(Post-A-Day Challenge, Day 31)
Yay! I made it to Day 31 of my Post-A-Day Challenge! Which means that come next month, we’ll be back to our usual two-or-three times a week schedule, of which one will be a Thursday NaNoWriMo update, one will be a continuation of the Dragon Friday story, and one will be a possible Monday/Tuesday posting on writing and/or general creativity.
But today is Halloween, which for Beloved Husband and me means dressing up. Not just ourselves, but our yard.
See, we’ve got the world’s best yard for Halloween. It’s surrounded by tall hedges, and full of trees and bushes and shrubberies and creeping vines, and grape arbors and crunchy leaves. To all of that, we usually add a plethora of lights, a jack-o-lantern, some tombstones, and occasionally a ghost (though we didn’t get him out there this year–the kids started coming too soon after I got home from work tonight–around 5:30). And we augment the natural spider and spiderweb population with artificial ones. Oh, and then there’s Hedge Monster.
Hedge Monster is a little gizmo that we can tuck into one of our shrubberies and tie down with twist ties. Then, when someone brushes up against that shrubbery, Hedge Monster growls menacingly, eyes glowing, and shakes the bushes. And sometimes, he chuckles evilly. He’s great.
Of course, every year, we think of all sorts of things we can do for next year…which we then forget by next year. Like this year, when we thought, “Wouldn’t it be great to have some of those pumpkin-shaped bags to stuff some of these leaves we’re raking up into so we could decorate the yard with them?” And then, when we went to get out our supply of treat bags and little toys (more on those in a minute), we found a good half-dozen of those leaf bags. We’d apparently had the same great idea while we were at the post-Halloween sales last year!
One of the other things we do is to put together little treat bags. There are a couple of reasons for this. One is that we are carrying on my mom’s tradition. Hers used to be really good — she’d put in a full-sized candy bar, and maybe half a dozen pixy stix, and five or six other pieces of candy besides. She could afford to do that because they only ever got ten or fifteen trick-or-treaters at most.
Our bags of candy are less extravagant, but still decent–this year, we had one fun-sized candy bar, one non-chocolate candy (sweetarts or nerds or packets of candy corn), and one tootsie-roll variant. Plus a little toy–stretchy rats and spiders and pumpkin-shaped erasers. We even had a few little tubs of Play-Doh. And they go into little plastic treat bags. We gave away around 220 such bags this year. That was when we ran out. In fact, we had to scrape together the last few scraps of candy to give to our last visitor. And then we turned out the lights and ran inside. It was just about 9:00 pm, which is when we usually wrap things up anyway. But that means that there was no leftover candy for us. (Oh well. I’m on a diet anyway.)
The other reasons for the treat bags are that it lets us control how much each kid takes (we have had kids reach in and grab huge handfuls of candy), and it lets us track how many kids we got. Obviously, we need to plan for a few more next year.
Next year, we’re working on plans for little LED lights that can glow from in the hedges, and a plan to have the fog machine set up so fog rolls down the stairs, and maybe a way to play random sound effects from different parts of the yard. And we need to see if we can find a second Hedge Monster….
How do other people dress up their yards for Halloween? Do you get lots of trick-or-treaters, or only a few? What scary surprises do you plan for them?