If hell ever opened up a 10th circle, because the first 9 are getting crowded, people might be chained up in there on those circular contraptions, like ponies on the pony ride. You know, pony rides that you see at orchards and farms the month of October. Plodding, plodding, plodding, over hay and manure, in a circle, with toddlers on their backs…for eternity.
Not that there’s anything wrong with October. I welcomed it gushing about it’s beauty, hitting ‘Like’ on the Anne of Green Gables quote people were slinging around the Internet — you know, “I’m so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers.”
I agree. I love October. It is my favorite month of the year. Yet I’m so glad it’s over, Anne with an ‘e’!
We were too busy to carve pumpkins this year. We *meant* to go to an adorable farm where they have things like pony rides and hay bales and apple cider, but we never got there.
It’s really for the best.
I have an unfortunate string of associations in my mind with those places. Like the story I wrote about the pony on the pony ride contraption that lost its mind, bucked a 2-year-old off and then stomped on her head. And then there was the one about the teenage carriage driver who was paralyzed while her horses went crazy while she drove parents and little people around on a hay ride. She fell under the wagon and was run over. *Then* I found a man who has a blog he keeps specifically for the purpose of documenting hay ride accidents. He’d make a perfect feature on ‘This American Life.’ Being a reporter ruins perfectly adorable, fun things. Or maybe it’s just...me.
No matter, because even though my mind twists around things normal people find adorable, being a parent makes me want to cram all the cuteness I can possibly manage into the month of October.
We went to Pumpkinville in OKC about 5 times. The place is glorious! It’s a park decorated with 3,000 pumpkins, hay, scarecrows, etc. etc. That’s where we had most of our October fun.
Of course, the first Halloween with my own two little pumpkins meant my mind went wild with the possibilities for: PAIR COSTUMES.
Laila is obsessed with a talking Batman book she has, so she wanted to be Batman. No problem! Eli would make the perfect Robin.
All was well until we lost Laila’s Batman costume. We thought we left it at her preschool Wednesday, the day before Halloween. Her program is three days a week, and Halloween was a Thursday, a non-school day.
Wednesday night, after school, we were going to a Halloween event called Haunt the Zoo. Eli and Laila had to match. For the pictures. The memories. The cuteness. Well, it was after hours and the school was closed. So no dice.
Haunt the Zoo is another OKC October event that is adorable. This one hadn’t even been ruined for me! Except for the time a fellow reporter gave me insider information that the lions stalk children from their enclosures at night events like Haunt the Zoo. Ok, that really barely ruined anything. Maybe I would cast a side glance or two around the big cat enclosures, sure, but, whatever.
Mark and I took Laila to the zoo in the only non-ripped princess costume of hers I could find. It had a coffee stain on the front. I think it was coffee. It was a mystery. Eli went as Batman.
At the zoo, they give candy out at all kinds of creative exhibits of the fantastical and frightening, and parents take pics of kids looking adorable posing by sea creatures and aliens and gnomes and fortune tellers.
At the nuclear disaster exhibit, I blurted out “Say Fukushima, darling!”
No one laughed.
“Come on Laila, let’s move on.”
We slinked away.
I am going to end up chained to a pony ride contraption for eternity some day.
We finished up at Haunt the Zoo.
Halloween Day, I was still faced with a missing Batman costume.
In between assignments at work, I messaged Laila’s teachers and the school. I had to get in there and see if her Batman outfit was in class. Class — is it open? Please say it’s open!
In the mean time, I rushed to Target. I needed a back-up plan for the missing Batman outfit in case I couldn’t get into the school, or, if Batman wasn’t there at all.
Coffee stain princess and Robin wasn’t going to cut it. Not for my kids.
On the picked-over racks at Target, Spiderman was overstocked and there were Hulks for the masses, but, there was no Batman. Well, one Batman, but it looked like it would fit a 10 year old.
Then, there it was.
On a hanger, with no tag, a cape missing and no other parts, hung a pink, sparkly Bat Girl…shift. I’ll call it a shift.
It would have to do.
I begged the woman at the cash register to let me buy it at a discount. Her manager gave the go-ahead.
“You just saved Halloween!” I cried out on my way out the door, clutching my pink sparkly Bat Girl shift.
I heard back from the school – someone could let me in!
I raced over, like, well, a bat outta hell.
A maintenance man opened the classroom door and I brushed past him toward Laila’s cubby. Therein, a plastic bag. In the plastic bag, an inexplicably soaking wet Batman costume.
I was saved. She wouldn’t have to be a girly Batman sans Batman accessories, nor a coffee stain princess!
Sure, there was the unexplained dripping wet costume, but that can be fixed. I’ll just throw it in the dryer and hope it’s not wet for some disgusting reason. Ignorance was bliss…
I rushed home from work, stuffed dinner down and headed out to Trick or Treat with Mark and the kids. We had no real plan–like we have time to make a plan! Luckily, Mark drove down our road and we hit a neighborhood that did have a plan. It blocked off roads. The historic homes were Haloweened to the hilt. Ghosts hung from the trees. Giant spiders climbed to the rooftops. Someone blasted Thriller.
Granted, I was in the worst mood in recent history given the day I’d just had, but no matter. I let Mark take Laila around. Eli and I hung back on the road, taking in the scenery.
Look, Eli! A pregnant teenager who painted her bare belly like a pumpkin…underneath a hot yellow bra…
Ah, kids these days.
We wrapped up our excursion pretty quickly.
The day’s maneuvers to achieve Halloween perfection yielded just a couple of shots of Eli and Laila together, in which Eli was screaming.
That, and my bad mood!
So maybe, next year, I’ll chill the pony ride 10th circle out. I won’t try to fit it all in.
The kids will be thrilled no matter what. They’re kids!
And I’m thrilled. Because it’s November now. I’ve now had enough of October.
Now, onward, to the holiday season. *Gulp*
How do you keep your family from overdoing the holidays? Help…I need help. Do you have a good experience to share in which you either overdid it or kept it simple? Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, etc…I’ll take anything. Leave a comment or send a note.