Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Happy Halloween!

The Stringhams

Halloween Day (In Which I Almost Give Up Halloween For Good)

Had to include daytime photos of the pumpkins to keep everyone here, happy.

And now for this year's costumes:

Shawn dressed as future Shawn-how he hopes to be in the year 2072.
 His costume is complete with name tag and all.
Next, we have Sheriff Woody.  The first thing Peter asked when he put his costume on for the first time was, "Where's my string?"  So Shawn attached a pull string to his back today.

Next, is the lovely Dorothy with her little dog Toto.  Duffy was, of course, most excited about her ruby slippers.
Amelia as a gypsy.  The best part about the 3 youngest is that they chose their costumes more than a month in advance and didn't change their minds!  And everything they chose was readily available and easy to find.  (This was not the case with all the children in the house.)

Amelia and her friend Hallee planned their costumes together, so we ended up with 2 gypsies on our front porch this morning.

And, just skipping ahead a little, we have the finely attired, disgruntled junior high student.  The costume was perfect - the baggy jeans and hoodie give it away.  There is no need to guess at what Jonas's costume is.  (And he fits the character perfectly.)
And finally, for Samantha's costume.  This costume was by far the most drama filled and emotionally exhausting costume to put together.  (Granted, her costumes generally require a bit more effort and thinking than the others, but this one had more crying than usual, too.)  Let's begin with the idea.  She decided she wanted to be Effie Trinket (from Hunger Games, for those of you who may not recognize the name.)  I have spent the last 3 months trying to change her mind on this one.  I argued that no one was going to know who she was.  I argued that the whole Hunger Games concept is disgusting and wrong and that she could maybe choose another, more noble character to be.  (I don't know what this says about all of the man-eating zombies and things out there, but still.)  I argued that there wasn't going to be any sort of Effie-type things in the stores.  (It turns out I was right.)  This is a problem because I have no sewing skills to speak of.  All of her friends were being princesses.  
I said, "Why can't you be a princess?"  
She said, "That would be too easy!"
I said, "Exactly!"
She said, "I don't want it to be easy!" 
 (As if I haven't figured that out over the past 11 and a half years.)  And granted, I can appreciate her desire for originality and her creativity, but you know, sometimes I like easy!
Anyway, I digress.  There was no changing her mind.  She had a very specific image in her mind and trying to match that image was no easy task.  She gave me this:

And as of October 30th, in the morning, (actually. long before the 30th) she had a dress and was ready to go.  I thought her costume was set. She asked me about pinning something up, but that was it.  But by the time school was out, apparently things had changed.  All of a sudden, the costume was no longer usable.  It wasn't Effie and there was no way it was going to work.  Oh, boy.  And she finally gave me this:  (with tears and yelling, at 9:00 the night before Halloween when time was pretty much running out and I clearly had not presented her with any viable options.)

After much, MUCH drama, a late night trip to a couple of stores, rummaging through all of the costumes in all of the boxes, and finally a little last minute, heaven granted inspiration this morning, this is how she headed off to school - complete with a smile on her face.  So, how did we do?  I thought it was pretty good considering our given obstacles.
So we all made it to the Halloween Parade in one piece (with no one being grounded from trick or treating for life -which may or may not have been threatened by one parent or another around here.)  There was not another Effie Trinket in sight.  And I have to say, I was so happy to make it to that point, I have never been so glad to have Halloween almost over before.  Thank goodness this is 6th grade.  Hopefully next year will involve less trauma.

And one more of Effie, in celebration of finally finding something that she could live with.  Phew!  And...."May the odds be ever in your favor!"

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

How Many Pumpkins Does It Take...

...for this family to get ready for the annual neighborhood pumpkin carving party?
Apparently, it's a whole bunch.  (Woody here, is playing the role of Vanna White in our pumpkin display.)

Seriously, when did this happen?  It seems we used to be able to get by with just 2 or 3 small or medium-ish pumpkins.  Apparently, those days are over.
My kids start asking about this party at the first hint of October and have been counting down the days.  Our neighbors are so awesome.  Their entire house and garage are given over to Halloween festivities.  Tables and tables are set up filled with pumpkin carving tools, buckets on the ground to put all the "guts" into and some of the most amazing and cool decorations you've ever seen.  The pumpkin carving is taken very seriously.  Samantha has had this one planned since last November and I guarantee she is not the only one to have put this much time and thought into her pumkin.
A lovely photo of my ever-cooperative 14 year old.
Shawn hard at work helping the little girl's pumpkin dreams come true.

Some views of the carving that goes from inside the garage clear to the end of the driveway.  (Thank goodness for the nice weather!)
A couple of the decorations.  The mummy moves in and out of his case and the mad scientist guy is complete with beating heart, etc.  Creepy stuff.  One of these years I will remember to take my good camera and take pictures of all the decorations.
Samantha's pumpkin man is almost complete.
Some of the crowd getting ready to vote for their favorite pumpkins.

Of course, my phone camera couldn't really catch the whole picture here, but my kids felt it was very important that I tkae photos to post on the blog, so bear with us here.  Samantha's pumpkin man.
A general collection of jack o lanterns.
Peter's pumpkin complete with smile modeled after Amelia.

Duffy's vampire girl.

Amelia's Woody pumpkin.
Jonas' spider pumpkin.  (Well, it started out as a spider, but due to some unfortunate carves, took a slight turn into something else, but still looked cool in the end.)
If you can believe it, we actually ended up taking home one of the coveted m&m filled trophys.

(Crazy kid.)
Yep, Samantha's pumpkin man won.
This left some of the others a little disappointed.
OK, very disappointed, actually. See the red cry eyes here?

 In fact, some individuals my have had full on tantrums about not winning anything.
You can see how badly Samantha felt about winning.
And Jonas decided to play along just for fun.  Believe me, this didn't help Amelia feel any better.
Still wishing I had taken my good camera so you could see the top vote winner which was the death star.  Amazing.  By the way, he wins every year.  The other winners were all very impressive.  They have carving skills that I lack, but as you can see, it was important for us to take our crying children home.  We'll see if they get to go back next year or not.