Well, our Halloween was great. We went to the same neighborhood as every year. Our nearly mile-long walk netted the girls about 2.5lbs of candy each, and everyone loved Willamina's costume.
But it was nothing like last year. This year, it was obvious that the purse strings had been tightened in many households. Last year, the girls came home with about 3.5lbs of candy each, but that's not where it showed the most.
In the costuming department, very few folks had the outrageous and exciting costumes of previous years. There were lass home-made costumes, and less people out begging for candy, overall. The houses were also different. While our favorite neighborhood usually has every house open, and costumed adults and children handing out candy, this year, about 1/3 of the houses had their lights out. No candy, no celebration.
There are a couple of bright spots every year on our route; the
house that hands out fresh-made cotton candy, the house that gives away a single hot dog, grilled right there in their yard, mini play-dough, the haunted house garage, the family-friendly spooky movie carport, the spider in a tree that dropped on unsuspecting candy-hunters, adults posing as mannequins to surprise unsuspecting visitors, and all the garish decorations at every house, new designs and styles to enjoy each year. It's something to remember, and we look forward to it with giddy anticipation.
Well this year, there were no hot dogs, and no cotton candy. Only one house had real people posing still to scare the kids (and parents), the spider was suspiciously missing, and of the few houses that were actually decorated, many re-used last year's decor. What candy there was, ran out quicker than ever, and instead of the usual chocolate and rare goodies, there were several
houses that had been forced to resort to DumDum pops and tootsie rolls...
Yeah, it showed. Even the movie carport was gone, being reduced only to a small seating area with a creepy gauzy"doorway". Guess the cutting back included the utility bills too.
Not that is wasn't great. Far from it, in fact. All of the great celebratory feeling was still there, and people were happy. The weather was great, and everyone was as friendly as ever. We had a great time with our friends, and ended with our traditional dinner at a local pizza joint that we only ever visit on Halloween night.
But I noticed, and so did the other parents. The kids noticed things missing, but didn't seem to mind. It's sad when holidays and festivities have to suffer because of a bad economy, but I guess everything shrinks a little when things get tough. I guess I just didn't quite expect it. Not on Halloween, not in our favorite neighborhood.
Thinking we could maybe give the sugared-up kids a little more room to run after our initial fun, we dropped by a spot where we used to go. You know, the fabled neighborhood where they give out full-sized candy bars, and coupons for free Krispy Cream doughnuts? Well, usually, around 9pm, the houses there begin to close, but there are always a few stragglers with a bit of extra candy to give, waiting with their lights on for the later of the candy-gatherers.
Closed, lights off. All but one house in the entire neighborhood.
So, in a last-ditch effort to extend the fun, we drove around looking for college parties to crash. Always fun, a parent MUST go with the kids, but watching the newly-adult scramble in a frantic search for candy for the cute little kids that just appeared at their party is amusing to say the least.
We hit up a couple of parties successfully, and encountered a group of folks spinning fire behind a nearby coffee house before the kids (and parents) were simply too tired to carry on.
That's okay though, it was after midnight when we stopped our hunt for candy and amusement, and we would have been tired by then even if we hadn't had so much fun. *smile*
So that was the extent of our Halloween, and regardless of how hard the financial crisis effected us, and our community, we made the best of it, and had a lot of fun!
My little pink lion decided that her ruff was too itchy, and since we couldn't afford fake ears this year, and didn't have any leftover pink hairspray, this is how she went out trick-or treating. Everyone knew what she was though (some sort of pink kitty), and she still had loads of fun. *smile*