Back in my day — and no, it wasn’t all THAT long ago — Mom spent days sewing our five costumes for Halloween, as did most of the moms in the area of our neighboring small towns. Seriously, there were very few families, as most of us were farmers who could afford to drive into the city and buy a costume or order one from the Sears and Roebuck catalog. In fact, I doubt that there were enough pages left in our catalog come holiday season, seeing that most of them had been ripped out for use down at the “White House” once toilet paper had become too scarce.
Oops. TMI? Sorry. Where was I?
Oh yeah, Halloween parties.
This past weekend my Legion Auxiliary Unit 88 threw a Halloween party for about 45 kids. Yours Truly once again came up with the games and played Game Master for the event. Actually, I never thought of involving the parents and other adults as being a necessity. But, after doing this for three or four years now — seriously, I’ve lost count — I have found that the more the parents enjoy the party, the more the kids enjoy it. In fact, that goes the same for teenagers. Teens are actually the first to get bored when playing a particular game, so if you watch for their response, you’ll know about when to end a game.
Who says you still can’t learn something from the next generation?
Don’t let ‘em fool you. Parents don’t want to just sit around in uncomfortable chairs and watch their children have all the fun. Granted, the game prizes are entirely too young for adults, or so we thought until the dads started scaring women and kids with realistic spiders, including me (and I bought the darn things). Parents actually enjoy pitching in, whether it’s as simple as drawing a name from a hat or standing in the middle of the room while the kids create a spiderweb of yarn around you — maybe even standing in a corner holding a picture of a Halloween character so kids can run to you.
Parents moan and groan about having to be included, but by the time it’s over, they’re laughing right along with the kids. And when a parent brings a wee one to the party, guess who actually plays Halloween Bingo with the pieces of candy corn. . . Duh.
I knew the kids had thoroughly enjoyed the party when they came up afterwards and gave me lots of good-natured hugs and kisses accompanied by huge laughs. They were obviously still running on an exuberant high from the party, even before they had a chance to dig into the large bags of candy they hauled out of the post. But the biggest success of the party, in my mind, was when the parents came up and told me just how much fun THEY had.
Who knows just how much trick-or-treating some of these kids will actually get to do this year? They have parents working long hours for little pay and simply may not have the time or be home to escort their kids around the neighborhood. Many parents nowadays will not allow their children to go door-to-door, as neighborhoods have simply become too dangerous.
Thank goodness the churches, organizations and schools have taken up the cause for these lovely children. And a very special thank you to the parents who care enough to bring their children to these safe events, so they will have some fun and special memories for the future, not to mention something to brag about at school the next few days.
Everybody have a safe and Happy Halloween!
Bobbie Poynter is the features editor of the Times-Tribune. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org