The Dad Tax

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I’ll just start you off with the two best pictures of yesterday. They were so hyped up on excitement and Halloween that this is the best we got.

We drove to a few friends houses who don’t live withing walking distance (on kids legs on trick or treating night). Then we walked. Nanny lives just 3 houses up the road.

Literally.

No joke.

3 houses.

That’s when Bang started complaining that his legs were tired. We made it up the rest of the street, though he was none too happy about it. He was still saying “trick or treat” and thank you politely. He would even throw in, “Zombies in the full moon” after receiving his treat. Crash never really caught on how it worked. He’d knock, say trick or treat, get his treat, say thank you, then just stand there. I’m not sure if he was expecting to be invited inside for tea or coffee or what. Instead of getting off the porch to make room for others, he’d just stand there in Lalaland.

Anyway, Bang only made it a bit further. At his last house he became belligerent and rudely told a gentleman thank you. So I tried to talk to him, tried to reason with him. I would have had better luck reasoning with the lamp post we were standing under. I tried to tell him he need to be polite, not mean. Especially to the people who were giving him treats. He didn’t care. His only goal was to get home.

So home we went.

Crash, his mother, his friend, and his friend’s mother continued on. At the end of the street there is a couple who do up their house as a haunted house. It’s always great fun to see. We usually just trick-or-treat to that house then return home. Bang and I didn’t get to that house this year.

Next year, I think Bang will stay home and hand out treats to the dozen or so kids who show up at our place.

Hope everyone had a happy Halloween! Enjoy the taxation without representation. It tastes soooo good!

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All Hallows Eve

Today’s tradition has it’s origins roughly 2,000 years ago during the time of Celts who celebrated their New Year on November 1st. The celebration was known as Samhain. Celts believed that on the night before the new year, the boundary between the worlds of the living and the dead became blurred.  They would extinguish their woodstoves, light huge bonfires, and burn crops and animals as sacrifices. They would don costumes and masks – which were often animal heads. After the celebration they would relight their woodstoves from the sacred bonfire to protect them through the dark, cold winter.

By 43 A.D.  the Romans had conquered most of the Celtic territory and began incorporating their own celebrations. They would celebrate the passing of the dead in late October. On May 13, 609 A.D., Pope Boniface IV dedicated the Pantheon in Rome in honor of all Christian martyrs, and the Catholic feast of All Martyrs Day was established in the Western church. Pope Gregory III opened the celebration to honor all saints as well as martyrs and moved it from May 13 to November 1. All Saints Day was also known as All-hallows or All-hallowmas (from Middle English Alholowmesse meaning All Saints’ Day). The night before it, the traditional Celtic celebration, became known as All Hallows Eve. Which is where we get today’s name of Halloween.

Some theorise that Halloween lost its appeal to death and ghosts in Protestant, Colonial New England. As the beliefs and customs of different European ethnic groups, as well as the American Indians meshed, a distinctly American version of Halloween began to emerge. The first celebrations included “play parties,” public events held to celebrate the harvest, where neighbors would share stories of the dead, tell each other’s fortunes, dance and sing.

New immigrants, especially the millions of Irish fleeing Ireland’s potato famine of 1846, helped popularize the celebration of Halloween. Combining Irish and English traditions, Americans began to dress up in costumes and go house to house asking for food or money, a practice that eventually became today’s “trick-or-treat” tradition.

As for the history of the Jack-O-Lantern you can read the story of Stingy Jack (it’s a very short one). It was named after the will-o’-the-wisp or a jack o’lantern that is the phenomenon of strange light seen flickering over peat bogs. People hollowed out pumpkins, turnips, or potatoes to imitate this light. Some believed it warded off the evil spirits associated with the celebrations of this time of year.

Therefore, as tradition proclaims, we have carved our pumpkins (their own designs) and will be trick-or-treating this evening. Thor and Captain America will collect treats and Mom and Dad will invoke the “parent tax” and help them eat it.

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I don’t have a picture of Crash and Bang in their costumes yet, but I do have one of my brother and nephew. It’s a classic.

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The Force is strong with them.

Tricks and Treats Hangover

I hope everyone has fully recovered from trick or treating. Whether you were the one passing out the treats or you were escorting minions to do the tricks, it was a night of fun (mostly).

Sticking to tradition, we traveled to see Crash and Bang’s grandparents (Nanny and Guppie), first. We stopped at some friends houses while we were there. One house was done up as a haunted house. Inside was decorated to look like a church, there was a coffin (with a “dead” person lying in it) at the front, while park benches represented pews. There were zombie nuns sitting in those. We both figured Bang (the four year old) would get scared and not want to go in. We couldn’t have been more wrong. He was leading the way! He was amazed. “Whoa, awesome!” “Sick!” “Awe man! Look at this!” He loved it. Granted, it was still light out. His story may have changed had it been dark. Maybe not.

We returned to town for a quick supper at McDonald’s. In costume. Yes, DW and I were in costume, too. It was a family theme this year. Then we drove to visit a few more friends who lived slightly farther away than walking distance.

Once done driving around, we dumped the loot they had collected to this point in the living room. We threw on some jackets under the costumes because 6C (42F) is kinda chilly. With empty loot bags, we started hoofing it.

I’m hoping it’s not just my kid. Well, I know there was at least one other – I heard about another on the radio this morning. We walked to the top of our street, had stopped at about 15 or so houses and Crash said he was ready to go home. Huh? One night of the year you get FREE candy and chips (and sometimes pop, juice boxes or bottles of water) and he’s too lazy to walk and go get it? I suppose next year the candy passer outters will deliver to the trick or treaters. You know, so the little tricksters won’t have to do all that walking.

Once he realized we weren’t turning around because we still had more friends to see and more places to stop along the way, he stopped complaining. Of course, when you’re walking with a four year old you have to walk a bit slower. It’s more like the zombie shuffle than actual walking. Finally, we had reached the last house at the end of the street – the house we had visited last weekend for the Halloween party. They, too, like to go all out. they were dressed as pirates. Their house was complete with a fog machine, skeleton sailor, and scary lights. Crash and Bang loved it. Bang wanted to stay and play some more. But we had to walk home, trick or treating the other side of the street on the way back.

This is where Bang got tired of walking. Which is baloney because I’ve seen him walk all day. But it was past his bedtime, so I’ll give him that. Once back home, they each got a small treat, then they were up the stairs, washed off their yellow face paint, brushed teeth, and tucked into bed. The “parent tax” was enforced so we helped ourselves to a bit. There’s so much though, they won’t even notice.

Now to ration it out. Bang was already busted (he ratted himself out, actually) eating four tootsie rolls. He says he gets four because he is four. In that case, I get thirty-nine. Hand ’em over, buddy!

Hope your sugar crash wasn’t as bad as your sugar high!

Minions with Nanny

Minions with Nanny

The Dispicables with Guppie

Just Another Tuesday

As I sit here staring out the kitchen window wait for whatever it is I’m going to write about today to come through, I see a crow in the bird feeder. Really, it’s a bird bath, but we put food in it for the crows. He didn’t bring me any ideas either. Not even a shiny thing.

Bang had a short playdate with a friend because our cooking class was cancelled due an unforeseen emergency. So a friend came over. Instead of playing with the toys they played with the mop and vacuum. This is my kind of playdate!

We already gathered up the garbage for Kyle and Lewis. They came with their big garbage truck to pick up our garbage. The recycling truck is here now. This is also a big deal. Bang plasters himself to the window to watch. Though, he doesn’t like to get close. He says they’re too loud.

We are currently sitting here watching Justin Time and eating apples. After lunch is finished, we’ll be heading out to take down the trampoline. Time to winterize it by putting it away. While it does open a good bit of space in the backyard, it’s also an easy source of entertainment and exercise.

Halloween is coming up. We’ve received an invite to a Halloween party this weekend. Unfortunately, it’s in Australia. So I think we’ll have to decline this year. We’ll go trick or treating instead. We’ve developed a bit of a Halloween tradition since moving here.

First we go see Nanny and Guppy in the next town over. They love to see the kids and they always put together a wicked treat bag for the kids. We visit a couple friends houses while we’re there. Then it’s back to our town for supper at McDonald’s. Something fast and easy so we can get back to candy collecting. Then we visit Nanny and Pop. Again, another wicked treat bag for the kids. We’ll walk around the block trick or treating. Then drive to a few friends houses.

Back home we consolidate the loot, give the kids one small treat from the pile, then ship them off to bed. We don’t get many trick or treaters where we live. We just leave a bowl of treats on the front porch with a note instructing the treaters to take one or two. Sometime there is still some left when we get home, sometimes it’s gone. Either way works for us.  We enjoy going out more than we do staying home and handing out. It’s a family event for us.

We have some fun costumes this year. It’s the first year we’ve all dressed to the same theme. I won’t give it away until after Halloween, though. Sorry, not sorry. Some have seen it since we were just at a kids Halloween party last weekend. Some parents, including DW and I dressed up as well.

So we’re just hanging out on this regular Tuesday. We have some jobs to do. But mostly we’re just anxiously waiting to go trick-or-treating.

What are you up to today?