Halloween Isn’t Just for Kids: Costumes, Candy, Traditions, and Wine!
Halloween was a big deal when I was growing up. Our street included several families with children, and each year, my family hosted our neighborhood Halloween party. About six families would gather in our garage to compare costumes, share snacks, and play games involving gross-feeling stuff like cold spaghetti and wet olives. And then, all the parents would send us kids out to hit up our other neighbors for candy (and let the “adult party” begin). There were LOTS of houses to hit up. Our Halloweens lasted late into the night, and always ended with a mega candy swap during which I got rid of anything containing coconut.
One year, I desperately wanted to be the Pink Panther for Halloween. I’m guessing my mom tried to find a costume for me, but in the end, she ended up making it: pink tights, pink leotard, a giant Pink Panther head made out of cardboard and felt, and a long Pink Panther tail made out of a wire hanger and fabric. The eye holes were just a bit off, so I couldn’t see. My younger brother, a frog that year (also homemade), had to lead me from house to house and grab candy for me. Still, it was probably the best costume I’ve ever worn.
Flash forward to adulthood: Halloween is still one of my favorite holidays. I love the change in weather that accompanies it, the children who drop by our house to trick or treat, the costumes and all the creativity they demand, and of course, the candy. And celebrating this holiday with our own child has made it extra special over the years.
When she was five, our daughter wanted to be a lobster. So, we (and by “we,” I mean my husband) created an amazingly realistic lobster costume using styrofoam plates, styrofoam balls, foam, and yarn, all in red. As our daughter marched down the street with her trick or treat bag, people literally stopped in their tracks to look at her. She was so proud of her costume that the one guy who yelled “Check out the cute little crab!” didn’t even faze her.
The next year, she wanted to be her idol, Jane Goodall. So we gathered khaki clothes, work boots, and a clipboard and safety-penned a stuffed monkey to her shoulder. She looked exactly as you would think the young Jane looked. Another year, she was a pirate, complete with a pirate companion (one of our dogs) and the salty pirate talk (though, thankfully, just a bit cleaner).
Because she is an only child, our daughter missed out on the post-trick-or treating candy swap with a sibling. So, starting with her first trick or treat haul, my husband and I created a new tradition for her (and us): the “hand over your candy to your parents” tradition. Each year, we’ve allowed her to keep, say, 20 pieces of candy. She hands the rest over to us, and we squirrel it away to be enjoyed over several weeks. She’s never minded this tradition. She seems to think that everyone does it…and she’s not that into candy anyway.
As our daughter is now on the cusp of adulthood herself (gulp), I hope she’ll continue to find ways to mark this odd holiday. Halloween is, after all, a great time for adults to engage their “inner child” and have some fun. It’s the one day each year when we’re expected to dress up and be anything or anyone we want, no matter how silly or spooky or, in some cases, just plain inappropriate. We indulge in sugary treats and argue about which candies are the best. We come up with crazy games and hone our accents so that we’re truly in costume. We visit haunted houses set up in shopping malls and watch movies that scared us when we were younger.
Here at 4.0, Halloween is alive and well. This year, we’ll celebrate it with our annual Howl-o-Ween event on Sunday, October 25, an event for dogs and their people. On Saturday, October 31, you can bet that several of my 4.0 teammates will be in costume, and we’re hosting our first-ever Halloween candy and wine pairing that day, too. Think about it: Wine goes with everything, but which wines pair best with your left-over (or stolen from your children or grandchildren) Halloween candy? This is the time to find out! Be sure to call Amber or Beth at 830-977-7470 to reserve your spot for this fun event. And between now and then, you should definitely get working on your costume!