Halloween

This year I was reminiscing about past Halloweens.  We’ve always celebrated ‘All Hallows Eve’ with family and friends in a number of ways.   I’d like to share some of those hilarious events with my readers of Grammomsblog:

Melvin's

When I was growing up, I used to love creating a ‘haunted house’ in my family basement to take all my blind-folded friends through.  It was very low tech with peeled grapes for eyeballs, cooked spaghetti for brains, jello for it’s feel, and an electric chair (don’t ask).

Chris had his own teenage Halloween stories, like the Great Pumpkin Caper,  that you can read about here.

When my children were little during the ’80s, we’d often have daytime ‘dress-up’ parties with friends in our parent’s group.  There would be a scavenger hunt, bobbing for apples, and ‘catch-the-donut’ where we’d hang a day-old plain donut on a string and suspend it – each child had a chance to take a bite out of the swinging treat.  It was tons of fun for the children and adults alike.

CarvingPumpkins2

Carving pumpkins

Carving pumpkins has been a family tradition for 40 years.   Several weeks before Halloween, we buy local pumpkins and set them outside as decorations.  Then a few days before the 31st, we bring them inside to warm up before carving.  At one time, we had 5 or 6 big pumpkins – one for each of the kids to carve (well, okay it was really us adults who scooped and carved most of those pumpkins!).   Some years, we printed off pumpkin patterns that we found on the internet, trace the pattern onto the pumpkin with permanent marker then proceed to carve them out.  Various carving tools have been used such as paring knives, large serving spoons, screwdrivers, electric drills,  toothpicks, etc.   It was a beautiful display of flickering light through the pumpkins…… for the 7 or 8 kids who came trick-or-treating to our door.

1998Halloween

Many years ago, we began the annual tradition of setting up a Halloween ‘display’ in the front yard.   Chris cut out life-size graveyard ‘head stones’ from scrap pieces of wood, painted them white, and I wrote R.I.P. with a name and caption on them.  We installed them on the grass then laid down bags or newspaper covered with sand (often with a stuffed shirt or shoes sticking out) to make them look like they were freshly dug graves.   I made ‘ghosts’ from small, white trash bags filled with paper and tied around the neck – we hung these with fishing line on the apple trees where they blew and twisted with  ghoulish intent.  One year, we found some plastic skulls on a 3′ post and created ‘One-eyed Jack’ and his 7 friends:  Chris installed red Christmas mini-lights in the eyes and we taped wire coat hangers below the skulls where we hung white dress shirts that I bought at a thrift store for twenty-five cents each.   The ‘arms’ blew in the slightest breeze – it was positively ‘frightening’ on a dark, pumpkin-lit night!  The little kiddies had to walk right by these characters to get their well-deserved treats.   These days, the gravestones, ghostly skulls, and tree-ghosts remain packed away but my grown children still like to carve pumpkins.

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And the winner is………….

The kids have always LOVED to dress up on Halloween.  We rarely bought costumes – most were made right at home created by the children themselves.  About 21 years ago, we decided to let the kids participate in the town’s ‘Halloween’ fun day.  Kristi spend days and days taping white circles on black clothing to create a Dalmatian costume.  Baby Nellie wore a pink snowsuit and pink hat that I had sewn ‘bunny ears’ on to.  Marty wanted to be a hockey player so he dug out a helmet and hockey stick to go with his team jersey.  Taylor reluctantly agreed to come along and, at the last minute, ripped his jeans a little more, applied ‘zombie’ make-up, and wore a fake ‘knife-through-the-head’.  All the participating children paraded down the main street of town and back up again ……….. and Taylor dragged his leg limping, for effect, the whole way.  Some of the other children’s costumes were obviously expensive looking, store bought and very lovely.  At the end of the celebration, the organizers announced the winners of the best costume and the grand prize of $25.00  went to……….. ‘the limping kid with the knife through his head’!  lol!   Kristi STILL hasn’t forgotten that!

Our Pumpkinmobile

Our Pumpkinmobile

The kids always loved going around our neighbourhood on Halloween night……. and so did we.  Often, we hadn’t seen some of our neighbours much over the summer so this was a great opportunity to say hello – the kids hated it when we’d talk and talk when they just wanted to go to the next place.  One year, Chris tied down our largest pumpkin on top of the van and installed his blue, flashing plow light inside for the drive over to the next road.  I think we created the first Pumpkinmobile!  lol

A decade ago, we were hosting neighbourhood halloween parties on the Saturday before halloween.   Everyone, children AND adults, would dress up.  We would have a potluck supper then games for the kiddies, apple-bobbing, and in-house scavenger hunt  followed by  Hockey Night In Canada.  The night wasn’t complete until our neighbour Mike performed his animated recitation of “The Cremation of Sam McGee” in front of the woodstove fire with all the lights out – it was spellbinding!

Halloween Party2002

Neighbourhood Halloween Party

And who can forget the neighbourhood ‘Haunted House’……..

Those were memorable days…….

HAPPY HALLOWEEN EVERYONE!

 

 

Sleepover

 

I’m a lucky Grammom. This weekend my granddaughters came for a sleepover. My grandson had been here for a sleepover a few times this summer as well. School starts in just a few days and I wanted to have them over one more time before their hectic scholastic schedule begins. All summer they’ve been busy with many activities like playing with friends; a camping holiday with their parents (my son Darin and daughter-in-law Amanda) to Lake Placid, New York; pedicures; Ultimate Frisbee; reading; sewing (each of them used their great-grandmother’s sewing machine to make something); swimming; visiting; more camping for each of them individually with their Daddy – Thirty-one Mile Lake in Quebec for Livi and the Inrig Homestead (my daughter Kristina and son-in-law Mike’s 45 acre place) for Kalia, where the fishing is the best.
Kalia phoned me the morning that they were coming because I had asked her if there was anything special she wanted while at Gramma’s – she remembered, Chocolate Milk. So I went into town and bought Chocolate Milk.
When the girls arrived, they came inside lugging suitcases full of stuffed animals and a change of clothes. You’d think they were coming for a week! lol They HAD to have their best stuff animals with them at night as they got to sleep in Melvin’s room, now that he’s moved away to go to college. They were VERY excited to be in Melvin’s room because all his stuffed animals are still up on his shelf over his bed. They get to pull down their favourites like the 6′ dragon and the 5′ snakes and line them up in the middle of the double bed.

Watching Movies
As soon as they arrived in the afternoon, we began to plan our ‘moviefest’. We always love to watch old Disney movies and any new movies that have been released. Last time they came, Kalia discovered the older movie ‘Matilda’ and we watched it a couple of times – it became her new favourite movie at the time. The girls usually do some baking with Aunt Nellie – cookies or cupcakes or a cake. This weekend, the weather was hot, humid, and rainy so it was a good inside-day. We watched ‘Monsters University’, taking a break for a spaghetti supper and frozen yogurt for dessert. Then as it got dark, we watched ‘Road to El Dorado’ followed by ‘The Swan Princess’. The girls must have been pretty tired because Livi even sat through the movies, pausing only once to go downstairs for a new ‘dress-up’ outfit.

 

I don’t think I ever packed up the toys after my kids got older because my youngest child Melvin was only 8 years old when his niece Kalia was born. We have 4 boxes of ‘toys’ downstairs which I must ‘clean out’ some day soon. There’s a box of dress-up clothes that I will likely never get rid of – Livi has always loved to dress-up at Gramma’s house. In fact, I think it’s the first thing she does every time she comes! There are an assortment of costumes, some of which we’ve had for decades: a ‘Sailor Moon’ costume that Nellie used to love wearing when she was little; Esmeralda’s dress from Disney’s Hunchback of Notre Dame; two Harry Potter Gryffindor Robes from the halloween that Nellie and Melvin dressed up as Harry Potter characters; a red velvet cape; a flowered silky, fringed shawl which transforms Livi into the ‘poor little match girl’ or a sophisticated lady; and, among other outfits, an old, hand-me-down shiny pink dress with a black sparkly bodice that my oldest daughter Kristi used to love wearing, then Nellie, and now Livi – she’s even slept in this dress on occasion!

We have a box of little steel vehicles and tiny characters that are great to set up and be a ‘Godzilla’ to walk over. Then we have a container full of action figures, Scooby-doo characters, etc. plus another with odds’n ends. I’ve already packed away the bags of wooden blocks, the vintage ‘Sesame Street’ house and all the ‘Little People’ and their furniture, and several containers of Star Wars toys. And I’ve sent the ‘ball tent’ to Kristi’s house for her younger children.

Dress-up
On some other occasions, we’ve gone to the park down the road to play on the play-structure, fed my pond fish, done puzzles, gone fishing or thrown stones in the water down at our beach, taken our old dog Yukon for a walk or gone for a hike on ‘Private Prop’. But today we’re just veggin because it’s wet outside.
This morning, the girls were up pretty early (7 a.m.) considering they were awake until almost 11 p.m. with various excuses like Livi’s leg ache, Kalia taking all the covers (but Livi didn’t want her own covers with exactly the same Star Wars pattern!), Kalia wouldn’t share the book that Livi wanted to read at that exact moment, well, you know…… Bedtime was a bit late at 9 p.m. but after all, this IS Gramma’s!
We’ve just finished ‘special ordered’ lunch: Kalia had peanut butter and jam on whole wheat bread with orange juice to drink (the Chocolate milk was all gone), Livi had her favourite ‘Gramma’s house’ food – whole wheat toast with peanut butter and sprinkled with freshly ground flax seed and orange juice to drink, and Nellie had a toasted peanut butter and banana sandwich on whole wheat of course. Oh ya, I forgot to make myself lunch…..
It’s always a joy to have my grandchildren stay for a sleepover.

 

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