This year was our first to truly involve our kids in celebrating Halloween. In the past we’ve handed out candy, but not gone trick-or-treating–largely because the boys’ serious food allergies made that seem like a risky operation. To be honest, I have not always liked Halloween, and I still don’t like the ghoulish aspects of it. I personally cannot fathom small children in zombie makeup, or junior high-ers wandering the neighborhood looking like the grisly victims of a horror movie and frightening babies. No gravestones in the front yard and creepy music emanating from the doorway for me. But I do like cute Halloween–classic, wholesome costumes, jack-o-lanterns, and the camaraderie of neighbors, most of whom will not knock on my door again until next year.

So we carved pumpkins for our front steps. Incredibly, it was my husband’s first time making jack-o-lanterns. His handiwork is on the left–his first try was a great success! The kids ran around the house in the dark marveling at our pumpkins–which E promptly christened “Daddy, Mama, and Baby.” Everything is about parents and babies right now with her.

IMG_8221And our little people dressed as a fireman, a knight, and a strawberry:

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Varying degrees of enthusiasm for picture-taking.

IMG_8252Then C started getting into it.

IMG_8257The fireman and the knight deep in conversation.

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My little strawberry.

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Ready for battle.

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A handsome fireman…

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…who then felt it necessary to pose upside-down.

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All ready to go trick-or-treating.

IMG_8302Our first trick-or-treating adventure almost ended a few days before it began, when my husband casually alluded to a business trip on the 31st. He maintained he told me about this months ahead of time, and I maintained we had had multiple conversations about how we were going to manage trick-or-treating–even specifying its hours and the date. We both stared at each other. Fortunately no one got upset (read this with heavy sarcasm and you’ll get the idea). I was utterly overwhelmed by the thought of herding three trick-or-treaters and managing the candy handout and bedtime all at once. And then our dear friend Sarah came to the rescue:IMG_8306

The kids were thrilled to have one of their favorite friends along, I had fun with her, and it was especially helpful since a certain little strawberry sprinted down every block while the boys lagged far behind. I spent most of the evening running to intercept her at street corners. She always stops, precipitously, right before the curb. But I have to be there in case she doesn’t.
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When we got home (and I had hidden the candy to replace it with allergy-safe treats), the boys went to the backyard to play with Sarah while E camped out on the front steps with me and our basket of candy to distribute. This was her favorite part of the night, even before it started. She could hardly contain herself at the thought of how much fun it would be.IMG_8333

“Mommy!” she squealed, her fists full of candy. “When some people come, they will be SO HAPPY when they see ME!”

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She waited breathlessly, her eyes trained down the street, while I willed someone to come around the corner.

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“Look, Mommy! I see someone! Someone is COMING! We have to give them CANDY!”

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She could never wait for the trick-or-treaters to walk all the way to the steps; as soon as they neared our driveway, she was trotting toward them, candy at the ready. Her costume and her high-pitched “You’re welcome!” made her a number of admirers.

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Waiting for more customers.

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When it began to get chilly, I persuaded her to watch from inside, where she was glued to the door for most of the night. It was a happy Halloween–especially for her.

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Our Thanksgiving began with my favorite tradition: a morning race. This year I was the photography and cheering crew, while my mom watched the kids on the playground and my dad and J ran the race.

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Dad ran a personal best: 23:00. He’s amazing. As usual, he won his age bracket.

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J at the finish. (In the dark blue on the left). Unlike some, he chose to wear a shirt that day. (It was warm for November here…but still.)IMG_8581

C, with his hat hung up on his ears, waiting for the kids’ race to begin.

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B with his game face on.

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E in her running gear.

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And they’re off!

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E, my best little runner, was unenthusiastic. I think it’s because we started our kids toward the back (to avoid trampling) and that girl likes to win.

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Sporting their medals. E was more interested in collecting all our water bottles into a bag.

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Back at the house, we spread the feast. And B learned one of the most important lessons of Thanksgiving: if you hang out in the kitchen…

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…you will be fed.

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We’re putting up our tree today: it’s on to the next holiday.

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