This was not your grandmother’s Halloween. I have somehow escaped the annual candy-o-rama the last couple of years so I was excited to be able to tag along with them this year. But found out they don’t go door-to-door anymore. They do “Trunk or Treat” now. Emily started taking them to a friend’s church parking lot where people pass out candy from the trunks of cars. Huh?
When I was a kid the easiest costume was the Lone Ranger because all it required was a black mask. The rest of the costume was usually hanging right there in the closet. I can’t remember any other costume. And it’s entirely possible that I wore the same one every year. I’m like that.
Then came the wait for it to get dark. There was no wait longer than waiting for dark on Halloween. Once we finally took off we wouldn’t come home until the paper grocery sack was too heavy to carry.
Then when my girls were Trick or Treating I think I made a couple of costumes but again it was nothing elaborate. I do remember the first Halloween costume for each girl was always as a ghost because you can use a pillowcase when they’re little.
You can tell I’ve never been much on dressing up. When I worked at the bank they tried to have costumes a couple of times and I had a good friend who was almost fully grown when she was still in the fifth grade. She loaned me her Girl Scout uniform and it fit me perfectly. I think I wore that one for two years in a row. But my enthusiasm for dressing up at work dissolved the year the geniuses in charge of things decided to lay off a huge chunk of personnel on October 31st . There is no sight more pathetic than someone cleaning out their desk or madly copying their resume while dressed as a Martian. I’ll never forget the way my friend’s antennae bobbed as she was cleaning out her desk. That’s just wrong to do to folks.
I’m not sure we ever dressed up for Halloween again. In retrospect, it’s pretty dumb to have a bank lobby full of employees dressed in costumes when a robber could walk up in a mask and clean out the vault and leave without looking out of place.
The grands out-did themselves this year with their costumes.
Essie was the girl from Mythbusters. This involved coloring her hair and wearing safety goggles. Aunt Elizabeth made her a shirt with “Mythbusters” emblazoned diagonally (it’s a long word on a small chest) across a black shirt.
Sarah went as “the world’s worst doctor.” All she needed was scrubs, surgical mask and lots of fake blood splattered everywhere. A far cry from wearing a Lone Ranger mask every year.
I was still not sure about Trick or Treating from car trunk to car trunk. But it didn’t take me long to be convinced this was the best idea since sliced bread. Besides candy dispensed from the artfully decorated trunks by church members (good Christian people you could trust to handle your grandchild’s health) there was more entertainment than I’ve seen at a lot of state fairs.
There were three or four tables set up to sell food: BBQ, hamburgers, hotdogs, French fries, nachos, cotton candy….you name it and they had it. Then there was a petting zoo with baby goats and ducks and other baby animals I can’t remember. The fire department had brought a couple of their fire trucks to let kids climb on. A pony ride. A cake walk. A sound system blaring out music. I’m afraid it was so loud I couldn’t really make out the music but I had a feeling it was good clean Christian songs. Then surrounding the whole thing like a giant vinyl curtain were at least eight bounce houses. Maybe more. Let me say that again: there were lots and lots of bounce houses. Kid Heaven.
As a matter of fact, the kids were having so much fun that the candy took a back seat. The adults ended up sitting under a tree eating nachos and babysitting the candy while the girls played.
Elizabeth and Emily were astonished when I went through the girls’ candy baskets to check for the good stuff and helped myself to a Tootsie Roll. Then an Almond Joy. Apparently they never knew I did this to their candy every year after they went to sleep. Kids don’t appreciate good candy. They’ll eat anything in case you haven’t noticed. Besides, they didn’t need to eat all that candy. I thought of it as a kind of nutritional supervision and part of being a good mother to separate out some of their candy. I always kept a secret stash of the good stuff on top of our refrigerator. It would sometimes last me until Christmas when the stocking candy arrived. Which would last until Valentines Day. Then Easter.
Coming on the heels of last week’s post about the new non-denominational churches I must report that it was one of these new congregations who hosted this Halloween extravaganza. The name of the church is “Church in the City.” They have a website. Emily chose this event for the girl’s Halloween about three years ago when a co-worker who worships there told her about it. Emily also attended one Sunday when Tracy’s newly adopted son was dedicated. Emily loves their worship style. And the congregation is “diverse.” That was easy to say since Tracy is black and the people working the party were an assortment of colors. But Tracy leaned forward and re-emphacized, “REALLY diverse.” Like maybe race wasn’t the only difference in their members. I started imagining gays, ex-cons, bikers, strippers, murderers, maybe even a few backsliding Baptists.
But this church is huge and growing. They have a big new building. An active congregation. What are they doing right that the withering up old mainstream churches aren’t? I have a feeling the eight bounce houses are a clue.