Thursday, November 1, 2012


People, we are so bad at Halloween.

It's kind of a long story, but suffice it to say that I didn't do Halloween as a kid, Cory didn't do Halloween as a kid and now we're basically just slacker Halloween idiots.

We kicked it around this year and decided that things have changed, namely our hearts, and staying inside with the porch light off didn't seem like the right move.

However, I'm just not a costumey kind of mom. And I'm not about to spend real paper money on a store-bought job.

We decided to hop right up on the fence and mostly skirt the issue by just passing out candy. No trick-or-treating. The kids have never gone before. They wouldn't care.

But then the tricksters started showing up at the door and it seemed so festive and I was sauteing a relish of celery, onion, artichoke hearts and olives with a glug of white wine vinegar and without warning, I wanted all of my people out of my space. For just a little while.

Cory was game. (He's always so dang game.)
So I barked, "Go find a costume!"
"But Mommy, we don't have any costumes..."
"Be creative! Find a costume!"

They came up with exactly this.

Ruby is wearing a fairy costume circa when she was roughly half her current height and girth. Calvin grabbed Papaw's "worker guy" shirt. Silas is Spiderman, because it's just what he does. He's all Spiderman, all the time. True, he has no clue who Spiderman is, but somewhere along the line we inherited a costume and he thinks it's really soft.

My sole contribution to the festivity was the subconscious decision earlier in the day to don my orange old-lady beads.

It's terrible. So terrible.

See our three rotted, painted pumpkins? The sum total of our fall decor.

It's "bless her heart" bad. You know it is.

Calvin got a last-second case of the nerves and opted to stay home and pass out candy while I stirred the skillet. His friend Jose showed up decked out in full-on Ninja, complete with nunchucks - Calvin's dream costume. Homeboy stood there with his bowl of bad candy in his worker guy shirt we didn't even bother to button straight.

Jose: Hey, Calvin! Uh... are you a doctor?
Calvin: (dead air) Yep. I am.

Bless his heart.

About the claws candy. I got kinda funky about child slavery chocolate. I wish I could say that I'm well versed on the issue and could quote you all the stats, but all I know is, it's not good. It's not justice. So when it came time to buy my first-ever Halloween candy at Kroger, I wasn't sure what to do. I had no plan, just the lingering reverb of this post in my ear.

I grabbed the first un-chocolate candies I could find and, okay, some Junior Mints. I can't explain that logic. And I'm vaguely aware that some of the bad chocolate companies probably manufacture Nerds and/or Gummy Lifesavers. My thinking was faulty here. I have no excuse. I'm just really bad at everything Halloween-related. It's my Achilles' heel, I suppose.

Back home, I threw in all of the other randomly accumulating Halloween candy while Cory almost died of embarrassment over "the worst Halloween candy ever".

(How would he even know???)

In the end, fun was had by all, though trick-or-treating might be more fun/productive in a neighborhood where half the houses aren't abandoned.

PS - I totally botched dinner. But you probably could have guessed.


  1. wowzas. you put it together like it was your j.o.b. nice work, sister.

  2. Haha! Calvin and his shirt made me laugh out loud. I love this. I have a feeling that I will be that mom too. We never did Halloween either, well actually, excuse me, we did Fall Festivals at our church. So I got to be Mary and one year a bunny I think?

    This is real life. It's why we love ya.

  3. AHAHAHAHAHA. LOL. AHAHAHAHA I read this post allowed and we are all in fits of giggles. So so great. We are opposites in coffee and Halloween. It's my birthday, so this holiday has been mastered. You'll have to check out my blog (give it a day) to see our costumes. Labeled by their age: #14 a masquerade ball attendee, #11 a 1920s newspaper boy, #10 the Stanford tree sporting the quote "fear the tree" in bold lettering (yah. You heard me.) #7 thing 1, and #6 thing 2. All were homemade except the first girl. Dinner is ALWAYS chili with many fixins. Usually we do grilled cheese, but this year I made cows in a blanket. Excellent.
    Give yourself time. You will get this down. My mom was of the belief that Christians shouldn't lock themselves in their houses and pretend people aren't celebrating something. She said we ought to take this holiday back. From where I have no idea, but I know my family and about 75 friends feel blessed every 31st of October for the past gazillion years. :)

  4. Ahhh, I love this. Freaking love this. Always keeping it real, you Shannan you. Nice work. For reals.

  5. bless your heart. ;) nate wasn't allowed to do halloween either as a kid. he was unawares that halloween is a big freaking deal. i educated him. :) and duuude... guess who's mom sends her grandkids halloween cards every year now? one had a cartoon witch. and bats. and i think there was even a skull. apparently as you get older many things you thought mattered just up and don't. who would have thunk it. ;) xxoo

  6. Ours was so awful. Well from about 5:30 on.... We never did Halloween either. But this number four child, and her teaching us about grace. Husband had a college class, 18 year old was sick in bed. It was just little Gracie girl and I. Put Down syndrome and newly diagnosed epilepsy and meds and mix it all together. The church's activities were packed and we only stayed one hour. Came home and didn't eat supper till 9. I will have a better plan for next year I hope. It's all grace my friend.

  7. As much as I LOVED the 31 Days series, I so missed these side-splitting stories. This had me laughing right out loud!
    I love Halloween. Not the scary, gory stuff but the fun costumey stuff. I love dressing up my tribe in a theme every year. This year may have been my favorite yet - Alice in Wonderland. Turned out wonderfully, if I do say so myself...and I do.

    P.S. Our candy situation was the same for the same reason. I need to get that part figured out before next year.

  8. I see Junior Mint and I cannot help but to think of the Seinfeld episode

    It's chocolate it's peppermint -- it's delicious!

  9. You are so funny! I LOVE Junior mints, so if I would've treated at your house, that's what I would've picked! We spent the night at our church carnival manning the game booths/painting faces. LOTS of kids!

  10. Halloween is our all-time favorite holiday for fun and laughs. It's a purely fun holiday full of creativity and good eats! We have a Halloween party every year - this year we had 107 kids attend. It's the talk of the town. Welcome to Halloween, dear family. You're in for a ton of fun! Thanks for the great post. You are gorgeous, by the way! Love the beads! No matter what you are up to, you always have fantastic style. You are a gem, Lady!

  11. Oh girl, I feel you. We figured our youngest (not even two) didn't understand what was going on with Halloween so we had no plan. As soon as trick-or-treaters showed up, she had her bucket at the door yelling "candy!!" (which, she doesn't even know what it is, by the way ha!). So we put on a pumpkin shirt and went to two houses. We have the same abandoned house problem as you so, it was either be quick or be gone hours trying to find someone home! Good Halloween memories ;)

  12. We do something different every single year because we just don't know what to do. I did Halloween at the fire department as a kid. They don't do that here in Mennonite land.8766

    And that 8766 is from Keeks. Enjoy.


  13. I had NO idea about the chocolate.
    I'm so glad you linked to your past post.

    That has rocked my little world...
    And, I haven't even had coffee yet.
    ~ Dana

  14. I laughed all the way through this post! Not at you, mind you, but with you...because I can relate : ) We don't exactly "do" halloween around here either and I'm so sure I would have been bumbling around much the same had we been home and decided to "do" it this year. Thanks for sharing about your bumblings : )

    By the way, I'm lovin' what I'm reading over here at Flower Patch Farmgirl.

    Sweet Blessings,

  15. oh honey. i feel like i need to come stage an intervention. you are too funny. and that is pretty much how we roll in the costume department. it's either use what you have or we take one trip to the thrift store. some years there is more angst than others.

  16. This post totally made me smile.

    I adore your children and their enthusiasm for life. They are adorable and put together pretty good costumes, spur of the moment.

    We "do" Halloween. Just because it is fun. That's it. Some think we are wrong, and I pretty much single-highhandedly caused about 4 facebook sermons on the evils of Halloween. I read each of them. Yes, I did.

    We just enjoy our night and our neighborhood and the kids having a blast. And, yes, my husband and I, we dress up too.

    We deal with tons of abandoned houses and people who don't give out candy, probably because they have no money to spend on candy, so it involves a lot of walking all over our town in order to feel like you can go home with a "bounty". I think that's part of the fun and I totally psych myself into believing I am burning off all the candy I am eating.

    And, when adults dress up, people feel inclined to give them candy too. It's a win-win. ;-)


  17. Welcome to the dark side!!!!

    We love halloween. We go around, harassing the neighbors, who actually talk to us for this one blessed day of the year. Probably because we are demanding candy from them. I think it's such a great ministry opportunity. Redeeming Halloween is my specialty.
    AND NOW you have me very stressed about child slavery chocolate. WHAT THE. Now I'm off to read the link. Gah. In related news, gummy bears are awesome, so Cory is on crack.
    The end.

  18. Its all about the effort you can tell yourself. Turned out better than turned off lights? I think the fact that your kids rolled with it as seen in their outfits is pretty darn fantastic. Good job really.

  19. We didn't do Halloween either and it is huge, HUGE around here I tell ya. So skipping it was hard when I was a kid. I think we may have trick or treated once or twice, but we were never allowed to dress up as anything scary or that was considered to be demonic. Anyhoo . . . I have been struggling with how to handle it with my kids and honestly I was praising God when they both woke up sick and puking Wednesday morning, I was pretty sure it meant we could skip the whole thing. But when that first trick or treater rang the door bell, the begging to go commenced so we went, only made it to 5 or 6 houses before fatigue set in and they wanted to come back home.

    Yeah and my pumpkins rotted on the front porch too.

  20. Okay, you totally rocked Halloween compared to us. 1) we did not dress Leo up at all, unless you count mismatched Halloween socks. 2) we had NO decorations - not even a stinkin pumpkin. 3) we went to Goodwill and didn't even hand out candy. We're basically Halloween scrooges. I consider your Halloween a glowing success. Dressed children. Candy. Decorations. Rockstar.

  21. All the angst and indecision and faulty logic make this post something wonderful. I love it.

  22. I know a woman, who spread kindness and love on Halloween by setting up a stand of hot chocolate and apple cider for cold parents. That kindness, spurned every evil that was intended for that neighborhood, and her kindness was a legacy in that neighborhood long after she moved. Instead of hiding away shine a light in the darkness. It sure worked.

  23. Welcome to the Halloween club!

    Those costumes are fab.



  24. You had me at "bless your heart" bad... haha! My hubby got to celebrate halloween, but I didn't. I'll admit, when our son was a baby, I swore we'd lock ourselves inside. Thing is, I don't feel like we should be shutting ourselves out from the world, either. I mean, I never want to celebrate ghosts and goblins but Halloween {for most kids} is just a chance to dress up and score some major candy loot {I almost typed "booty" but I felt weird using the words "score" and "booty" in the same sentence...LOL}

    So, this year? Little man was Spider Man {only because we lost his Batman costume} and we hung out at a community trunk or treat. I realize this isn't exactly trick or treating, but this mama needs to take baby steps...

    1. Score some major booty. Haha! I'll be laughing about this for a while... :)

  25. Your Halloween candy was NOT the worst ever! Let CMB know this. As a kid I received the occasional apple and a few times...a toothbrush. Even as a child you're kind of like "Huh? WTF people?" yet maybe somewhere deep inside a bit appreciative that someone unknown seems to be looking out for the health of your gums.

    I was a bit surprised by this post ONLY because you're so creative that I kind of expected a handmade something-or-other.

    No matter. You still rock.

    It's OVA!



  26. too. Crappy costumes, candy crisis, scared kids, sugar crashes...I am not a fan. I bought 100 organic lollypops because that is all my sleep addled mind could come up with, and we had 1 trick or treater. 1. Sigh. I hate lollies! And I didn't even paint the pumpkin--even though they begged and I promised.

  27. Ha! Love it, bless your heart. Y'all look fab. I'd never guess you were first-timers. I never celebrated I'm still not at all comfortable with all things Halloween. We go to a community trunk-or-treat at our church where I'll let them dress up, but they can only say treat-or-treat. So I think we're good. My favorite treat is the little Gideon bibles they pass out. Adorable. I've developed a "take it over" mentality, too. Have you read The Pumpkin Gospel? It helped me cross over. Ha!

    ps, your gummy bears totally compete. totally.

    1. Upon re-reading this comment, I feel I must tell you that The Pumpkin Gospel is not a hip new theology book, but a children's book. :) How we're all like little pumpkins that God cleans up and puts a light within. Too sweet. We first got it in poem form, printed out on a little paper pumpkin tag and tied to a roll of smarties. I thought it was a cute way to participate in the festivities and still spread some Gospel cheer.

  28. Laughing here all by myself...hysterical! Seriously, what an opportunity to love the kids in the neighborhoods. When we love the kids we're lovin the parents too! I've had way too many conversations with way too uptight believers who lock their doors, turn off the lights, and think they are making some statement. They are! That they are no fun, and not a fan of children!
    Or the handing out of tracts...seriously? Now that's the way to get some egg on the door. : )

    Jesus would be hanging with them all. And those old lady orange beads? They are not old lady anymore!

  29. I totally stunk at Halloween this year too. I'm really torn about it. I did it as a kid but now it kind of gives me the creeps. We were traveling over Halloween so I did what I always said I'd never do...I took my child trick or treating at total strangers homes. It was weird. I still ate the candy...I felt like it was the motherly thing to know, eat all the chocolate in case they were poisoned. :)

  30. we do halloween....we've always lived in neighborhoods where everyone participated, and it's always too much fun to not let our kids join in. I usually do a big pot of white chicken chili, and then we walk the streets with our neighbors and watch our kids collect as much candy as humanly possible.

    the best part is coming home and watching them poor it all out and begin the sorting and bargaining process.

    it's a celebration of fall goodness to us....I'm glad y'all had some fun with it...especially being in your new neighborhood.

    digging the orange old lady beads that don't look old ladyish at all, btw.

  31. haha I love that I did the exact same thing and bought sour patch kids simply because they werent chocolate . . . . (also, i love them)

  32. The reference to the claws made me laugh out loud... so much so that my husband walked by the computer and said, "what are you laughing at?"
    Thanks again for always making me chuckle! (:

  33. Here is a word of advice: When your Ruby grows up and wants to have another one of her famous halloween parties with 20 of her besties and promises to do ALL the work this time, go ahead and say yes to the party, but be prepared to spend weeks searching every second hand store in the county for the perfect costume and plan on spending your WHOLE ENTIRE halloween day making eyeball cookies and candy bones and broomstick breadsticks while she decorates the house with spiderwebs and streamers and balloons that will remain hanging for at least the next 7 days. You might get frustrated with the time and money invested into a shady holiday that you yourself never got to enjoy as a kid, but when you see her light up with her giddy giggling girlfriends, you'll decide it's worth every penny for the memories she's made.

    Love that wire crate in your entry way. So Cute! :)

  34. You're so funny. Also, we're kinda like halloween twins! My husband and I both grew up in families that didn't celebrate Halloween. (I HATED it when my kid-friends asked why we didn't "believe" in Halloween. ARGH! It's not that we didn't think it EXISTS, we just didn't celebrate it. Big distinction, people.)
    Anyway, this is our first year in a "real" house in a real neighborhood, and my daughter is almost 3, so...we were rookies too. Our pumpkin got eaten by squirrels. sigh.

  35. Delightful post! Although I don't "celebrate" halloween, I LOVE answering the door. The wee ones get me down on my knees just to see their precious faces. And, with the parents, it's sometimes the only way to meet them in a natural way. My grown children are theatrical in their costumes and they each love the Lord with all of their heart and turn around to love on kids. Kids coming to their doors never know if Snow White or Gandolf or Jack Sparrow or ??? is going to answer the door. We often learn to love through what our children teach us and I am looking forward to another 31st.