Once a day, maybe

It is that time of the year again, where bloggers are encouraged to blog once a day for the month of November. I will try. That is the most I am willing to commit to. Trying.

So last week Cooper’s school held a Halloween party for the kids. The PTO sponsors and runs it. It is free to the kids, which I like. I also like that there is even a Halloween party at all. So many communities and schools are all anti any celebration because they don’t want people to feel offended if you don’t observe that holiday. I am of the opinion that if I don’t observe something, we won’t observe it. Have a party, we just won’t go. But we DO OBSERVE HALLOWEEN in Casa de Cooper. It is hands down one of my favorites. It is all about costumes, fun, pumpkins and candy. You are not required to buy presents for anyone or plan and then have a meal with anyone. Unless you want to.

The party was being organized by another mom, and I said I would help. I innocently asked how many people generally attend. “We had about 400 kids last year” was the response. Pardon me while I lay down for a minute. That is a lot of popcorn and donuts. Speaking of donuts, have you ever gone into a grocery store and said “Hi. I would like 45 dozen donuts.” No? I have. There is a mixture of looks, ranging from “Funny, she doesn’t look like a binge eater” to “KA-CHING! I just sold 45 dozen donuts!” We wiped out their supply of plain donuts and all but one sleeve of a dozen was consumed during the party.

Observations from the party: People don’t listen to any instruction under any circumstance. Having a costume contest and you want just the preschoolers to stand on the line? Expect EVERY KID OF EVERY AGE to stand on that line. Give the instruction, again, that ONLY PRESCHOOLERS should stand on the line, and everyone else should take one giant step back, and note that not one kid moves. Go to the kid who is 5 feet tall and practically growing facial hair and ask what grade he is in. “Fifth” will be the answer. “Are you IN PRESCHOOL?” you ask. “No…” THEN MOVE BACK you almost yell into his ear. To which he will grudgingly respond by stepping one centimeter back. Multiply by 20 and that was how the costume contest went.

I don’t even want to get into how the cake walk went. I had never done a cake walk, so I did some research. We asked for donations of either purchased or homemade baked goods. We thought we would get maybe 20 things. We got 40. YAY! I decided to improvise the instructions. It is like musical chairs, only you win a baked product. We put 20 numbers on the floor in a circle. We intended that for each round, 20 kids would stand on the circle. We would play music for 10 seconds or so while the kids walked around the circle. When the music stopped, everyone stopped on a number, we would draw a number from a plastic pumpkin, whomever was standing on that number won a baked good. Do 40 times.

Go back to the observation about the costume contest. Do not be surprised that not one person paid any attention to any instruction given for the cake walk. You want one kid on each number? You get 4 on each number. Want kids to walk in a circle when the music plays? NO ONE MOVES when the music plays. Tell kids they need to move off after their turn so others can have a chance to win? NO ONE LEAVES THE CIRCLE.

Next year, if they choose to do the cake walk again, we will have to implement some different strategies to control access and participation so everyone gets a fair chance and I don’t get in that kid in the white sweatshirt’s face again and tell him “You have been here for 5 turns. MOVE OFF” risking that I might get kneecapped in the parking lot later.

All in all I think most people had fun. The other mom in charge took on creating a haunted hallway, which seemed based solely on the expressions on the faces and the screams being emitted by the kids emerging from the exit, to be a roaring success. As I said to her hours before it started, “It is a free party. A chance for kids to dress in costume, be in a safe place, get free snacks, prizes and generally have fun. If someone doesn’t like it, too freaking bad.”

My favorite part of the party, the pumpkin stroll. People were encouraged to bring their carved pumpkin, so we could light it (with battery operated tea lights) and put them on the patio for all to enjoy. These three were my contribution.

Til next year…

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