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Halloween 2021

Halloween is certainly different when you have kids in your life. And different again during a pandemic!

First, there’s decorations. I am not a crafty person and decorating for holidays was never really my thing. But I now have a toddler who loves making art, and holidays are the perfect inspiration. Plus, when I was a kid I remember how much of a positive impact celebrating the holidays had on me. Every year my mother would put our much-loved paperboard cutouts in our windows. I had my favorites, and it really helped set the tone for a memorable season. So, decorations, it is!

With decorations in mind, Adam and I put together a couple creations, one with some typewritten lyrics incorporated. I also brought out some Halloween-y toys and a dish for candy, and our au pair spent time with Adam putting up plastic toy bats and spiders around the family room.

We also carved pumpkins again this year. It’s not something we did while living in San Francisco, partially because living in a high rise didn’t exactly make it easy to showcase our beautifully carved pumpkins, but mostly due to my travel schedule. For years, October was a busy travel month, and most years I was traveling for conferences on Halloween. I had Halloween in Hamburg, Copenhagen, and while pregnant with Adam, in Nashville. With kids, it’s a holiday I’ll definitely be spending at home for the foreseeable future.

Up until the morning before the pumpkin carving I still wasn’t sure what I’d carve. It’s such a magnificent opportunity just once a year, I don’t want to waste it! But given our Star Wars theme costume-wise, I finally settled on creating an R2-D2 pumpkin. I spent a few minutes scouring the internet for a design, and all of them seemed too complicated for someone who is not artistically inclined. I searched for some other Star Wars options, but finally came back to designing one on my own. I think it came out nicely, so I’ll create a template when I can make some time.

Nearly 11 month old baby Aaron came close to the pumpkins to check them out, but mostly sat in his high chair, watching with fascination as we carved.

Adam is currently going through a “ew, yucky” phase where anything messy is subject to rejection. That means pumpkin carving was not on his to-do list. I encouraged him to help, but he wasn’t super keen on “getting yucky” by helping me yank the guts out of a pumpkin. Naturally, he was totally into it when we got out the knives, hah! But since we aren’t horrible parents, we kept his collaboration knife-wise to a minimum.

Our au pair from Brazil joined us in the fun, and had never carved a pumpkin. She went with a conservative choice of Jack Skellington, and knocked it out of the park. She later expressed regret at not selecting something more difficult!

Adam’s first Halloween he was about 10 months old, which wasn’t really old enough to do trick-or-treating (he didn’t eat candy yet!) so the primary celebration we had was going to the village and walking around with all the other families and seeing their costumes, and we sported our own costumes and took pictures. In 2020 there was a pandemic, which drastically limited options, we stuck to setting out candy and just taking some pictures, since going door to door was still pretty unsafe.

This year, we started feeling a little safer at outdoor events. On Saturday we went to a truck-or-treat put on by a local real estate agency. It was within walking distance of home, at a park we’re familiar with, so we figured if it was too busy, we could easily come home. It turned out to be nice. Adam got to get candies from a half dozen cars parked there, and they were giving away pizza and popcorn, two of his favorite things!

Paused on our walk home from the truck-or-treat

Sunday we went to another event in a park. This time was with a local mom group that I’m part of. The event had been rescheduled from the weekend before due to rain, so it was more than I planned to do in one weekend, but I didn’t want to miss the opportunity. The four of us hopped into the truck and drove out to the park in Hayward to meet up with other families. This park had a couple playgrounds and so we got to enjoy snacks with the boys. MJ mostly carried little Grogu (Aaron) around, while Princess Leia (me) followed The Mandalorian (Adam) all around the park.

Grogu also got to check out the swings.

While The Mandalorian stopped for a snack.

Things were still a little uncertain for trick-or-treating. We put out a table where people could freely retrieve their own candy.

Our neighborhood was a mix of people not participating, people putting out unattended tables, and a few giving out candy at their door while masked. Our au pair joined us (dressed as Rey!) and we did a 30 minute walk up and down our street. It was short, but Adam is still not really old enough to have much candy, and even that far for a not-even-three year old took quite a bit of wrangling! It was a lot of fun to take him out for his first proper trick-or-treating, once he started understanding it, he really got into it.

Finally, as the evening wound down I got to have a bit of fun re-enacting a Star Wars scene with my costume and my pumpkin.

In all, it was a tiring Halloween, but one full of great memories! I suspect this year may be the last we’ll be able to dress up Adam how we want to, he may actually have opinions about his costume next year. We still have a couple of years for little Aaron though.