Saturday, October 31, 2020

As if we needed another excuse to wear masks and binge on candy...

HALLIE EPHRON: Happy Halloween, everyone! And Oh my, what a strange one it's going to be. I keep hearing those melancholy opening lines of LITTLE WOMEN:
 
“Christmas won't be Christmas without any presents,” grumbled Jo, lying on the rug.

Only this year it'll be Halloween. And Thanksgiving. And Christmas that won't be the same without friends and family.

But driving through my neighborhood, from outward appearances you wouldn't know anything is off this year. Here's my next-door neighbor's house with dancing skeleton lights.

And my across-the-street neighbor's house with dried cornstalks:

And my at-the-corner neighbor's spectre-covered porch:

My grandkids will be dressing up and celebrating in the courtyard of their apartment building. They're hoping their neighborss will toss candy from their windows. If that happens, I hope the kids will be wearing hard hats.


Here's their get-ups from last year.

This year's superhero costumes should be nurses and postal workers. According to a piece in the New York Times, a popular costume this year is to go as an empty roll of toilet paper. Seems appropriate.

At our house, we'll have to make due with memories from Halloween's past. My husband's amazing carved pumpkins:

How's Halloween in your neck of the woods? Did you decorate? Stock up on candy, "just in case"? Carve a pumpkin?

Whatever you do, please mask up! Play it safe and stay well.

61 comments:

  1. The grandbabies are all having some sort of at-home celebration with their families . . . games and candy and costumes and what-not.

    There’s a pumpkin on our dining room table and another one in the sunroom, so I guess we’ve decorated. We have some candy here because we always have something chocolate around, but we’re not expecting any little trick-or-treaters [but then we never get any little trick-or-treaters knocking on our door] . . . Still, it feels sad for the Little Ones to be missing out on their special holiday . . . .

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hopefully it'll be another kind of special... apparently costume sales are booming.

      Delete
  2. I love decorating for Halloween inside my house, usually the foyer gets the most decorating, but the dining room and living room also get some attention. I have a bit else scattered around the house. I have orange fairy lights leading from the foyer into the living room, which I love twinkling every night. My daughter married a man who happens to love Halloween decorations, and to the delight of my granddaughter, they decorate inside and outside. The usually have a Halloween party at their cabin on the river, but COVID canceled that this year.

    We live on a road where foot traffic is challenging, so we never get trick-or-treaters. I won’t have to make any adjustments there. I’m not sure if kids are even going door-to-door here this year. We were a red zone, but we’re currently orange. The Veterans’ Day parade and the Christmas parade have both been cancelled. And, we have given some thought to Thanksgiving, wondering if we will even be able to get together with my daughter’s small family. Not sure when we’ll be able to celebrate anything with our son, or even see him, as he is out frequently and lives just far enough away that we’d need to spend the night if we went there, and we’re not comfortable with him bunking here. The holidays are certainly going to be different this year.

    Hallie, your grandkids are darling, and that pumpkin is outstanding.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm not a decorator but I LOVE other people's decorations. Fortunately my next door neighbor Jane is a world class decorator. So I get to enjoy it without figuring out where to put the stuff when the holiday's over.

      Delete
  3. Even though your little superheroes are awfully cute, I so agree about this year's, Hallie. Plus teachers.

    No decorating here, and although my town is having trick or treating, for once we're keeping the lights off. Hmm, wonder why I got those two bags of peanut M&Ms and mini Baby Ruths? Because they are my annual indulgence!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Definitely plus teachers! I haven't had a baby ruth in ages...

      Delete
    2. I will enjoy one right this minute for you!

      Delete
  4. Son sent flowers, daughter and family sent a card the kids signed themselves. I have not taken any decorations out at all. I think Irwin will get some candy in case there are any trick-or-treaters. We were going to go out for dinner but the numbers here are way up again and it will be cold sitting outside tonight. I think Scotch neat and maybe wine, too. Happy Halloween to everyone.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'll join you in that Scotch, Judy!

      Delete
    2. I wish you could. It's not that long a drive to Massachusetts from here. Let's plan it for post pandemic.

      Delete
    3. I'm with you and Edith for the scotch, Judy. Cheers!

      Delete
    4. Judy, yes, I think it might be time for Scotch...

      Delete
  5. Halloween Scrooge here. Even as a child, I dreaded it: the costumes and the masks, and crowds of kids and ringing door bells for candy frightened me (even though I knew all the people behind those doors and my parents were right there with me). The only part I delighted in was Jack o’Lantern making with Dad...we’d design, he’d cut, and I got to pull out the “pumpkin guts”. Relieved of the guilt this year of being “that ONE house” with no lights and no candy.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Pumpkin carving is a big thing here, too - I had to get 3 pumpkins. One for Jerry and one for each of our kids. Anyone else ever make a pie from the leftover pumpkin? I did one year and it was superb.

      Delete
    2. One year, a friend with a farm gave us a giant pumpkin. We used to decorate inside and out and have an adult Halloween party, too. This year, the kids posted their pumpkin carving photos on Facebook, with the grandkids pulling the gushy stuff out. It was hilarious.

      Delete
    3. Judy, more refined “gushy stuff” than my “pumpkin guts” ;-)! But so much fun!

      Delete
  6. For the first time we haven't bought candy, will vacate the first floor for the upstairs bedroom TV and ignore the doorbell, if indeed it rings. We used to get tons of trick or treaters, but the numbers have been going down as the neighborhood children grew older. We have a lots of new babies now, but the doorbell is too high for them.

    Five years ago we were in Sarlat-la-Caneda on Halloween. It was a lovely night in a medieval city, and our sidewalk cafe was located in the town center. Lit by gas lights, real ones, the atmosphere was both beautiful and spooky. Hordes of costumed children wandered around, stopping in cafes and shops and at tables where they got either candies, or, in our case, small coins. It was magical, and there didn't seem to be a parent around. It is my favorite Halloween experience since my children were celebrating.

    Last year I had all six grandchildren and all my kids with me at my daughter's house on the lake in Lewisville, TX. We had a serious pumpkin carving contest and an early Thanksgiving dinner outside before going off to Bouchercon. I'm so grateful for that time.


    My younger son, his wife, and their three sons will be en route from Iowa back to Texas today, coming home from the funeral of their father and grandfather. I suppose this means no Halloween for them, but there wouldn't have been anyway. This is a very close-to-home covid death. Iowa is a hot spot, and that particular county, where their grandparents live, has the highest positivity rate in the state. I continue to be terrified and shall be until the next two weeks are up, and everyone stays well.


    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Safe travels and good health to all of them, Ann.

      Delete
    2. Ann, exactly what Edith said. It is a very scary Halloween.

      Delete
    3. This is reminding me of the Halloween when my husband's mother died and we were at the funeral home in Brooklyn... Such a tough time for your son and his wife, and so hard not being able to BE there for them.

      Delete
    4. Thank you all. My son is pretty strict about masks, hand washing, and social distancing. However those boys have had a week in the midst of a family, lots of cousins et al. I can't believe they followed all the precautions. We shall see.

      Delete
    5. Ann, having visited Sarlat, I can imagine the atmosphere you described. I wish I could have been there at this time of the year.

      Delete
    6. Ann, I was in London, I think, so missed you being so close by last year...

      Delete
  7. Bah humbug! Never have liked Halloween. When the kids were little they carved pumpkins - I can't stand the smell - and in later years there might have been a pumpkin or 2 around and, of course I have always loved seeing the grandkids' costumes. No one ever shows up her for trick or treating but I would usually have some bags of candy "just in case." You won't believe this but I still have an unopened bag from last year. It wasn't anything I was particularly fond of so easy to put in the cupboard and forget.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. So interesting what candy people buy for Halloween: candy you personally LIKE or DISLIKE. Because you'll get stuck with at least some leftovers. It's a bit of a Rorschach. ANd when you were a kid, did you eat the kind you liked best first or save that for last?

      Delete
    2. I only buy the stuff we like. I still have some in the cabinet from 2 years ago, and what can I say, chocolate lasts. Occasionally, we'll grab one of those mini Baby Ruth or Crunch bars for dessert with coffee, but candy lasts a long time here if I hide it from Irwin. When I was a kid, I don't think it lasted that long, so you took what you liked right away.

      Delete
  8. We'll mask up and walk the dogs around the neighborhood at 6pm, when trick and treating starts, then retreat home with the porch lights off and enjoy "Hocus Pocus," a movie that never gets old.

    ReplyDelete
  9. On my rural road, we haven't had trick or treat for many years as there are no young ones around..
    I don't decorate but I cooked a pumpkin pie this week and have a slice left to celebrate today.

    ReplyDelete
  10. There are brilliant decorations in my neighborhood. Skeletons lounging on lawn chairs, skeletons taking skeleton dogs for a walk. I’ve put up lights and a couple of pumpkins and I’m putting out individual bags of candy on my driveway just in case

    ReplyDelete
  11. Count me out for Halloween. Every year. Can't abide the handing out of sugar to strangers' kids. Bah Humbug, that's me. I'll slink off now into the corner and let anyone who wants to enjoy the day/evening....

    Be safe, everyone. Our COVID numbers in Manitoba have shot up and we're in a Code Red shut-down for two weeks. To be noted is that government actions and policy could have prevented this, but their love of the economy over their stewardship of the citizens has put us here. Be warned.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's awful, Amanda. Our numbers are up here, too.

      Delete
  12. Hallie,

    Great post! Though there will be no trick or treating here, we plan to drop off the Halloween treats (Mad Libs and paperbacks) for neighbors' children.

    We could not find candy corn anywhere in the shops this week. A friend mentioned that they are putting Halloween treats (candy) on their tree in the front yard for trick or treaters to get on Halloween.

    The pandemic is affecting us in many different ways. I wonder if they suspended Halloween during the 1919 Influenza pandemic?

    Wishing everyone a safe Halloween.

    Diana

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I doubt there was such as thing then, Diana. My mother is 90, and she remembers going begging on their street on October 31st when she was a child, but they didn't actually dress up. That would have been in the late 30's and early 40's, and it was not organized then. They would have been given apples or something similar.

      Delete
  13. There are homes around here that are decorated, and kids are allowed to trick or treat, but we are borderline red here, and it's dicey, I think. Our house is on a road with no sidewalks, and sits back more than 200 feet, so we would not get any children, anyway.

    We usually have a big, all-out Halloween party every two years. We had one last year, so I'm not feeling any pressure to do more than fill a big glass bowl with gourds.

    Thanksgiving is our big family holiday, when all my daughters make a point of joining each other somewhere. This year it's an especially poignant time because the youngest is leaving for three years in Kenya the Monday after Thanksgiving. So we've decided to all meet at the oldest daughter's home, as she also turns 50 that week. There will be seven of us, and Steve and I will stay in a local motel instead of in the usual guest room.

    My son-in-law came up with a great idea. We will celebrate ALL the holidays at once, all our birthdays we weren't able to get together for, and Christmas, and whatever else. He's actually working on a schedule, which we'll get ahead of time so we can respond in whatever way moves us, and I'll be taking cake and cupcakes for each individual so they can blow out their own candles.

    They are arranging their home so we can safely distance one another, and I'm taking air purifiers to keep the air as clean as possible. What else can we do? This could be the last time we're all together for a very long time.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Good luck to the grands, Hallie. How cute they were in their costumes last year!

      Delete
    2. I hope your "Mass Holidays" will be a great success.

      Delete
    3. Karen, I love that idea of getting together and celebrating all the holidays at one time. Safely distanced and masked as needed. So perfect.

      Delete
    4. Karen, that sounds wonderful. We will see Rachel and family for Thanksgiving. I'll suggest that we do birthday cakes then, too.

      Delete
  14. Hallie, I've been to the farmer's market this morning and everyone and their dogs were in costume. So fun. Especially the two golden retrievers in Minion suits.

    I have pumpkins on the porch but that's the extent of Halloween decor this year. I bought some KitKats a couple of weeks ago so I'd have something for Wren, but otherwise we will turn out the lights and not answer the door. We don't get many trick or treaters anyway.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh, dogs as minions is funny! But are people really out at the farmers market?

      Delete
    2. The farmer's markets near my kids in Brooklyn never shut down - but they adopted strict mask and social distancing rules from day one. Ours never opened, though I confess I probably wouldn'thave risked going. I did miss local tomatoes and corn.

      Delete
    3. Yes, it's a gorgeous fall day here. Everyone is masked and it's outdoors, so I feel comfortable enough. Most of the vendors have hand sanitizer, too, and have made payment as contactless as possible.

      Delete
    4. Yes, I can see that! It's just so...very sad. xoxo

      Delete
    5. And I love that you have a gorgeous fall day. We have to embrace that. xoxoo

      Delete
  15. I used to decorate the front office but where they stuck us now, well it has no counter space for any such extravagance. The radio and local news have been suggesting the individual bags in driveways or edge of lawns but I doubt there will be any trick or treaters in my area. I did buy a bag of Mounds last week so I can get my chocolate fix.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. LOVE Mounds! I remember, when I was a child, I couldn’t believe anyone would eat those gross things :-) now I adore them!

      Delete
  16. Twizzlers ! Mounds! Almond Joy! Snickers! I really ration myself, though, otherwise it is terrible. It poured down snow yesterday, now it is gloppy and melting, so I doubt if we’ll have any trick-or-treaters. We have a long long driveway, and I guess it is not efficient :-) The grandkids are 16 and 11 this year, and in Brooklyn, I’ll have to see you whether they are suddenly too old… Wow. What a rite of passage.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Almond Joy has never had the same appeal as Mounds, Hank. I think the chocolate is milk chocolate not dark chocolate. I was corrupted at a very young age and preferred to eat dark chocolate first, then I'll settle for that other stuff. :-)

      Delete
    2. You're so right about the dark/light chocolate, Deana

      Delete
    3. ALmond Joy and Mounds. BOTH just fine. :-) They each have their own delights.

      Delete
  17. Lots of houses are decorated spookily. I didn't do anything Halloweenish outside. I thought about using a candy chute this year but decided that was not really an option. Kids go nuts for candy and I'm afraid social distancing will go out the window. Too many of their parents don't have the sense God gave a goose so I'm afraid they won't enforce safety precautions themselves. I love Halloween but tonight the porch lights will be off.

    ReplyDelete
  18. Here, it's un-Halloween. No decorations on our street, and no trick-or-treat kids expected. Most of the neighbors will leave their outside lights off, as will we. We didn't buy a single piece of candy, not even for ourselves.

    ReplyDelete
  19. Sadly, it’s a low key let’s watch horror movies night for me and Hub. Hooligans are off doing their own thing. I usually deck out the house and we have loads of trick or treaters, but I am not feeling it this year so I gave myself permission to take the year off.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sounds like something we should all give ourselves permission to do. I certainly am.

      Delete
    2. We are only doing candy for Wren, Jen. And if anyone deserves a year off, it's you. Sending hugs.

      Delete
  20. I got some outside lights for Halloween for the first time ever. I get the decorations. We want to do something to help lift spirits.

    ReplyDelete
  21. Hallie, I love the photo of your grandkids in their superhero outfits. Of course, the inner "Sheldon Cooper" in me was jokingly taken aback by the pink bat-mask on your granddaughter. Ha!

    I have a crap load of candy that I bought when the local wholesaler went out of business. So I am giving it out if anyone comes to the door.

    But instead of dressing up as a nice guy who gives out free crap at his door like I do each year, this year I'll be the nice guy who gives out free crap at his doort that has been bagged up in Star Wars themed sandwich bags while wearing a mask and disposable gloves.

    There may be less people than usual this year but stick the word "free" in front of anything and people in my town will come a-running pandemic be damned.

    Some people have put up decorations for Halloween but not as many as I normally see. And I know there are plenty of people who won't give out any candy this year at all. Some that have kids aren't letting their kids go out for safety reasons as well.



    If I don't get a lot of people at the door, I may just let people here give me their addresses and I'll send you out a bag of candy. Because I do not need all this sugary goodness finding its way into my stomach. My doctor will end up having the coronary long before I have the one he would say all the sugar is going to give me.

    ReplyDelete