Yesterday we celebrated our first Halloween in Los Angeles. It was a day full of Bumblebees, doggies, Harry Potters, race car drivers and numerous other costumed characters whizzing in and out of our lines of sight.
We started the day bright and early with a couple of super excited single digits. Nolan asked me about 1.3 million times when we were going to start our trek to Culver City (aka, China - the distance from our house is equal, I'm sure of it). Waiting is never fun, and Nolan and Abby reminded me of that fact every third second. His school had a Halloween carnival, with games, prizes and apparently tons of fun. Right before lunch the elementary students had a costume parade, which was super adorable. Some of the kids had very creative costumes (an ipad, pac man...)! All of the teachers and staff dressed up too, which I'm sure, made it even more exciting for the kids. One more reason to like his school...
After a short break at home where I forced my little doggie to take a nap, we drove to a friend's home to eat some pizza (after two birthday parties that served pizza over the weekend, and a pizza party at school that day, they really needed more pizza) and have some playtime before hitting the pavement to collect some much needed candy. We walked for what felt like at least five hours, although in reality it was about two. Still too long for short legs and bad shoes (just because they are sneakers, doesn't mean that your feet won't be screaming when the night is ending. Note to self: invest in some new shoes).
Kentucky trick-or-treating vs. California trick-or-treating:
*Kentucky has a set time for trick-or-treating (usually 6:00-8:00). California has no set time for trick-or-treating.
WINNER: Kentucky. In California at 9:30 there were still 300 billion costumed kids roaming the streets begging for candy. I assume that some stay out until they can't find any more participating houses. In Kentucky trick-or-treating ends at 8:00 and, for the most part, people adhere to that rule, leaving families in their homes at peace, the streets safer, and children in their beds at a decent time.
*Kentucky has the 'front porch light rule', which I think is a nationally understood rule that people in Los Angeles simply choose to ignore.
WINNER: Kentucky. I saw kids going up to dark door after dark door, banging with their fisted hands, yelling 'trick-or-treat' as loudly as possible, and incessantly ringing the doorbells, before finally giving up and heading to the next house. I don't look forward to this when we live in a more trick-or-treat friendly neighborhood and have run out of candy.
*In Kentucky the size of the costumed crowds and parents will vary depending on the neighborhood that you're trick-or-treating in. In our particular Kentucky neighborhood there are only a handful of trick-or-treaters with a decent number of houses passing out candy. In Los Angeles there are about 56 billion trick-or-treaters roaming the streets. They close off streets in some neighborhoods for safety reasons and I've been told that they get such large crowds that everyone is shoulder-to-shoulder (no thank you).
WINNER: Kentucky. It was so relaxing last year to stroll down the street with family and friends while the kids ran from door to door collecting their treats. Although we were not in one of the neighborhoods with closed streets this year, there were still so many people crowding the sidewalks and porches that I spent every second making sure I knew where my two particularly special people were.
*In California people treat Halloween the way that Kentucky treats Christmas. Some of the houses were decorated to the hilt with orange and purple lights, big blow up tunnels, fog machines, massive amounts of synthetic spider webs, and to top it all off spooky music. Kentucky yards are usually decorated with some lit jack-o-lanterns, big pumpkin leaf-filled bags, and some hanging ghosts.
WINNER: California. The Kentucky yards are charming, but cannot compare to the glitz of the California yards. Kids and parents alike (at least in our little group) had so much fun getting up close to all of the fun decorations.
*In California some of the houses set up decorated tables with punch for the kids (if you are trusting enough to give punch to your kid from a stranger's home), a candy bowl to help fill the little one's sugar buckets, bottled water for those who are parched from all of the walking, smores if you are willing to wait a minute for your marshmallow to melt, and . . . get ready for it . . . wine for the adults. That's right wine. This doesn't happen in Kentucky.
WINNER: California. We stopped at two houses that were serving your coice of white or red. I took a glass from the first one. I mean, even if it was box wine, it was just too awesome to pass up!
*In Kentucky we only go around our (rather large) block. It takes us about an hour and by the time we circle back around to our house, the buckets are almost overflowing with candy. Here, we walked for a much longer period of time, climbing the steps to many more homes, and yet walked away with buckets only half-full.
WINNER: California and Kentucky. This one is a tie. I realize that the goal is to collect as much candy as possible (and for that, Kentucky gets a point), but I appreciate having less sugary choices in the house (and less temptations for Robert and I to dig our big fingers into the plastic pumpkins), and less candy to throw away once the kids have eaten all of their favorites (thank you California).
We make an effort to display authentic Halloween decorations at our house. No plastic spiders or synthetic webs allowed! (This picture does not show just how amazingly large and terrifying this guy was. I should have changed the lens on my camera for a more accurate shot).
There are days that can only be made better by asking your mom to bury you beneath every pillow in the house.
I love that beautiful face.
And some days, when your brother is being buried beneath every pillow in the house, there is nothing left to do but dance.
An amazing and wonderful friend knew just how to make my kids happy on Halloween: send them something to bake! Thank you Erin!
Abby stirred for about two seconds before having the spoon taken away because she licked the batter.
Abby decided that Buzz needed to wear the Spiderman glove.
Nolan made sure that Elmo had a turn as well.
The finished products...
The cupcakes, also from Erin.
She was only mistaken for a cow 26 times.
The preparations for the Halloween parade at Nolan's school.
We arrived a little early to ensure that we would get a good seat. Abby decided to have her own, one person parade while we waited. She was a big hit!
Nolan's teacher, Mrs. Cerreta leading her class in the parade.
Nolan walking in the parade (they weren't allowed to wear their masks to school).
Back in the classroom for a pizza party after the parade. Nolan's other teacher Mrs. Spencer was handing out mini-ice cream cones.
Abby enjoying a piece of pizza in Nolan's classroom.
Luckily, there was enough ice cream for this little sibling.
Sitting with Niko, one of Nolan's friends in class.
When Niko got up, Abby picked up her plate and moved it to the other side of the table so that she could sit next to Nolan.
A bunch of the boys were playing on the rug and Abby joined in. She really does think that she's a big kid.
Full costume with the mask.
We went to the home of one of Nolan's classmates for dinner and play before heading out to trick-or-treat.
Harry Potter, Bumblebee, and Doggie.
Abby's happy jack-o-lantern and my alien jack-o-lantern.
Nolan's scary jack-o-lantern and Robert's old man jack-o-lantern.