Tag Archives: Halloween

“I said, ‘I don’t want to carve a damn pumpkin!'”

I was over carving pumpkins a few years ago, bur B insisted that we must carry on the tradition of 3 jack-o-lanterns: one carved by each of us.  *SIGH*  Last year, the hubs joined in and bullied me into carving something. I barely made an effort and I took my frustrations at them out on the poor gourd.

This year, I was quite clear that I am NOT carving a pumpkin, no matter what anyone says! B is a teenager now, he’s going trick-or-treating with friends and no parent tag-a-longs, for goodness sake! If I can allow him to do that, he can accept my desire to not carve a pumpkin.

So, once the hubs finished hunting yesterday morning, B and I took a break from running errands to meet him for lunch. Afterwards, I went on to do the grocery & costume accessory shopping and B went with the hubs. They were going to pick out pumpkins for themselves. I was so happy that they made no attempt to convince me to come and pick out a pumpkin for myself. I even reminded the hubs before we parted that he is only buying two for them because I Will. Not. Be. Carving. This. Year.

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Then I came home from my errands to find this on the back porch.

Me: I said, “I don’t want to carve a damn pumpkin!”

The hubs: I know. But I thought you might change your mind and I wanted to save you the hassle of running around tomorrow to find one. You have so much to do tomorrow.


He just smiled, kissed me patronizingly on the head, and walked away.

I’m not doing it people! I am declaring it so here, in public, y’all as my witnesses, that I will NOT be carving that damn pumpkin!


B’s Homemade Transformer Costume for Halloween 2014

The hubs and I are so proud of B!  He wanted to make his own Transformer costume and he did.  He took boxes from our and my parents’ basements, he rooted through our recycle bin regularly and our first floor was full of cardboard, scissors, yards of duct tape and determination for 2 months.  First he made it the way he imagined.  It was awesome, but not practical for walking up and down stairs while trick-or-treating nor transforming on small front stoops.  So he redesigned it for trick-or-tricking – removed parts from his legs and attached it all to the body of the tank so he could walk freely and transform while standing.  So proud of this kid!


Original design with B inside

Original design, transforming from Tank to robot from the ground. B is inside.

Original design as robot

Original design, transformed into robot. Sections attached to his legs were not practical for trick-or-treating.


I love the rivets he added when attaching the costume together for trick-or-treating. They look like they belong on a tank.

I love the rivets he added when attaching the costume together for trick-or-treating. They look like they belong on a tank. And I think he did a great job painting the boxes with several colors to create the camo and autobot symbol.

Finally, here is a video of how he went trick-or-treating:


I Made Peace with Our Poltergeist

Yes, we have a poltergeist.  I’ve been aware of him since 2005 however, looking back, the hubs realized that he’s probably been with us since the beginning (1995).  Yes, I said “he”;  It is a man and we know who he is.  I have always believed in ghosts and been deathly afraid of them.  I hoped that they would leave me be, because I scare very easily.  I’ve believed my whole life that the manner in which I die would be scared to death.  Truly!  Always been a scaredy cat.  I don’t watch horror movies; i get nightmares from the commercials.   As a child, I thought the Gremlins lived under my bed, Darth Vader lived in my basement and the Boogie Man roamed the halls of my house after everyone turned in.  If the hubs is away, I bring B into our bed at night, lock the bedroom door and leave the TV on all night.  So when I realized we had a poltergeist in our house, I thought I would go mad with fear.  I mean it literally.  I felt the panic that I had once felt during those two years of hell after I was raped.  But this morning, I realized I am finally at peace with him.  I actually love him and am glad he’s around, although I wish he’d stop messing with me!

So, let’s start at the beginning.  Actually, this is not the real beginning – not when he showed up.  But this is when I became aware of a poltergeist in our home.  The hubs had suspected who he was for some time but didn’t share the identity with me until a few years ago.  So, let’s head back to 2005…

It was a lovely, warm day and I was folding laundry in our bedroom.  B was playing, going back and forth from our bedroom and his.  We were renting a 3 story town home and the bedrooms were on the top.  There was no basement to the house; all 3 stories were above ground.  First floor had the front door, sliding glass doors in the back,a one car garage, family room and full bath; second floor had a kitchen, dining room and living room; third floor had 3 bedrooms and 2 baths.  For some reason, I did not have the TV nor radio on, so it was fairly quiet.  All of a sudden I heard the sound of a dining room chair being knocked over on the floor below.  I froze.  My heart stopped.  (As I type this, I’m reliving the fear from that day!  *shudder*)  Within 10 seconds, I heard the sound of a glass being knocked over on the kitchen counter.  Someone was in the house!

Before having B, this scaredy cat would have curled into a ball and either, a) been killed by the ax murderer who broke into the house or, b) died of fright before he made it to the top of the stairs!  But I was a mom and the instinct to protect my child got me moving.  I grabbed the phone on the nightstand, called the hubs at work and went to the top of the stairs.  When the hubs answered, I said loudly, “Someone’s broken into the house.  You need to come home now.  NOW!”  Luckily, my hubs is an action man, not a “Wait, what?  Calm down and give me all the details” kinda man.  He said, “Is B with you?”  “Yes.”  “Barricade yourself in your bedroom.  Call 911.  I’m on my way.”  He hung up.  I had not heard any more noise since the glass fell and no one had proceeded up the stairs yet, so I didn’t call 911.  I had hoped that the person thought the house empty since it was so quiet and now, realizing it was not they were thinking of leaving.

I spoke loudly and angrily from the top of the stairs, “Whoever you are, you better get the Hell out of my house RIGHT NOW.  My husband is on his way.  He carries a gun for work and his office is less than 5 minutes away.  I promise you, you will regret being here when he arrives, because the police will NOT be called and no one will find your body.”  I don’t know where that speech came from!  The hubs was at least 20 minutes away and had no gun.  But I was so mad that this person dared to come into my house with my child that I clung to the anger.  The alternative was panic.

I slammed the bedroom door, locked it and pushed my hope chest, nightstand and one bureau in front of it.  I grabbed the golf club under the hubs’ side of the bed and took B into the bathroom.  I locked the bathroom door and we both got into the tub.  I held the club in my left hand and the portable phone in my right.  I punched in the numbers 911 and hovered my thumb over the send button. I didn’t realize how tightly I was gripping both items until I heard our secret, family knock on the bedroom door, and had to put them down  to open the bathroom door.  I stood in the open bathroom door, silently, and waiting for the knock again.  It came, followed by, “Jessie?  It’s me.  It’s OK.  I’ve searched the whole house and no one’s here.  Open the door.”  He’d driven home like a bat out of Hell and spent 10 minutes searching the house.

After I moved the furniture and opened the bedroom door, he scooped B up in one arm and me in the other.  After I stopped shaking he told me what he’d found when he came home: the entire house was locked – all doors and windows – no one had broken in.  The only things out of place were a knocked over chair in the dining room and a glass in the kitchen.  “Well, someone was here!  Neither one of those were knocked over when we came upstairs and I heard them fall!”  “Then someone used a key,” he replied.  “But I doubt they’ll be back.”  We were renting the house at the time.  The owner got the house in her divorce settlement and she was currently living with the boyfriend that broke up the marriage.  I’d not heard good things from the neighbors about him and we thought it must have been him.  The hubs promised to call the owner and have a talk with her.  Despite my begging, he had to go back to work.

But I soon realized that no one had used a key to get into the house; it was a poltergeist.  A week later he started messing with me daily, but never in front of B or the hubs, so the hubs thought I was imagining things.  The owner’s bedroom was in the back of the house and in the front were 2 bedrooms side-by-side.  One was B’s room and the other the office.  B liked his door left open while he napped, so when I was on the computer at nap time, I shut the office door.  We had a loud, clacky keyboard and I didn’t want to wake B up.  Every time I was in the office, I heard footsteps walk down the hall from the stairwell to the office door and then the ghost knocked on the door!  I’d open it up but there’d be no one there.  On the nights that the hubs went to the basement to watch a game while I watched one of my shows in the bedroom, I’d hear the ghost’s footsteps start outside B’s door and walk down the hall to the threshold of our bedroom.  I kept the door open so I could hear B.  He would pause in the doorway for a few minutes,  Staring at me?  Watching TV with me?  And then I’d hear his footsteps head downstairs.

Then one time, several months later, I was out running errands on the weekend, B was taking a nap and the hubs was in the office with the door closed.  There was a knock at the office door.  He opened the door, but there was no one there.  Because of what I’d been telling him about my encounters, the hubs just stood in the doorway and waited.  After a minute or 2, he heard the footsteps walking away from him down the hall and down the stairs.  I was so relieved it’d finally happened to him!  A year after the ghost (I know, I switched from calling him a poltergeist to a ghost a little bit ago; it’s just because ghost is shorter to type) first appeared, our lease was up and we moved.  I was so happy because I believed that most ghosts haunt in one place – where they died, where they were buried, etc. – and that the ghost would stay at that house and bother the new occupants.

We moved over the Summer of 2006 and enjoyed a ghost-free new home for 2 months.  Or so I thought.  The hubs goes to bed earlier than me because he goes into work early.  I would watch TV, after he and B were in bed, downstairs in the family room.  Every night before going to bed I would change the channel on the set top box to Noggin (OH, how I miss Noggin!).  Every morning, B would wake up, come wake me up and then head downstairs while I peed and brushed my teeth.  The TV was on the floor in the family room and he would push the on button on the TV and watch Noggin until I came down to make breakfast.

When September began, despite the fact that I had put Noggin on before going to bed, ESPN was on the TV.  Not on the weekends, when the hubs got up with B, but on the weekdays, when the hubs was at work.  Not that ESPN was bad, but we didn’t want B watching anything other than Noggin without us present.  After a couple of weeks of coming downstairs and finding ESPN on, I told the hubs that if he’s going to watch ESPN in the morning before heading to work, could he please put it back on Noggin before leaving.  He didn’t know what I was talking about.  He never turned the TV on before work, he said, because he didn’t want to wake us.  I asked him if he recorded anything on ESPN during the night; that would account for the channel change.  He said no and I checked the DVR – no recordings on ESPN at all.  We didn’t have any pets to walk on the remote and I put it up high before bed.  B could not change the channel, volume, anything.  He could only reach the buttons on the TV, not the remote, not the set-top box.

DAMN IT!  It was the ghost; I was sure of it!  The fear only lasted a few seconds before being replaced with anger.  If I’d been calm at the time, I might have wondered why he came with us.  That meant he was attached to some possession or some person in our house and was sticking with us.  But I didn’t.  The hubs evidently did, but kept his theories to himself.  He knew my fear of ghosties.

I dropped B off at preschool one morning, came back home and stood in the middle of the family room.  I yelled, “I DON’T KNOW WHO YOU ARE OR WHAT YOU WANT BUT I’M TELLING YOU TO GET. THE. FUCK. OUT. OF. MY. HOUSE!  LEAVE MY FAMILY ALONE!  GO BOTHER SOMEONE ELSE!  I HAVE A CHILD AND I WILL NOT HAVE YOU SCARING HIM!”  The next morning, and every morning after that, the TV was on Noggin.  No footsteps, no bumps in the night, just peace.  He, kindly, did what I asked of him, but not forever.  In 2007, the hubs went to Iraq.  My nerves were frayed enough as it was.  If that ghost had made itself known I probably would have gone into the funny farm!  But as soon as the hubs returned, the ghost made himself known again – crashing and banging on the upper floors.  I think he was as happy as the rest of us to have the hubs home safe and sound.

In the Summer of 2008, the house we were renting was sold and we moved to our current home.  (BTW, we’ve been together for 19 years and have moved 11 times.  We owned a house for 5 years and have lived in this house for 6 years, so the rest of those moves happened in the remaining 8 years.  I’m moving ONE. MORE. TIME. PERIOD.)  Once in this house, our ghost started walking up and down the hall at night again and stopping in our bedroom doorway to have a look.  In 2011 I received two kittens for Mother’s Day and it was quite apparent that our ghost enjoyed playing with the cats.  The ghost was also starting to make himself known to B.  B came to me, upset, about things he’d seen and heard.  I did not want him to know, but I was done talking to this guy.  He didn’t listen to me for long so I sat down with the hubs and asked him what we should do.

He finally told me he believed he knew who it was and, upon lots of reflection, he realized this person been with us since 1996.  It was the hubs’ brother, who had passed away 4 months before the hubs and I met.  Although it made me feel better to know it wasn’t some random serial killer, I didn’t know my BIL (brother-in-law).  I knew I didn’t like his behavior in my house, but the hubs said that was his personality.  The hubs told me to take B out of the house and he had a talk with his brother to please tiptoe around B.  And he does.

The hubs and his brother weren’t very close growing up but, before he died, they spent a road trip together and really got to talk and connect for the first time.  The hubs is glad to have his brother in our house.  The month of November, when my BIL died, used to be very dark  and hard for the hubs.  But not now.  He talks to his brother all the time, is happy to have him with us, watching his nephew grow up into such a wonderful young man, and he’s glad his brother no longer suffers.  I’m happy for the hubs and that my BIL doesn’t mess with B, but I wished that he didn’t constantly remind me he was here.  He’s always moving my stuff!  Taking it and having a good ‘ole laugh watching me tear up the place looking for it, and then putting it right back where it was.  However, recently, I’ve had a change of heart.

I thought I didn’t know my BIL, but I realized this month that’s not true at all.  He’s lived with me for 19 years.  He even talks to me.  He calls our names.  Isn’t that amazing?!  I thought it was creepy before but it’s actually endearing.  He calls my name when I’m in the house alone.  He knows I’m a scaredy cat and I think he’s letting me know that I’m not really alone; he’s here.  He calls my name before I fall asleep sometimes.  I don’t know if he’s saying good night or messing with me by not letting me sleep.  He was a big prankster!  But it makes me feel like he sees me as his sister and I am “blessed” with all the sibling pranks that the others got when he was alive.

This month, though, he’s stepped up his game.  Halloween time is, apparently, his favorite time of year.  He crashed something in the bedroom last week just as I was dozing off.  The hubs had fallen asleep on the couch downstairs watching a game.  My BIL would have never pulled that stunt if the hubs was in the room!  LOL  And I’ve actually seen him in the house twice this month.  I’ve come downstairs with my eyes down because I have a habit of falling down stairs and I have to pay attention.  Out of the corner of my, I’ve seen a man in the kitchen and I look up just in time to see his back retreat out the kitchen door into the front room.  And you know what?  I wasn’t scared.  I wasn’t pissed.  I’m honored, in fact.

I’m finally at peace with my BIL, the poltergeist.  The whole time I’ve been typing this, I’ve wondered if he was standing behind me, reading over my shoulder.  I wonder what he thinks of this post.  Is he saying to himself, “Hold on, that is NOT what happened.” or “Lighten up!”  Maybe he’ll tell me at bedtime tonight.  ;o)


Halloween’s over; time to tackle Christmas.

I can see the eye rolling and hear the sighs and groans already.  “But what about Thanksgiving?!” y’all cry. I don’t ignore Thanksgiving.  In fact, it’s my favorite holiday of the year!  Food, family, giving thanks, counting blessings – that’s what I’m all about!

But seriously, does Thanksgiving preparation take up the entire month of November?  No.  And if it does for you, I’d suggest reevaluating your Thanksgiving plans!  We host my parents and brother for the Thanksgiving meal.  We all know what we’re having every year – turkey, stuffing, rolls, potatoes, veggies, gravy, desserts; we all know on what day it occurs; there are no presents to buy or wrap.  Not a whole lot to do.
This year we are actually going to New England to spend Thanksgiving with my dad’s side of the family.  My Nana is 96 years old and as much of the family that can is getting together to celebrate since we haven’t done that since before B was born.  But still, a little clothes packing and hotel reservation making is all that has been added to my Thanksgiving planning this year.
But Christmas?!  That’s a whole different ballgame!  Decorating, buying presents, wrapping presents, baking goodies to share with friends and neighbors, sending Christmas cards.  Then there’s the fun stuff to do – make sure all the traditional Christmas specials on TV are watched, go caroling, drive around and look at Christmas lights, visit Santa, attend our 1st office Christmas party in well over a decade!  And only 24 days in which to do it?  Not for me!
I want to make sure I can not only do all that fun stuff but also enjoy it without watching the clock, my mind racing over a long list of things to do.  That is why I start tackling Christmas on November 1st.  Actually, the hubs has been buying Christmas presents since the beginning of the Summer, not only spreading out the cost of Christmas, but also eliminating things off our “to do” list already.
I got the idea years ago from The Fly Lady.  She “Cruises Through The Holidays” every year.  She said to pretend that you are departing on December 1st for a 3-week cruise and you need to make sure everything is done for Christmas before you leave.  That year that I followed her cruising to a “T” we started around October 15th.  Each day there was a “mission” to do – planning, making lists, shopping, wrapping, writing cards, etc. – all spread out over 6.5 weeks.
By the time December 1st rolled around, I was finished!  Everything that needed to be done was and I got to relax during December!  Invitation to a holiday party?  I was there because I didn’t have to go shopping in the evenings after the hubs came home to watch B.  You want me to sit and watch the Grinch show with you, again, or you want to help me with my holiday baking?  Sure!  I had time to watch that show and plenty of time to have a baking helper, no need to stay up all night frantically baking and getting a half-assed result.
Now, I haven’t gotten everything done by December 1st since then, but it opened up my eyes that enjoying the month of December is a heck of a lot better than working through it for everyone else’s enjoyment.  Therefore, I start November 1st, I make a plan and I get as much done as I can.
First of all, the hubs and I sit down to make the gift list – who’s getting a gift and what ideas do we have for those gifts.  The more ideas the better because things tend to run out this time of year.
Secondly, I decide what I’m going to bake and/or make, who’s going to get something homemade and what supplies I need.  Each year that B gets older, he can help more and more with these items.
Thirdly, I set up my portable Christmas card station.  I get a box or a box lid and fill it with everything I need to send Christmas cards – cards, envelopes, stamps, address book, list of recipients, pens, lap desk.  Then each day, usually after dinner but anytime I find a few minutes in my day, I’ll work on the cards.
Some years I’ve done a few cards a day, from start to finish; some years I’ll do them in stages.  For example, I may go through the cards, pick out the appropriate card for each recipient (some are happy to receive a religious card, others prefer to receive a seasonal one), put it in an envelope and just write their name on the front of the envelope.  I may do some of them or I may do all of them in one sitting, depends on how much time I have or if I get interrupted.
Next time I sit down to work on the cards, I’ll decide what personal message I’m going to write inside.  I’ll come up with 1 – 3 appropriate messages and write them down so I don’t forget.
Each day I’ll do a little more.  Write my message and sign the inside of some cards or address some envelopes or do some cards all the way to sealing the envelope or some days all I have the energy to do is stick on return address labels.  I used to handwrite our return address on each envelope, but last year and this year, we’re receiving those free self-adhesive labels from a magazine to which the hubs subscribes.
By doing this, I usually have all of my Christmas cards signed, sealed and stamped by Thanksgiving and I mail them between December 10 – 15.
After getting the turkey in the oven on Thanksgiving morning, the hubs gets the tree out of the basement and sets it up in the living room.  While I open up all the branches, he brings up the Christmas decorations.  After our meal, my parents, brother, the hubs, B and I go for a walk.  The fresh air and smells of all the meals are wonderful!  When we get back to our house we decorate the tree and house for Christmas.  Many hands make light work!  Once we’ve decorated, then we have dessert.
The weather gets colder and the days get shorter, so November is a perfect month for B and I to get our craft on and create our homemade presents.  Then our house stays festive in December with the aroma of baking.  This year, I intend to sign up for the 1 month free trial of Amazon Prime from Thanksgiving to Christmas and do as much shopping on there as possible.  The full, 1 year membership is on my Christmas list.  :o)
OK, I’ve gone on long enough!  I hope you give it a try this year and get whatever you can done early so you can enjoy December as much as possible.  Let me know how it goes!

Kids Halloween Party

B has always wanted to throw a costumed Halloween party so we finally did it this year.  I don’t know who had more fun – me planning, buying and creating for the party or the kids at the party.  :o)  When we got down to the wire, the hubs and I were pretty frantic right before the party started.  Thank goodness my BFF showed up to finish the cupcakes for me and one of the moms stayed during the party to take pictures.  I ran up for a shower 10 minutes before the party started!

The first thing I did was create a Halloween Party Ideas board on Pinterest.  I definitely did not use all the ideas that I pinned but if I did not have them all in a central location, I’d never remember them.  Although we purchased so many party items from our local Dollar Tree, the gas used during the repeated trips up there probably negated the fact that everything was $1.  LOL

I downloaded and printed the skull and candy corn invitations from Do It Yourself Invitations.  I would have preferred an invitation that was spookier or at least was mostly black and orange, but B liked this one the best, so we went with it.  I printed them on card stock, put them in manila envelopes that B decorated with spiders, ghosts, etc. and we hand-delivered them.  In addition to day, time and RSVP info, I put this on the cards:

We’re having a party! We hope you can come.
Get dressed in your costume. We’ll have lots of fun!

The party was in between lunch and dinner, so I only provided a few snacks and cupcakes.  B wrapped mason jars with white crepe paper and added google eyes for mummy glasses, writing each guest’s name on the back.  I cut up carrots, red pepper and broccoli and served it with my go-to dip: bottled ranch dressing, a minced clove or 2 of garlic and dried dill weed.  Make it at least a couple of hours before serving to get the flavors to meld.  I also made Money Saving Mom’s Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins (a fav in our house) and witch’s brooms made out of pretzel sticks and cheese sticks I cut into fringe.

I made Joy the Baker’s Brownie Bottom Ice Cream Cupcakes with cookies n cream ice cream and topped them with a dollop of buttercream icing instead of whipped cream.  I needed something more solid to hold the cupcake topper, The Partiologist’s Stained Glass Pumpkins.  While I showered, my BFF made the pumpkins.

For the goodie bags, I was proactive and went to Walmart last month to take advantage of the back to school sales. I bought each child a box of colored pencils, a box of crayons and split 2 boxes of 20 pencils each among the 8 guests – all that cost $1 per child.  I know all the children had just bought supplies for school, but all those supplies were taken to school; these goodie bag items were for use at home.  I had originally planned to use a pack of goodie bags I bought at a yard sale for $0.50, but I could not fit the Honeycrisp Apples in them, so I got cute jack-o-lantern bags from Walmart for $0.97 each.  B filled the goodie bags and made tags for them with each guest’s name.

Now onto the activities.  We checked Halloween CDs out of the library and had music playing when the guests arrived.  B held a Monster Mash dance party in the front room until everyone had arrived.  Then I had all the kids sit down for the mummy game.  I bought a bag each of Halloween erasers, vampire teeth, glow-in-the-dark snakes and bugs at the Dollar Tree and wrapped them up inside 3 or 4 rolls of white crepe paper.  I worked on that for 2 hours, while watching TV, the night before the party.  Sometimes there was only 1 foot of crepe paper between doodads and sometimes there was 5 feet between them.  Each child took a turn unrolling the crepe paper until they got a doodad, ripped off the crepe paper they’d unwound and wrapped it around themselves.  Then they passed the ball to the next child.  You can see B, above, with paper wrapped around his head and in his mouth are a pair of vampire teeth.  He had gotten sweaty in his Angry Birds costume while dancing, so I made him take it off to cool down.  Each child collected 4 or 5 doodads and then we put them in their goodie bags for safe keeping (that’s why B labeled each bag with a name).

By the time the mummy game was over, Miss Lyn and Francesca, our face painter and balloon artists, had arrived and set up.  The kids were not interested in face paintings to begin with but they were enamored with the wonderful balloon creations the ladies made!  Snakes, horses, light sabers, a green pig to go with B’s Angry Birds costume, an octopus and many more.  Anything the kids asked for, they could make.  Below you can see B’s face painting – very sinister looking and exactly what B asked her to do – and holding his Angry Bird pig while in costume.

Once everyone received a balloon creation, I herded the kids outside to decorate pumpkins while they took turns getting face paintings.  I bought 3 packages of 6 jars of paint, some brushes and 2 packages of glitter glue pens at the Dollar Tree and small pumpkins from a local farm.  The kids had a great time painting Count Pumpcula, Darth Vader, a Mincecraft Creeper, a fiery graveyard of zombies and more on their gourds.

Some of the kids finished their pumpkin painting early and we had a pumpkin roll game.  Two opponents had to roll their pumpkin across the yard using a broom.  It proved pretty difficult for all the kids except one – he dominated this game.  It didn’t matter which pumpkin nor which broom he used, he just flew down the yard!

Once the pumpkin and face paintings were all done, I handed out cupcakes and we all went outside to eat them.  Then we all went back inside to wash up.  B had requested that his guests bring their scooters and helmets to the party, so after washing up, we all went into the alley out back and scooted some of that sugar off.  I had let all the parents know that we would be in the alley at the end of the party so they should come around back to pick up their kids.

Everyone had a great time and I’m so glad we did this!

Halloween Decor

Inspired by Pinterest, B and I decided to decorate our front door for Halloween this morning.  So fun!  He decided how he wanted the face to to look and I pulled out the door sting from the basement, rolled it up and used it for the hair.  We have no overhang on the front door.  So, if it rains between now and Halloween we’ll have to remake the face.  But we’re OK with that!


The Changing of the Mind

In May, B said to me, “Mom, I’ve changed my mind on what I want to be when I grow up.  A bounty hunter is too violent.  I think I want to be a dancer or a cartoonist.”  My reaction:

Hehehe.  His mind will change over and over again.  And not just during childhood.  How many of us adults have changed our minds or still don’t know what we want to do or what our calling is?  But whatever he does, I know God had a plan for him and he will do great things with his open mind and open heart.
Every November 1st, B announces what he is going to be for Halloween next year.  And every 10-14 days, he changes his mind.  Some years it’s a different costume every change, some years he goes back and forth between a half dozen or so costumes.  Well, this past November 1st, he announced he was going to be a crash test dummy for Halloween 2012, complete with nude-colored morph suit, and he has stuck with that idea.  That is, until two days ago, when he and the hubs were on YouTube and found several videos regarding homemade Transformer costumes.  Have you seen these?  I hadn’t but they are really cool!  If you go to YouTube and type in “homemade transformer costume” there are a ton of them!
Now B wants to make a Transformer costume, fold himself up into the vehicle form at each house he trick-or-treats at, have the hubs or I ring the doorbell for him and wait until the homeowner opens the door to transform and say, “Trick-or-treat!”  B has narrowed down his choices to two:
  1.  Fighter Jet
  2. Tank
I have decided not to stress over nor worry about his costume this year.  I told him if he wants to do this, then it is up to him to decide what materials he needs and to build it.  I have done it for 10 Halloweens and it is time to pass the torch!  I’ll let you know in November what happened…

DIY Sock Monkey Costume – Pictorial Instructions

From left to right: Zach, Bob, Babe, Stephanie, Smith

B loves sock monkeys!  He asked for 1 the Christmas of 2009 and was so thrilled to get him.  B named him  “Bob”.  We were floored at his name; It was the 1st time B had named anything with an actual name.  Up to that point, anything he’d named was a literal or descriptive name.  A brown bear was named “Brownie”, a frog was named “Froggy”, etc.  Then Bob got a wife, Stephanie, and they got a child, Babe.  Then a pirate named Captain Sockbeard, nicknamed Smith, joined the family as Bob’s brother.  B decided Smith needed a husband, so Zach joined the family.  Earlier this month, Harold the purple sock hippo joined the family.  One of his arms fell off, so he is not ready to be photographed.  The hubs will be sewing the arm back on this weekend.

Starting November 1st of every year, B starts telling me what he wants to be next Halloween and changes his mind at least 3 times a week.  By the 2nd week of October I told him he needed to decide once and for all and there were no takebacks.  He decided on being a sock monkey.  Much to my surprise, I could not find a single company that makes sock monkey costumes for kids!  You can get them for babies, toddlers and adults, but nothing in between.  So, I had to make one.  In my opinion, the head of a sock monkey would be the most difficult part.  Thankfully, I did not have to worry about that.  Ben’s fabulous godmother, knowing his love of sock monkeys, had given him a Winter sock monkey hat last year and Ben wanted to wear that as the the head of his costume.  Sold!

Hat from his fairy godmother.

Supplies I used:

  • A light grey set of sweats from Walmart.  I thought a charcoal or chocolate color would be better to match the brown in the hat, but B wanted the light grey.
  • One sheet of white felt
  • One sheet of red felt
  • A grey, long-sleeved t-thirt
  • Plain, white socks without colored heels or toes
  • Sewing supplies – pins, needle, thread, marking pencil
B wore this shirt last Fall and Winter but it’s too small for him now.  I cut off one the arms for the sock monkey tail.
I cut off the heel and ankle part of a sock to use as the end of the tail.
I folded over the cut end of the sock and ironed it to hold the crease in place as I sewed it onto the end of the tail. 
The tip all sewed onto the tail.
I filled the tail with fiberfill
And sewed the tail shut.
I measured the white felt next to the tail to see how big a piece I needed for the butt. I marked my cut line with a blue cloth pencil and cut off the material below the blue line.
The material above the blue line – I folded it in half top to bottom…
…and then in half, again, side to side.  I had to use pins to keep it folded.
I used the blue cloth pencil again to mark the arc I needed to cut off to make the white portion of the butt and then cut it off.
After cutting, I removed the pins and this is what it looked like.  I could not have cut it as evenly if I had not done the folding.
The white oval was 7″ tall in the middle, so I cut a 3″ tall piece of red felt and cut the sides off where the corners met the white on the sides.
The I folded the red felt into 4th like I did with the white, marked my arc and cut.
I laid them out and pinned the red to the white where I wanted it.  I sewed the red felt onto the white with red thread and then sewed the white onto the back of the sweat pants with white thread.
I am a beginning sewer.  To make it go by faster, I weaved the needle 3 or 4 times through the materials before pulling the needle and thread all the way through.
Here is the butt all sewn on!
The sewn end of the tail was so long, I folded it over with a few stitches before sewing it onto the butt of the sweat pants.
The tail is all attached!
I put a pair of white socks on B’s hands and marked where his thumbs connected to his hands.  He wanted to have his thumbs out of the socks to better hold his trick-or-treat bag.
I cut a little hole where the Sharpie mark was.
I cut the toes off of a pair of socks for the bottom of his legs.
Here is Bob and B in his costume. He put on the sweat shirt, as is, the sweat pants, the socks on his hands, a pair of socks on his feet and the pair with the toes cut off over the bottom of the sweat pants.
Here he is from the back.  The hubs said he should tuck the sweat shirt into the pants to better see the tail on Halloween.
Here he is scootering around at our Homeschool Halloween party yesterday.
I started on the costume around 4pm and was done by 8pm.  However during that time, we ate dinner and I took several breaks to walk around the house and give my old, hunched-over back and eyes a break.  ;o)  So it was probably took me 2 actual hours of working.
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