It all sounds good in theory

I spent the past two weeks preparing for a Halloween party for my grandchildren. It was going to be our first “real” holiday party, and I wanted it to be special.  I threw parties for my kids all the time when they were little. But this time was different. This time I had the internet to help, and I turned to Facebook and Pinterest for ideas about how I could make this the best Halloween party ever.table2

I printed off recipes and photos of all the cool things I wanted to do. I bought all the necessary ingredients and props, and I worked diligently to make sure it went off without a hitch.

But as we wanna-be perfectionists already know, it all sounds good in theory.

I imagined that everything would go as planned; the food would be perfect, the decorations, the music, and the activities would run themselves. But with 6 energetic children ranging from 5-11 years old running around, each going their own way, it was chaos.spider-cookies

After years of trying to throw the perfect party, I should have know better. And even with my party planner in hand, there were still a few mishaps. (For those who do party planning for a living, I salute you!)

The cake balls turned to mush, because I added too much frosting (and you can’t “Undo” something like that.) The spiders on the cookies didn’t get their legs piped on, because I ran out of time. And the “Pop the Pumpkin” game was scrubbed because I couldn’t get it stuck to the wall.(It was difficult to make,anyway.) And I forgot all about “Stick the Spider on the Web” game until after the party was over.popcorn

The banana ghosts and apple mouths were okay, but didn’t turn out like the picture. I scurried to get the mummy hotdogs out of the oven and get the meat eyeballs in before the guests started to arrive. Lack of time became an issue, and I found myself getting stressed out.

Next year I will take an entire day to get ready, instead of just a few hours.

So why was this party important to me? For the same reason I had a lot of parties for my kids when they were little. Kids aren’t little for very long, but these memories will last a lifetime.

I still hear from my adult children, “Remember when …?” And the smiles and laughter that follow tells me I did a good thing.

And when Lori laughed and asked me if I had ever seen the pictures of “Pinterest Fails,” I smiled, because I knew it was true. You have to be able to laugh at yourself. Otherwise, it’s no fun.

The ruined cake pops and the other mishaps didn’t matter. No one ever knew I had forgotten a few things and there was plenty to eat and everyone had a lot of fun.

I created a good memory for my grandchildren. They know I’m not perfect but love me anyway. I can’t ask for much more than that.

“Blessed are those who can laugh at themselves, for they shall never cease to be amused.”

Halloween is a young person’s holiday

I love Halloween. Or I used to, anyway. It’s still one of my favorite holidays, but as I’ve matured, it’s lost some of its luster.

Happy Halloween!

Happy Halloween!

Going trick or treating and getting my hands on all that candy was probably the biggest thrill, but my older brother is a master story-teller. His rendition of “The Golden Arm” had me shaking and running for the security of mom’s lap.

“Come back,” he’d call from under the makeshift tent in the living room. “I’m not done!”

But I didn’t care. After a while I’d peek around the corner in time to see the flashlight disappear under the sheet and hear Jim moan, “Give me my golden arm…”

I saw Alfred Hitchcock’s movie “The Birds,” one Halloween after coming in from Trick or Treating. It scarred me for a very long time.  I think it was because I looked up at the TV, just as the birds were attacking the children, as they ran from the school. The close-ups of their eyes and beaks of the birds as they pecked the children traumatized me, and I had nightmares for weeks.

Even now when I see a flock of birds gathered on the wires or a jungle gym, I tend to quicken my pace. I’m not afraid of birds. There’s just something that’s triggered whenever they begin to gather in enormous numbers.

Other scary movies that I remember growing up include, “Rosemary’s Baby,” “The Omen,” “The Exorcist,” “Salem’s Lot,” “Carrie,” and “Poltergeist.”  I usually woke up in the middle of the night and ran to my parent’s bed, where they’d reassure me there was no one after me, and yes, I could sleep with them.

I loved watching “Creature Feature,” too. This late night Fright Fest consisted of a collection of frightening movies that included such classics as “Dracula,” “Frankenstein,” “The Mummy,” and “The Werewolf.” These movies were old and cheesy, but they still gave me nightmares, too.

You’d think I’d learn my lesson, but the rush I got from being scared to death was exhilarating, and soon a lack of sleep didn’t faze me a bit.

But then something happened as I grew up. Real life got scary enough that I didn’t need the thrill of made-up ghosts and goblins. And the last Haunted House I went to scared me enough to last a lifetime.

I went to a haunted house with my boyfriend and his little sister the year I graduated high school. Deanna was a little daredevil and ran up ahead of us in the dark hallway. At one point, a man with a fake axe jumped out at us and we screamed and ran into a dark room, with only a faint light showing the way to the other side.

Eerie music surrounded us, and I could hear the screams of people on the second level. Bruce opened the door and went through, but as I followed him, someone pushed me back and the door was shut on me.

I panicked and screamed for Bruce to help me. I struggled to find the doorknob as the lights flickered. My heart started to race and I couldn’t breath. I pounded my fists against the door, still screaming.

Suddenly, the door burst open and there stood Bruce and Deanna,laughing. They had come up with a plan to scare me and were holding the door shut on purpose.

I was so mad I didn’t talk to them the rest of the night. And I haven’t been to a haunted house since.

But that’s all right. I’m content to taking it easy, passing out candy, and watching the neighbor kids enjoy the treats.

Halloween is a young person’s holiday, anyway.