We got really into Halloween this year. We put up decorations, we carved pumpkins (twice!), and the kids had their costumes picked out well in advance. At first, Westley wanted to be a ninja, and I did a little happy dance, because that's among the easiest costumes ever: black hoodie he already owns plus black Toms he already owns plus thrift-store black sweatpants and done! Then Westley decided he wanted to be something scary, and after some serious deliberation, he settled on being a werewolf. It was either that or the Grim Reaper, but I think the mask settled it.
As much as I love the idea of making costumes from scratch, I'm not actually that crafty (or energetic). I got to mom it up a little, prepping his mask (stuffing it with balled up pages of The Stranger and blow-drying to make it less bag-shaped and more face-shaped) and cutting up a 99-cent teddy bear so he could have little patches of fur coming through holes in his jeans. But Westley still got to experience walking the aisles of the costume store, oohing and ahhing over the masks and bottles of fake blood.
Ivy went as a flower fairy, because after trying several costumes on her—a kitty, a giraffe, a pumpkin—and having her veto them all, I settled on something I thought she might actually wear for longer than a minute: a thrifted tutu and wings with tiny elastic straps, both of which could be slipped over regular clothes.
(A headband with flowers was also purchased. When I tried to put it on her, she handed it back to me and said, "You can wear it.")
This was the first year Ivy got to go trick-or-treating with her own bucket. She got really into it. Going out at night was exciting. Walking up people's driveways was exciting. Seeing all the Halloween decorations was exciting. Wearing her costume was the best. She toddled happily up the street announcing, "I got mah tutu an' mah wings!" She carried her plastic pumpkin bucket even when it got heavy. We also heard a lot of "I ha' some candy!" The only thing Ivy absolutely would not do was say "trick or treat." On a few occasions, when an adult tried to encourage her—"What do you say?"—she answered, dead serious, "In my bucket."
There were a few meltdowns along the way—which is probably to be expected when combining small children, refined sugar, and lack of bedtime routine—but overall, I'd call it a successful holiday. We walked a short loop through our neighborhood, which took much longer than I thought it would. The kids ate a second dinner of protein, raw veggies, and olives to offset the two pieces of candy each, while Rob read the The Vanishing Pumpkin aloud. They were in bed about an hour and a half later than usual, and fell right asleep.
This was also the first year we made a real plan for all that Halloween candy, and it's been awesome. The kids got to eat a couple pieces the night of, and then choose a few more to keep, one piece for every year of age. The rest Rob and I "bought" from them for new games and DVDs. Now, instead of being asked for candy twelve times a day, I hear "Can I watch—?" and "Can I play—?" But I can live with that.
I donated the Halloween haul yesterday, and took down most of the decorations today. I also sent out Christmas party invitations. End-of-the-year ride, here we come!