A visit from the Great Pumpkin

Halloween sure has grown over the years, or maybe it has ore to do with the fact that I grew up in a rural setting, and now we’re living somewhere more cosmopolitan. Growing up, Halloween was one night. That was it. All the decorations, all the costume preparations led up to a few hours of trick-or-treating up and down our road.

When I look at the prices of the more extravagant halloween costumes, I have to remind myself that we get a lot more milage out of them than I did as a kid. Keeping to the running theme of sea creatures, we shelled out for an angler fish costume this year. Last weekend was the Halloween Member Night at the Maryland Science Center, followed by Boo at the Zoo. This week, there was the Family Fun Night at Silver Diner, followed by bring-your-costume night at Cub Scouts, followed by the school's Halloween party and parade. We put some serious milage on this fish.

All of which finally brings us to halloween day. It’s traditional for the kids at his daycare to hit the administration building for an afternoon of trick-or-treating. This seems to involve eleven floors of office workers throwing candy at them. The daycare staff have a strick policy of “you carry your own treat bag.” This turns out to be a pretty major burden for the kids by the time they’re reach about floor six or seven. It’s no wonder that by the time the actual Halloween night comes around, PP is usually ready to call it quits by the time we’ve completed one medium sized block.

Given that he’s fairly picky about his candy, it could lay around until Dad can’t resist anymore and silently slips into a diabetic coma. We have a boy who prefers 70% chocolate to milk chocolate, and doesn’t want it adulterated in any way. No nuts, cookies, on nougat for him. It’s become a matter of survival that we get this *&^$%#^ candy out of the house as quickly as possible.

Enter the great pumpkin. I forget where we first heard about this, but it has turned into a cherished tradition in our house. On Halloween night, or one of the nights not long thereafter, the great pumpkin visits our house. We keep the actual night deliberately flexible in case there is travel or parental forgetfulness around the actual day. PP goes through his candy, separating the wheat from the chaff. The rejects pile goes into a bowl, and is left out in a prominent location.

This year's offering to the great pumpkin

This year's offering to the great pumpkin

During the night, while the household sleeps, and with nary a sound, the great pumpkin visits. He spirits away the source of Dad’s greatest temptations, and replaces it with a present. The implication is always that the bigger and tastier the offering, the better the present. Last year, the result was a set of the new hex bugs. This year, the great pumpkin was very very good to us.

Now that's a bit less fattening. 

Now that's a bit less fattening.