But this year was one for the memory book.
Our boys loved it. They were BOTH the perfect ages to really get into it... both old enough to take part fully but still young enough to find immense joy in it. They loved the Halloween specials on TV all month, picked out their costumes a couple months ago and frequently tried to scare each other and Mommy at random moments all month by shouting "Boo!!!" whenever the opportunity presented itself.
And the day of Halloween... giddy happy all day long. Nothing is better than seeing so much excitement on your kids' faces and hearing it in their speech. I have wonderful memories from this year's Halloween that I know I will cherish one day when my kids are no longer trick or treating and I'm the one handing out candy to other parents' littles.
My favorite memories of Halloween '13...
*both kids deciding a couple of months in advance that they wanted to be Ninja Turtles. They have fallen in love with the original movies from the '80's, and luckily the turtles are making a comeback so I had no trouble at all finding a costume for each of them. It's pretty nice when you don't have to come up with a costume idea on your own. Next year, Jaden has decided he wants to be a football player, and Brandon wants to be Superman. We'll see if that sticks. :)
*surprising Brandon at his preschool costume parade. He didn't know I was coming, but since I had a light day at work, I decided to show up at the last minute. When I got to the church, they were just lining up in their classroom, and when he stepped out into the hallway with his costume on - the second in line - and saw his mommy standing there - his face was priceless. Sweet, innocent, happy. He grabbed my hand, squeezed tight and asked me to walk with him in his class line throughout the entire parade of the church. He wore that costume proudly, and when the church staff and other grandparents and parents commented on that "cute Ninja Turtle" his cheeks would turn a little bit pinker. When the parade was over and we got back to his classroom, Mrs. W lined the kids up for a class picture. I thought he would be a little upset to leave my side but he proudly took his place with his class and smiled from ear to ear for all the cameras that were going off. When I had to say goodbye, he gave me a little kiss, an "I love you" and went to sit down for carpet time. I could tell that it meant so much to him to have me there, and I'm so grateful for a job that allowed it. He'll only be three at Halloween once.
*Jaden's class party. I didn't remember doing so, but I apparently signed up to be a parent "party helper" at Kindergarten registration in August. So at the end of the school day, I went to Jaden's class and helped 20-some Kindergartners put on costumes, open juice box straws, tie shoe strings and answer the same questions a dozen times - "Are you a mommy? Are you Jaden's mommy?!" Those kids were so sweet - still at the age where they will soak up love from whomever will give it to them. It didn't matter that I wasn't their mommy... I was someone's mommy. One little boy kept calling me Nicole as if he'd known me his entire six years. I later found out that his mom's name is Nicole - so he must have felt extra comfortable with me. ;) Jaden also was so happy to have me there, and I soaked it up -- knowing that it won't be quite as cool to have your mom help out in your classroom when you're in sixth grade. :) When the school day was over and kids were getting on their coats, I got to watch Jaden complete his "job" that he had applied for a couple of weeks ago. My little chair helper diligently stacked those chars on top of each desk - not distracted at all by the chaos around him. His teacher whispered to me how grateful she was that he was actually doing his job in the middle of a party!
*Arriving at my mom and dad's before trick or treating. The kids were full of energy and so excited to tell Nana and Papa all about their day and the evening ahead. They both ate their Happy Meals quickly because they knew as soon as they were done eating, it'd be costume time. Brandon's excitement bubbled over as he repeatedly exclaimed to my mom and dad, "WAIT until you see my costume!!!!" It was a huge difference from the last few years when Brandon was hesitant to put his costume on at all. And when they were all dressed up, I actually got them to pause for pictures. This is the first Halloween where they both have been ready and willing for me to take a few, and that in itself made my night.
*the actual trick-or-treat part. Not shy this year at all, they marched from house to house - learning about only going to the houses with the lights on - ringing doorbells or knocking on doors. Brandon loved it when the doorbells were low enough for him to actually reach them, and both kids did a great job of actually saying "trick or treat!" and "thank you" at every house that opened its doors. We didn't go for too long - it was cold! - but they came away with more than enough candy, and the turtle costumes were a hit with everybody that we ran into.
*post trick-or treating. This was more fun than the actual event. We warmed up over our buckets of candy and let the kids each pick just a couple of things to eat right away.
*and their favorite part of the whole night. Handing out candy themselves when the doorbell rang. They took this job very seriously, and we let them do this for about an hour. They had a system down - Jaden would open the door and close it - Brandon would put one thing of candy in each visitor's bag. He was so in the zone with his job - he was polite but so in awe of everyone's costumes that he never said a word to any of the trick-or-treaters that he handed candy to.
*Brandon sneaking candy for his own bucket. When there was a break in the action, he would put on his most mischievous grin, grab one thing of candy out of my parents' candy bucket, and sneak it into his own bucket. When it was time to wrap it up for the night, he wouldn't leave his spot at the front door. I jokingly told him that since Halloween was over, Santa was now watching him very closely. He whipped his head around, eyes big, to look out the window. He literally thought he would find the jolly old man standing in his red suit right there in the driveway. So funny!
And now... we get to look forward so many more good things. Tonight, the boys and Cody are getting fitted for the tuxes to wear in James and Cassi's wedding in a few weeks. Thanksgiving is coming, Christmas trees are coming. And our first gift of the season has already been bought and is hiding in my office closet. Bring on turkey and stuffing and Peppermint Mochas! Happy first day of November... where is the time going?!