Our neighborhood has been putting on its funky Halloween clothes for the past few weeks. So each day out is an adventure in discovery: ghosts, ghoulish spiders, spooky tombstones and bats.
I never thought much of Halloween as a child. I mean, I loved collecting candy in pillow cases, reviewing our loot on the family room floor and trading treats. I always got rid of the candy corns and Almond Joys; Reese's Peanut Butter Cups and Snickers were my thing.
But I didn't look forward to the holiday as much as I do now. Now that I have children who start talking about their costumes at the start of summer and don't stop until well past Christmas.
Their insane excitement is infectious.
For them, Halloween is a week-long festival of fun that starts with our neighborhood parade this Sunday. Thousands come to see costumed dogs start the annual march down the Avenue, followed by strollers that families more crafty than ours transform into spaceships and carriages, trains and gardens. Then the kids. Droves of them.
Last year, a group of girls, straight out of Ludwig Bemelman's "Madeline" stole the show in their French school girl uniforms.
"In an old house in Paris that was covered with vines, lived twelve little girls in two straight lines. They left the house at half past nine. The smallest one was Madeline."
We're less ambitious around this house so we'll show up in an assortment of store-bought costumes, hand-me-downs and our own creations.
Here's what we looked like last year.
There's a cousin in there. Tobias must have been snoozing in the sling.
This year, we'll bring a cowboy or two and a couple of fairies, maybe a saint. But we'll talk kid costumes later. Perhaps after I teach myself how to operate the sewing machine on loan from my neighbor. It's been sitting on the kitchen counter for the past several days where I've done my best to ignore it.
For now, we're having fun watching the neighborhood put on its own Halloween finery.