Caleb was up sick from 3:00 am until 7:45 am this morning. So we all slept until after noon.
With someone throwing up at night, we didn't feel like we could go out and do all the activities on our list (Day of the Dead Festival at the museum, helping put together a museum-quality dinosaur skeleton replica down in Boulder, Halloween party with friends, trick or treating at the church.). But I didn't feel like I could let the kids down, either. I really feel strongly that Mom's job is to be the safe place, the anchor, and the stability in the family, regardless of what troubles are swirling around. It's my job to make the home, and make it feel stable and safe and happy. And getting sick for the week of Halloween doesn't excuse me from making good memories for the kids.
So, some quick thinking and we came up with an alternate plan. The kids had wanted to do jack-o-lanterns, and they'd saved their own money to buy the pumpkins, so we went to the store and let them buy their own pumpkins. Then we came home, let them draw faces on the pumpkins, and dressed for Trick-or-treating.
Instead of the traditional trick-or-treating, we joined up with our ward and the other ward who meets in our church building, and everyone lined their cars up in the parking lot and opened the trunks, and we went "trunk-or-treating." It's fast way to trick or treat the houses of all the people you know all at once. Less tiring, less dangerous, more fun. This was the first year in Colorado that we had a nice, warm evening--no snow for once. We didn't even need coats, and I was warm wearing a long-sleeved shirt! So the kids went 'round to two wards, got to hang out with their friends from church, and got TONS of candy.
Then we came home and let them eat candy while Tim and I rested, not so much from the walking as from the costuming and shepherding kids the whole way through.
We let the kids eat all their candy at once and get it over with. A sugar hit from half the candy is about the same as a sugar hit from all the candy or from three pieces, so we might as well just have ONE sugar hit, right? So we don't ration or take it away or anything like that. Our dentist approves, too--less sugar on their teeth overall. And if the rare child shows up who can ration their own candy, then they have the self-control to also handle it carefully, and I'm okay with that. So the kids went into the TV room to play nintendo, and Tim and I rested, and then we did a "Pumpkin Fest" (as Anda called it).
We gave each of the big kids a "sharp" (Benji's word for the kind of knife he can't use) and taught them how to carve pumpkins. I was amazed that these kids who willingly dig mud canals in the yard and maintain them all summer were disgusted by pumpkin guts. Daniel, who loves to cook and play with dough and loves to play in the mud and dirt, refused categorically to even touch the stuff. Anda, who usually still prefers to eat with her hands (even pudding), also hesitated (although she eventually got the job done, and done well). Caleb did some and then quit because he didn't like his hands to be so slimy. Eventually we got 5 pumpkins carved anyway. We cut off the bottoms, too, so we could just set them over the candles. Nathanael joyfully said, "OH! Can sing Happy Birthday now!"
The kids lined the carved, lit Jack-o-Lanterns up on the long side of the table and then lined up chairs in front of them and sat there, happily eating candy at their Pumpkin Fest, for a long time while they talked and just enjoyed themselves.
Everyone seems happy enough, so I think we survived Halloween.
I told the kids that Sunday might officially be Halloween, but we don't do these kinds of parties on Sunday, so they were okay with doing it all today. We had planned to have some friends come visit tomorrow, but I don't think they want to take the risk of having the pukey sickness go through their 4 kids, too. So tomorrow might be really quiet around here. And that's okay, too.