One day my kids will realize how fortunate they are when it comes to Halloween.
When I was growing up in Salisbury, my Halloween nights were similar to what a majority of people did when they were young. I got dressed up and walked around the neighborhood to about a dozen homes or so. Many homes welcomed kids and put up some mild decorations, but some were uninviting and made it known trick or treaters were not welcome by going dark. Halloween was fun when I was young, but I can’t say it was a huge part of my childhood.
For my kids, Halloween is a huge deal. For Pam, Halloween is her favorite day of the year. She’s passionate about it. So much so she even dresses our house up for the occasion.
When we moved to Berlin 12 years ago, we knew Halloween was a big deal. We were advised to purchase a lot of candy because we would get a lot of trick or treaters at our house. I remember buying about 500 pieces of candy that first year. It didn’t last 30 minutes. Rather than turn everyone away, we gave out nickels and dimes with apologies.
Now, we buy about 2,000 pieces of candy to get through the two-hour trick or treating in Berlin. I believe we had more than 1,500 trick or treaters at our house this year.
For my kids, it’s all they know, and they have come to take it for granted I think. They especially do not understand all the work their mother puts into Halloween every year.
When we were leaving for school Halloween morning, I told the kids to take a look at the front of the house because it will be completely transformed by the time they get home. That’s because Pam has missed her calling as a set designer. She has a tremendous imagination and works incredibly hard to dress up the house each year with creative, handmade decorations as well as some of the latest spooky creations she finds at stores.
Each year our street picks a theme for Halloween. National Fright League was chosen this year with many homes decked out in our favorite professional football team’s colors and schemes. Additionally, we dressed up ourselves in our favorite team’s uniforms. Of course, everything was a little spooked out since its Halloween. There were a few Ravens homes, a Redskins home, an Eagles home and a Steelers home.
We are Ravens fans so Pam draped our entire house in purple plastic with several Ravens logos handmade throughout. About a dozen skeletons were dressed as football players and cheerleaders. We had a little tailgate section with super spooky fans (skeletons) holding up their foam No. 1s. We had three tombstones for Bob Irsay, the former Colts owner who moved them out of Baltimore in the middle of the night; Ray Rice for obvious reasons; and Tom Brady because he’s just too successful.
On another side of the yard, Pam had green outdoor carpet, painted as a football field, spread out with a head-less skeleton in a Patriots jersey getting mauled by a bunch of Ravens. In a bird cage was a zombie head in a Patriots helmet being guarded by several Ravens birds. That, of course, belonged to Tom Brady in our head. Add in a 12 feet tall zombie Ray Lewis and the decorations were about complete.
I don’t know what Beckett’s reaction was when he got home from school because I was getting Carson. However, I assume it was ho hum because he just thinks these sorts of transformations happen without any work or trouble. He’s, of course, incredibly wrong.
When I brought Carson home, he was amazed at the whole scene. He walked around and looked at everything in detail, especially the 12-foot tall zombie and all the skeletons tailgating.
At trick or treating time, Carson, who seemed to really embrace dressing up as a blind referee with a walking stick and all, takes care of handing out the candy. He takes it seriously and this year really got a kick out of the candy being placed inside big Gatorade drink dispensers like you see on the sidelines.
While Carson prefers to stick close to home, Beckett likes to wander. Even as a toddler he was always wanting to walk off and see what everyone else was doing. Now, at 10 years old, he likes to buddy up with some neighbors and walk the street. The last couple years he has enjoyed checking out the haunted house at Burbage Funeral Home. This year he even left Berlin with a friend and his parents to trick or treat around Ocean City and Mallard Island. He came home with a helmet full of full-sized candy bars, which apparently is the rule there. That was impressive.
When he got home, he remarked how he couldn’t believe how many houses don’t participate in trick or treating. I told him that’s how it is in most areas, but that Berlin has spoiled him.
Before sending him off to bed, I checked his pockets for candy and made him scrub off the zombie paint his mom had applied earlier. I then did the same thing for myself.