm the stranger at the door. But shouldn't that warrant me at least a thank you? When 11 o'clock came, we understood why most of our neighbors turned out their porch lights and failed to get into the spirit. We discussed carding kids at the door, putting a You May Not Be Taller Than This Sign to trick or treat. Being Those People Who Give Raisins. But truly it was all just depressing. Halloween weekend will find me in Indiana photographing a costumed wedding (the theme - 1807), and I think on the actual holiday we'll just turn off our porch light, turn on Turner Classics and snack on some discount drugstore candy.


natalie said...

Chain smoking moms trick-or-treating by proxy for their 11 month olds? Yikes! It's not quite that bad here, but I don't expect many people to actually witness our fantastic costume - a spider (our 2-month old) and a web (me). I'd better get going on it, or it won't be ready!

Chip said...

Yeah, Halloween blows the big one in our neighborhood. Our next door neighbor, for example, gives away bible pamphlets instead of candy. (Well, he IS a Baptist minister...) We've had some of the too-old lot too, but usually it's just nobody at all. Stupid, old, conservative East Memphis.

This year, we're gonna take the kids to Evergreen, where supposedly they live it up.

Stacey Greenberg said...

yes, evergreen is the place to be!

i'm looking forward to checking out the scene in our new neighborhood since it is packed with kids, but it will be hard not to do a couple of streets in evergreen.

Secret Agent Mom said...

Step off our full-sized candy bars, EHDA wannabes!