Monday, October 31, 2011

An Unconventional Halloween

Call me a fuddy duddy, but our family doesn’t celebrate Halloween the way most people do. You might be shocked to learn that I have never been trick-or-treating. Ever. And, I'm okay with that.

As for my hubby, he looked forward to it every year until he had to stop due to his height. In 6th grade he was 6 feet tall, so when he went trick-or-treating he got lots of nasty looks and comments from people who thought he was some greedy older kid or adult. That was his last year in costume.   

Halloween never had any appeal to me. I didn’t like the creepy, scary, and gory stuff that everyone took such pleasure in. I never understood why that kind of thing was so exciting. I only ever dressed up on Halloween when I felt the intense peer pressure of the teenage years, and even then I only dressed up during the school day. I never had a traditional costume. I would throw something together from things I already had. I remember one year paying homage to Madonna and Cyndi Lauper. I dressed up in a preppy button-down shirt with the collar flipped up, acid wash jeans, jelly bracelets, hair teased up high and held with Aqua-Net hairspray, and lots of heavy, purple eye shadow.
My parents never made a big deal about Halloween. Sometimes we would attend a party at church or we would stay in and eat tons of candy. But, I could always count on us spending that time together. It was this tradition that I knew I wanted to pass on to my family after I got married. And I have, with my husband’s full support.
Now that we have our boys and all of the issues that come along with their diagnosis, it’s obvious that celebrating a traditional Halloween would come with certain obstacles.
First, we have to contend with their food allergies. Grumpy Badger rears his ugly head when he’s told that he can’t eat candy that’s been given to him. He still doesn’t fully understand the whole food allergy thing, and those kinds of situations can quickly become the mother of all meltdowns. It’s a fight I don’t want to have. Then, we have the sensory issues related to dressing up, face paint, masks, etc. And, not to mention that my boys don’t like scary things and get freaked out easily. There are plenty of people who like to put a good scare into children when they are trick-or-treating. Although they might find it entertaining, I certainly do not when it comes to my kids.   
So, instead of the traditional Halloween dress up and asking people for candy routine, we choose to have a special family night. It’s a little bit different each year and the boys always enjoy it. Last year we took them to a movie followed by a trip to a bookstore to purchase a new book for each of them.
This year we made a weekend of it. On Saturday evening we went bowling. Afterward Monkey got to go over to Grandma and Grandpa’s house for a sleepover while Prince Charming chose a movie from Redbox for us to watch with him before bed. On Sunday, we…meaning 0% Prince Charming, 20% Monkey, and 80% Titan…carved a pumpkin.
The only way Monkey can participate is with gloves. He has a hard time touching wet and slimy textures and he is much less anxious when he doesn't have to directly touch anything. He has low tone in his hands and arms so it was tough work for him!

My favorite part is collecting the pumpkin seeds for roasting!
Cleaned and ready to roast! The kids might not get to eat any after I get my mitts on these puppies.

We haven’t yet decided what we will do on Halloween night. We’ll just have to wait and see! One thing I do know is that we don’t need costumes or tons of candy from our neighbors to have fun on Halloween. I know that no matter what, we’ll have a great time together.
Whatever you choose to do tonight for Halloween, I hope you have a wonderful and safe time!      
Happy Halloween 2011!
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