Another Halloween Night has come and gone, but the candy wrappers remain. It was a fun, busy day and it reminded me that this season too will pass. Meaning, it is such a "holiday" for the little ones. Sure, you can get all dressed up when you're older and hit the bars. Sure, you will give out candy as an adult and oooh and ahhh over the little kids that come to the door dressed as the latest princesses or video game characters. But it's not the same. That excitement you see in your children's eyes and all the ramping up for this sugar-filled night of dress up? It's just not the same.
I appreciate these days.
Hectic as it was.
Pink's parade was at 9:00 am. The costumes were amazing at her school, which is grades 4 through 6. Simply amazing. Lots of homemade. Lots of creativity. Lots of quirk. Loved it.
After that, I raced a few towns over to pick up my 50 rolls from the bakery and rushed back home. There, I did my last minute cleaning and food prep. Though I stayed up until 1:00 am to do the lion's share the night before, there was still a bit to do in anticipation of the 40-plus people that would be congregating at our house for the "post trick or treat" party for our neighbors!
Then back to the elementary school to help in Rella's class with the little party, the changing into costumes, and the parade.
Since I was marching IN the parade with Rella's class, I wasn't able to see Tink in the actual parade. But, luckily, I caught her queuing up in the hallway and snapped my picture (to her mild embarrassment).
I've never had the chance to volunteer in the classroom on Halloween before. It's a very coveted spot reserved for the room moms and one extra volunteer. This was probably my first, last and only time and I was grateful to get the chance with my last little girl.
Upon arriving home it was the last minute pre-party frenzy while trying to keep four kids out of my hair. But luckily, it was a nice day so they could stay entertained outside.
Pink the Nerd.
Tink the 50s girl.
Rella the "Swiss Miss Girl"... who looks like she's been a bit wind blown.
And CB, the ticked off cat.
Her school has a Halloween party, but the kids don't dress up and parade anymore. At the ages of 19 through 21, it's just a bit juvenile I suppose.
But, I kept her in the spirit with the cat ears. She's thrilled, as you can tell.
Our whole street trick or treats together, along with a few of their friends who live around the corner. This year, Dr. Fabulous went out with the little ones while I stayed home with CB who doesn't
a) like to walk
b) like candy or
c) like crowds and chaos.
So, this is clearly not her holiday. Nor are any of the others.
Hence, the many photos of the other girls and only one of her.
I did sneak up the street with the group, because I'm the dork who thinks "I'm gonna miss these days" and just don't want to squander them.
The post-party was super fun, as it always is. I don't say that to take credit for it. It's the company, not my stellar entertainment skills. We all 'pot-luck' it and I supply the seasonal beers and local apple wine which gets warmed in a crock pot with mulling spices and just screams FALL!
I also doctor up some of the best homemade hot chocolate for the kids which is simply decadent.
We partied like rock stars... kids passed out on the couch while parents talked until after midnight. That's the beauty of a Friday night Halloween.
I didn't really take photos because I was too busy having fun and hostessing, but this one of the two 'besties since pre-K' cracks me up. If you fast forward a few years and substitute red solo cups and a sorority house background? Yeah... it's funny. And not.
The girls know the drill with the candy. They pick out a few days worth and then donate the rest to Operation Gratitude. We have donated our excess Halloween candy every year for the past six years to this organization.
Operation Gratitude is a non-profit organization that assembles and distributes care packages to our active soldiers overseas, veterans, wounded soldiers recovering in hospitals and their families/caregivers. This past year, Operation Gratitude delivered 150,000 care packages. Inside they will have items specific for the soldier's particular needs, like toiletries or magazines and books. They include a homemade card and often a bit of candy... like the candy donated from Halloween!
Three years ago, a local dentist office started a Candy Buy Back program for Operation Gratitude and we have happily donated our loot to them - I simply LOVE these guys! They make it a big party with a card making station for the soldiers, free hot dogs and lemonade and prizes. They are the warmest, friendliest practice! My girls look forward to the candy donation every year and never balk about giving up so much of their loot.
Two years ago, we donated about 28 pounds between us and a few friends. The next year we spread the word even more to our friends and neighbors and collected 66 pounds. This year? Thanks to the generosity of so many people and the help of our local coffee shop who set up a donation collection site for us, we were able to donate 81 pounds of candy to the troops! Whooopppppeeee! Can I get a fist bump?
All in all, it was another fun Halloween. I love my neighbors and friends. I love my kids friends. I love this time of year. I don't love all the candy, necessarily... but I love that we can do something good with it and make this random holiday a little charitable.
I'm feeling the love, if you can't tell. Feeling it something fierce.