Monday, November 01, 2004

Adieu, Halloween 2004

Well, except for the sugar buzz and the sick feeling I got after eating about a dozen or two mini, bite-size, fun-size, "The whole thing fits in your mouth in one pop so it doesn't really count unless you eat four of them-"size candy items, I've fully recovered from yesterday: Halloween football Sunday.

To make up for the heavy confection consumption, I had only coffee for breakfast (that's right, I had two Butterfingers and a Twix when I woke up--hey, they're fun size). Since my physical being isn't used to a sugar assault that early in the morning, and the coffee wasn't being absorbed by anything but sugar-coated sugar, I felt like a listing boat until about noon, when I downed some bat and pumpkin pretzels to settle my stomach. Then Mike gave me half of his chicken and mozzerella hero with hot peppers--that worked wonders for my system.

To make up for the big lunch, I had Shop-Rite sushi for dinner, with just-add-water miso soup. Since--shockingly--none of it was very good, I had a couple M&M mini packs and another Butterfinger to make up for my deprivation. Before anybody gets the urge to dial 911 on my behalf, might I remind you that these are FUN sized.

Halloween, needless to say, rocked. Of course, we had the usual fun before we left to trick-or-treat:

Ryan: "I want to get candy now!"
Me: "Nobody's handing out candy at 8:30 in the morning! Get back in the house!"
Cara: "When ARE we going trick-or-treating?"
Me: "When you finish your poster project that's due tomorrow."
Cara: "I don't want to go to school anymore."
Ryan: "Can I do a poster project?"
Me: "When you're in fourth grade you can."
Ryan: "Can I see her poster...."
Cara: "He's TOUCHING my poster!! Maaaaahhhhhm! STOP HIM! You little brat....!"

Oh, it was warm and fuzzy.

We also carved our pumpkins before we went out. This was Cara's first year carving the whole face out herself. She used the little carving saw that comes in a kit (I'm not THAT bad of a mom to give her a Henckel), and it turned out very well.

The kids put on their costumes--Ryan was Batman, Cara was Franken SpongeBob, and we got the show on the road. We didn't light our pumpkins because it was still broad daylight.

We went around trick-or-treating with my friend Barbara and her daughter. The kids sprinted from house to house like bats out of hell, and then needed to return home to dump off about 20 pounds of candy before resuming their mission. This is when I noticed one of our pumpkins was missing its lid, and there were little chewed up bits of pumpkin all over the steps. A rogue squirrel was boldly tearing up our Halloween decor!

Mike had been handing out the candy (believe it or not), and when I pointed out the squirrel vandalism, he looked up from the TV and said, "Hey, I'm dealing with candy, I'm watching the games--I can't do everything." A second later, he made a mad bolt for his basement retreat--as if we were back for the day. We'd been out for about an hour, it was 4 o'clock-ish, so, of course, I needed a caffeine infusion. We gulped down some coffee before heading out again. When I called Mike back up after 10 minutes to continue his candy duty, he appeared to go through the 12 stages of loss.

We hit up as many houses as we could on our way to my friend Annie's Halloween party. It took us another 45 minutes to get there. She lives about four blocks away. The problem with kids is, they get a little crazy on Halloween. They think EVERY house is worth a shot. Barbara and I were like, "GUYS! There are no decorations, no pumpkins on the porch, the lights are out and the shades are drawn. These are internationally known signals that scream, 'NO CANDY HERE!!' Stop wasting time and move on." But they're kids, and they have energy. They blithely ran up to the House of the 49 Steps. We were yelling from the sidewalk, "You're nuts. There's no car in the driveway. There are too many steps. Why are you bothering?" They came away with three treats apiece. They were like, "Jackpot. Losers."

We got to Annie's house, and the party was in full swing. Her logic on Halloween is, whoever is trick-or-treating can come in for food, drink, snacks. She and her husband John had the football games set up in the garage--chairs, tables, TV. The deck was bustling--the grill was going with steaks, which, inconceivably, weren't crisped, despite 50,000 people milling around, 100 different conversations distracting the chef--who's day job is that of a lawyer, not a short-order cook--a jillion kids underfoot looking to scare up a juice box or ice pop, and--and this is a biggie--the chef is Irish and he was right next to the bar area. (Mike's Note: Cath's Irish so she can say this.)

Annie approached us with her usual greeting, "Where've ya been? Whaddya want to drink?" This is how it goes at her house. Complete strangers leave her place weaving down the sidewalk, wondering who she is, where they've been and how the hell to get home.

After nearly two hours of wandering the streets of town, I was happy to kick back. But first Ryan needed an ice pop from inside--he doesn't care that the freezer isn't his own--he just goes for broke and starts yanking on the door; someone's child needed a costume change and for whatever reason, I fit the bill as helper; and a pine cone-throwing episode needed kiboshing. Finally, I got my wine, I went to sit at the deck table, saying, "Good, some real food, as opposed to candy," and someone said, "She's got a buffet going inside." Sure enough, for those of us who didn't kill our appetites on Halloween handouts, Annie and John had a spread going that could rival lunch at the Jets' training camp.

Of course my friend Sharon, who has lost about 30 pounds since June, putting her at a size 4 (if she asks me one more time if I think her arms look scrawny, I'm sluggin' her) only nibbled on some of her daughter's mac & cheese. "I'm quite full, actually," she says constantly, with her British accent. Which we all take to imitating once we've had enough to drink. Any strangers that wandered up Annie's driveway must have thought they stumbled into some weird Monty Python moment:

Sharon: "Do you think my ahms luk scruhlny?"
Us: "Dooo yew thank me ahms looook SCROWNY?! Do y' thank my yaaahrms looook scrouwny?" 
Strangers: "Holy cripes." They'd get their drinks and get the hell out.

The rest of us, we just poured ourselves another one, ripped open more candy to keep the kids humming and proceeded to shut the place down.

Well, I have to go now...I just noticed a half-eaten Baby Ruth that Cara left out. ...It's FUN SIZE, leave me alone.

--Catherine Schetting Salfino

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