by Beppie Harrison
I just finished discussing this with my grown daughter, and I don’t think she entirely agrees with me, so let’s start with a mild objection from the wings.
Here it is, almost mid-October, and the Holiday Season is just about on us. I can feel the marching feet. This would feel more normal if it were colder outside, but we seem to be having a very warm autumn in New England. The trees are bravely beginning to produce a little of the bright color we’re famous for, but it’s hard to work up much enthusiasm when the temperatures have been in the 70s.
Even so, Halloween is coming. There are those who point out the big thing about Halloween is not having to fix an enormous dinner that takes all day to prepare and somewhere around 20 minutes to eat. That is not my point of view.
My point of view is somewhat different. Halloween (and I’ve raised four children, so I know) starts early in October when one’s offspring commence hassling you about costumes. Costumes and decorations. The decorations I can handle. Costumes? If we had been rich, then costumes would have been an easy matter. We would have trotted off to the nearest shopping emporium and listened to the inevitable argument about who was going to be whom (3 girls, none of whom wanted to be All The Same Thing but all of whom wanted to be a Princess or whatever that year’s equivalent was). The boy would have been a cowboy or a monster or Darth Vader. Fine. But we were not rich. Halloween had to be homemade. Me and my trusty sewing machine could cope with one cowboy, or one monster. Darth Vader I had to argue him out of. (Year after year after year.) Three princesses? Bear in mind that my seamstress skills are marginal. Some years we got closer than others. Then, because at that point we lived in Michigan, the end of October is COLD. So princess or monster, there had to be a warm garment over the top.
But that wasn’t the worst of Halloween. The worst was after Halloween. Candy wrappers, to be specific. I tried two techniques. One, urged on by neighbors, was to allow a one day eat-all-you-can. Then all leftover candy is discarded, preferably at some distance from the house. The children may get sick (which is also a disadvantage) but the day after Halloween it’s all over. I think I tried that one year and discovered rebellion and quite brilliant smuggling techniques in the ranks. My more ordinary course of action was to dole out the candy in small manageable numbers day after day (after day) in their bag lunches and as a getting-home-from-school treat. This meant that candy wrappers followed us all around the house until the end of November. Or even later, given the skills I had inadvertently encouraged that one year.
Thanksgiving? What’s not to like about Thanksgiving? There’s delicious food, and if you just invite some people over they are likely to bring some of it. Say, the pie? Then all you’ve got to do (besides turkey) is potatoes and veg. This method also provides company in the kitchen since mostly the people who bring food stay to fuss with it. There’s the table to set, but if you put little candy and nut cups by each person’s place, your children can have a wonderful time setting the table and filling those up, and all you need to do is provide roughly a third more candy and nuts than the cups will accommodate to allow for some wastage during the process. Roasting a turkey? Simple process unless you choose to get fancy. Open oven door, insert turkey (with stuffing in it if you choose or flavorful vegetables if that’s your choice), and leave it there for hours during which you can sit down with the company. No costumes, no candy wrappers. Just good food.
No contest. Thanksgiving wins!