Saturday, November 9, 2013

i got a rock

here it is, my epic halloween post, late in coming, but at least it has some of the photos you've been hoping to see.

halloween was different this year, not just because we are living in a new place, but because diana is in school.  in years past, she and i spent countless hours planning and preparing for this day of days, her favorite holiday.  it's changed, though, and it took a while to get my head around that, mourning the loss of old traditions while simultaneously gathering excitement about new ones.

as per usual, diana started decorating her room around the time of the autumnal equinox when i pulled out the trusty rubbermaid bins full of holiday doo-dads.  she placed cobwebs over the bed, a giant spider on the floor lamp, and an actual skeleton in her closet, among other things.  she does take some things quite literally.

she added a bit to one of her gravestone settings this year, giving it the perspective of shadow.

our first opportunity to show off costumes was on the saturday prior.  our neighborhood held a small party for the kids in the afternoon with plenty of yummy treats and a parade on the streets.  steve had just finished ander's requested costume of burn-e (it took about a week to make) and ander was quite pleased to see how good it looked.  if you don't know who burn-e is, well, just watch this:

he's got the welder taped to his arm and is holding a replacement light spire, both of which would glow in the dark

diana had changed her mind about her costume a multitude of times.  first, she was going to be a poisonous vampire toadstool.  that one involved a clear plastic umbrella.  after some work on it, she gave it up in favor of scarlett.  this was a character of diana's own imagination, whom she described as the daughter of lord voldemort.  i particularly loved this idea, especially all the details she put into it with horcruxes and a black wig and a green-and-black gown and a snake wrapped around her arm and all.  but, she decided upon another harry potter character, a little-known-and-only-once-mentioned-in-the-epilogue-of-book-7 young woman named victoire, the daughter of bill weasley and fleur delacour.  diana accurately guessed that no one would quickly determine her identity, so she wore a name tag.  i think the biggest appeal about this costume for her was the use of eye shadow and lipstick for the first time.

she used the last name delacour, thinking that it seemed more fitting for a daughter to have the surname of her mother rather than that of her father. it also sounded prettier than weasely.

our party hostess really got her hands into things. bwahahahaha!
after the gathering we headed to the "air & scare" at the smithsonian national air and space museum udvar-hazy center.  (as we sat in the long lines of traffic driving in to park, we listened to the am station announcements and laughed at the different ways we had been mispronouncing the names.  now we know it's "OODvar - HAAzee").  diana and steve headed off with some friends, while ander and i tooled around on our own, taking in the eery lighting of his beloved space shuttle and admiring the inventive costumes.  we gaped in open-jawed amazement at a very authentic-looking chewbacca.

the 4th dr. who, merida, victoire, and burn-e

pondering what else to add to his rendition of "halloween on mars"
i ended up carrying nearly every part of ander's costume around the air & space museum, but it was made entirely worthwhile by the appreciative comments of just a few people who actually recognized the character without any need for explanation.  one young man regarded it as the best costume he'd seen all day.  the cutest interaction was with a mom, dad, and little boy, younger than ander, who also had 2-liter bottles spray-painted and attached to his back.  in his case, they were upside-down as the engine tanks of a silver space vehicle.

we had one trip to a pumpkin patch here, mainly owing to the much greater distance to get to you-pick fields as compared to what we experienced in california.  it more than satisfied our needs, though, as we had just the right fodder for the kids' imaginations.  ander had been asking nearly every day when it would be time to carve his pumpkin.  monday afternoon, off early from school, was the perfect time.

as expected, ander was more excited about telling me how to scoop out the goopy insides instead of doing it himself. diana, however, amazed us both with how much she emptied her own.

when he draws jack o'lantern faces on paper, it's often with triangles. not so with actual pumpkins. i momentarily panicked until i remembered my trusty corer tool from the pampered chef.

we had some artistic disagreements about the mouth, but i was able to provide ander with something that ultimately met with his approval. the pumpkin was named "mr. musician head"

in carving, as in sewing, it's best to measure twice and cut once...

...or just make the best of the missing fangs and turn it into "the-pumpkin-which-must-not-be-named"
i got around to roasting the seeds on halloween day and did a great job this time - perfectly brown, perfectly oily and salty.

for the actual trick-or-treat night, the kids changed up their costumes.  diana abandoned victoire and decided to be fleur instead, since it was getting too confusing to explain to people.  taryn came over to gather candy with us, and steve headed out with the girls to meet up with another family while ander helped me set out luminaries.  ander did not care to be burn-e, as he had "already" been that.  he asked to be "lord vampire" but when we headed to the costume closet, he decided to be a ghost instead.  fortunately, he made out much better with his treat collecting than did charlie brown's character.  (both of the kids watched "it's the great pumpkin, charlie brown" in school on halloween and came home talking excitedly of rocks.  also, i love how ander refers to to "charles" brown.  he's charmingly formal.)

fleur and minion

much cuter than casper
as i had predicted, ander did not want to spend too much time gathering candy.  our trek was cut even shorter by the unexpected presence of large dogs, which always make him uncomfortable, but he was able to then hand out candy to other trick-or-treaters, which is his very favorite thing to do.

after he saw the contents of his sister's bucket, though, he reconsidered facing his concerns.  when she said she intended to collect more, he asked to come along, this time as a king with a royal robe.  he was much more comfortable with "his girls" by his side and he eagerly pointed out to us all the jack-o-lanterns he admired.

this might be my favorite photo of the evening. she really did help him so much.

life is good.

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