November 4, 2010
Yes, I actually mean it.
I feel I can rightfully accept this honor because I’ve had a love affair with this holiday since I was a little girl, when I’d start pestering my mother about my costume before Labor Day had even come and gone. My mom, homemaker extraordinaire that she was, was actually one of those mothers who often made our costumes from scratch. One year, due to her insane talents, my brother and I took first prize for siblings as Raggedy Anne and Andy at our town’s annual parade.
You can see why I support a claim to the throne.
For me, Halloween is not merely a day, one twenty-four hour period in which to cavort with spooks, pilfer the “good candy” from my sons’ trick-or-treat bags, then pretend since I only took the “minis” that the calories don’t count. No this holiday, much like my birthday, is so special it deserves its own month.
And that is just what it got.
Justin and I ushered in the spooktacular event at our monthly sojourn to SSNY (Someone Special Needs You), where my son and other children with a range of disabilities are paired with high-school aged buddies who assist them with crafts, activities, and in Justin’s case, lots of hugs. The little bugger refused to wear his costume (which of course provoked a minor anxiety attack in his mother that HE MIGHT NOT WEAR IT ON OUR SPECIAL DAY), but I managed to channel my inner Prozac, slide him into his emergency pumpkin shirt, and move on with our night.
As you can see, Justin was fine with his fashion choice.
Our next celebration of my favorite holiday (sorry Santa!) was at our town’s Special Ed PTA’s fall harvest festival, which Justin permitted me to attend for more than five consecutive minutes for the first time ever. He ascended the stairs to the slide multiple times without assistance, allowed his crazy mommy to force his participation in a hay-themed photo shoot, and ate enough popcorn that I was pretty certain we’d have to upgrade his pony to a horse at his subsequent riding lesson.
I even got to have an adult conversation for more than thirty consecutive seconds. Heaven.
We continued honoring spooky mecca on a hayride at my future uncle’s farm, where because we’re almost relatives of the owner we were allowed to cut in front of a hundred waiting people (perhaps a SLIGHT exaggeration, yet still the favorite part of my day) and get primo seats on a wagon destined for a glorious and plentiful pumpkin patch. Upon arrival my oldest son economically selected his prize in four seconds, while my youngest debated the merits of tiny versus rotund for what seemed to take an hour. Zachary and I capped off this event by transforming our orange friend into a jack-o-lantern, an activity which resulted in the scariest gourd EVER as well as a gash in my hand that probably needed stitches I just couldn’t be bothered to acquire (no, there’s no photo of my palm, this is a HAPPY post).
Justin’s school doesn’t permit parents to attend their holiday events because it’s too distracting to their population, but my mom and I were able to watch Zachary and his classmates parade around his facility in a fabulous show of finery, as well as participate in his very first Halloween party at his new school. When he walked outside and saw us across the street his entire body began to shake with joy, and I was reminded once again that a family member will always have to attend my youngest’s school events, or risk paying for several decades of therapy later on. He’s matured a bit, actually waited to cry until grandma and I said goodbye to him at the conclusion of the party, even sat stoically for story time while simultaneously wiping the streaming tears off his face with the back of his hands.
I must remember this moment when he’s a teen-ager and hates me.
Then of course, there’s the denouement, the grand finale, the gigantic kahuna, Halloween itself. I must admit I was wondering if we’d pull it off this year, what with Justin’s penchant for leaving every venue after twenty-six consecutive minutes and Zachary’s paralyzing fear of insects, but the planets aligned, and it all worked out. Much to my relief Justin deigned to wear his Buzz costume (Zach was Woody, this was a well-planned ensemble effort requiring 100% participation if we were to avoid a meltdown), and Zach was firmly ensconced in his duds before 10:00 AM. Justin lasted almost an hour this year and was an old pro, didn’t require me to physically prompt him to every door, nor even prevent his hand from activating every doorbell a thousand times. Zachary gleefully evoked the mandatory “Trick-or-Treat”, “Happy Halloween”, and equally important “Thank you!” statements with no nudging required, a far cry from last year when he participated so solemnly in the day and was completely freaked out by every piece of décor that moved or talked (okay, sometimes I was too).
We capped the evening off with the annual McCafferty tradition of watching It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown as a family (by far the best episode, SUCK IT Thanksgiving and Christmas), and at the end of the tape we took the liberty of asking Zach what costumes our family should wear next year, knowing (like his mother), he’d forget his choices by the next day.
Zach was to be Schroeder (ooh, emulating a musical prodigy, just THINK of the college essay possibilities).
Daddy was informed he’d be Snoopy (and yes, the dog jokes ensued in all their respective glory).
Finally, I was directed to dress as Linus, and Justin to don a blond wig and go as Sally (yup, still working on pronoun and gender identification here, I figure he’s only three, we still have time).
All in all, a fabulous day/month was had by all, and mommy got to “get her Halloween on” as well as safely secure multiple Reeses Peanut Butter cups and Almond Joys in the “safe room” in our freezer.
Only 364 days left to go….