I know it's all turkey and pumpkin pie now, and nobody's thinking about Halloween. But I just had to share a little about ours, because it was surprisingly...heartwarming.
Shaun's mom has established a tradition of growing pumpkins in her vegetable garden for the boys every year. They always look forward to getting them, and they don't care if the pumpkins manage to turn orange or not, which works out well in our sun-challenged region. Willem sketched out the face for his pumpkin and showed it to us: "I want it to look confused." I think he did a fine job.
A week before Halloween, we were costume-less, with Willem wanting to be a spider and Nels wanting to be Darth Vader (again.) When the internet failed to help me craft a spider costume, it was time for Plan B. I suggested that Willem be a ghost. (Which shows how desperate I was for something simple. I forgot that ghosts would normally be on my prohibited costumes list, along with demons, witches, etc. ) Shaun suggested that Nels be a logger.
Willem did not know that sheet-as-ghost is the most played out costume of all time, so he loved the idea. After an initial mild protest, Nels decided that dressing as a logger would be fun. He wore Shaun's hard hat and carried an ax. (And yes, though the blade was edged with duct tape, it took all I had not to freak out as I imagined Nels tripping over the uneven sidewalks of our dark, hilly neighborhood and landing on the ax.) He wore his own hickory shirt (Grandma and Grandpa make sure the boys always have one) and we bought him a pair of red suspenders.
I wish you could have seen the warm smiles and heard the friendly comments the boys' costumes elicited when we went trick-or-treating. One man told us about the summer he worked as a logger as a teenager. Another told us about when he was a boy and his dad logged. Both Nels's outfit and Willem's classic costume (which made him absolutely miserable, and which he begged to take off twenty minutes after putting it on) seemed to evoke a lot of fond memories. It was as though the men opened their doors and, seeing our boys, looked right into the past.
Knocking on our neighbors' doors and being unexpectedly blessed with their stories filled me with goodwill. It's not a sentiment I've ever associated with Halloween before, but I'll take it.