Monday, November 2, 2009

Lessons Learned!

Pictured: Caitlyn as a Lady Bug, Kailee as Taylor Swift and Samm as a Cat at church!

This weekend was a long one! So many things to accomplish before Monday arrived announcing a new week is here. So let me fill you in on how it all went and the things we learned during the process.

1. Friday is always minimum day for my youngest Kailee. She finishes at 1:30pm but announced last minute that her class won a Fall Party and could I come. I mean honestly how could I refuse? This is one of those joys that moms that stay home can enjoy. So I asked what she wanted us to bring and she said candy of course, and I figured we would add punch since most parents never bring drinks to these events. I showed up at 12:15pm, as written on the announcement, and to my surprise was told unless I attended volunteer training at the beginning of the school year, all I could do was drop things off and then leave.

How do you explain that to a 10 year old who is expecting me? Much to my surprise she understood really well, although with a pile of candy in front of her when I walked in to her class, I was sure that was how she accepted my departure with just a hug and a "See you later!" kind of wave. I think I was more disappointed.

Later that evening her school was doing a Trunk or Treat sponsored by the Dance team at the school, so she wanted to attend that. We arrived at 4:45pm and had to wait in a line outside the school. There literally must have been over 600 kids there waiting by the time the line was finally open. Imagine it much like the mall Trick or Treats will one big long line moving along at a really slow pace from car to car in the parking lot.

Lesson One Learned: No more Trunk or Treats! Kailee didn't enjoy it at all and said she doesn't plan on doing that again. Another thing we noticed, rude kids. No more saying, "Trick or Treat?" but more like holding their candy bag out in front of you with the expectation to fill it please and then no "Thank you's" as a follow up.

2. Halloween: We had much to accomplish this day as we wondered based on last years number of trick or treaters if we would have enough candy. So Steve and I talked that we would buy one more large bag and if we ran out early, we would close the doors and turn off the lights. We figured with so many new neighbors with families that ours would finally be a great street to Trick or Treat on. NOT!

We started out day out by decorating our home with some pumpkins and lighted trees just to kind of give it a Halloween like feel. So hubby pulled everything out and we set up our porch for the kids. They were really into the decorating this year more than us. We were just like, here put it where you want and we will plug it all in.

After we finished with the porch, it was time to carve the two pumpkins each of the girls wanted. Caitlyn didn't want to do pumpkins this year and instead wanted to begin making plans for who was going trick or treating with them all later. Teens and planning. So Steve willingly took the task of doing all the carving, although Kailee did help with designing the look of both of them.

We attended our churches Harvest festival which was really well organized. There were games to play like Bible Trivia Basketball, 10 Commandments Relay Race, David Versus Goliath bean bag toss, and quite a few others. There was a Daniel in the Lions Den maze complete with the story of how David got out, and food for .50 each. That's what I can a deal. When the kids arrived they each got a glow in the dark necklace, and when they left, they were given a large bag of candy.

When we arrived home it was last minute costume preparations, more curling of the hair, dinner and then waiting for the group of teens to arrive to take Kailee out for Trick or Treating. We know she will only make it around the block once before she will complain about how cold or tired she is. We were right, after about 45 minutes she can home complaining about how bad it was. No houses passing out candy even though they decorated, left lights on, and even had signs posted SORRY NO CANDY!

When she unloaded her candy haul it was two handfuls. She was tired, her feet hurt and she was cold. She said it wasn't worth it and even the church gave her more candy then all that walking did. So our teens went back out for another 30 minutes.
During that time, we noticed way more trick or treaters than last year. Almost doubling last years. Teens and adults were trick or treating some with even no costumes or bags. Just a quick walk up to the door and a quick Trick or Treat and then they were gone.

Some kids were downright rude, no "Trick or Treat" just ring the doorbell and hold out your bag and then they were gone. Some argued with Steve about whether they got any candy or not.

We were disappointed in how many families either left during the dark or simply chose to leave their lights out. I think on a block with 30 homes, we had three giving out candy.

Lesson Two Learned: No more trick or treating. The kids announced after coming home, cold, tired and exhausted, it simply wasn't worth it anymore. They would rather have some friends over, eat candy we purchase, order some pizzas and play games. So looks like we have some Halloween stuff to get rid of or sell at our garage sale coming up.

Lesson Three Learned: Parents need to start reminding their kids about good manners. Language and manners on this day go along way. They need to remember the little kids are out there and stop being so rude with your comments and the way you treat people.

Steve and I are thankful that we don't have to stay up passing out candy, or cleaning up. We are officially done I think. We noticed that either the economy is gotten so bad that people can't afford this any longer. It was the most disappointing Halloween for the kids. There opinion not ours. So how did things go where you were? What lessons did you take away from Halloween?


Danae Hudson said...

All of our kids were really young, so their parents had to prompt them to say please and thank you...but I mean, some of them couldn't even talk. But we had 5. Granted, we live in an apartment building, but I heard from EVERYONE I know that they barely got any trick-or-treaters this year! Well, except for you. ;)

SusanD said...

I was home alone and the hubby and I agreed it would be best if I didn't hand out candy. So I was one of the neighbors who had their lights off. Plus I'd been in class all day and had an assignment due first thing in the morning. I sat in the back of the house working on a group project while cooking dinner. How's that for a fun Halloween? Blessings, SusanD

Greg C said...

We got some of the same things. Very few Thank you's and a lot of just holding out the bag. We of course said; What do you say? Most would say Trick or Treat if we put it that way. Of course there were a few that knew what to say before and after so with the sparce crowds we really filled those bags up. The rude people got one piece of gum. :)

I think a Halloween party will be in order next year. We have the fair going on here but that is a mad house on Halloween. I had more fun at the market. :)

Joyce said...

My kids are in college so can't comment on that angle but...we had about 40 trick or treaters and a mixture of good and bad manners. I will add that we are new to the neighborhood and haven't met everyone and I was a little surprised at the adults who walked to the door with their kids but didn't introduce themselves. Manners are something that are caught and taught so the parents need to set an example.

I am happy I didn't get that one more bag of candy though...I ended up with only a few pieces left which is good news for my hips if you know what I mean : )

Still Learning said...

Hi Kat, you know we had a weird experience here too. I was told my new neighborhood is packed with trick or treaters so I stocked up big. I had over half the candy left to my dismay. Hardly any trick or treaters, most never said trick or treat either. They just stood there with their bag out, don't parents teach their kids to say trick or treat? Weird. Very few thank you's too & I noticed they openly inspected to see what kind of candy I gave them too. Thankfully it was all good stuff like snickers & peanut butter cups. Hardly any of the houses here were decorated or giving out candy either. I think it must be the economy. Sad. We had kids come back 3 times or more because nobody else was giving out candy, poor things. It was a real bummer for my kids.

Hopefully next year will be more fun for everyone. Mine are still small so we will be trick or treating for a good long while still. Sounds like you all were really busy though. Pooped me out just reading about it all, ha ha.


Carol said...

I'm gonna go against the grain here a little. Over the past 5 to 10 years, little by little, and with conviction from God, we have gotten away from it completely. I don't even like the day really. When we lived in NJ, our church had an alternative to trick or treating and it was called "Fall Festival". There were games for all of the kids to play, food, and lots of candy. The kids were welcome to dress up if they wanted, but there were a fair number that didn't.

Since that time, we do put out pumpkins, Indian corn, and stuff for a fall display, but we always leave on that night and do something fun with the kids. The other thing we do is go down in the basement, have a fun dinner, snacks and candy, watch a movie, or play a game.

I sometimes feel bad that the kids don't get to dress up and participate, but we feel that it's the right thing for our family.

This year, our church held a "Fun for Everyone" night. We played games, ones that helped us to get to know each other better, and chocolates were given as prizes. They also served coffee, tea, and cakes.

Charlotte said...

Hi Kat,

I have to share my Halloween story. Around here everyone goes all out.

This year money is tight - so I decided to go to the Dollar store and I purchased 75 pieces of candy to hand out.

In the past 50 pieces would have be enough. And when we run out of candy - then we just shut off the lights!

Now about the kids -- all of them were sweet and friendly.

My favorite was a little four year old girl who was dressed up as the DEVIL. With horns and pitchfork. I told her she was too pretty and cute to be the devil and that I didn't think that I should be giving the devil any candy. She just looked at me and laughed.

But here's where my story turns rather humbling.

We have 125 homes in our subdivision here in north Atlanta.

Most everyone who knocks on the door lives nearby. This year one pre-teen girl tagging along behind a group of little ones actually didn't fit in with the group she arrived with.

She was wearing sweats and hoodie and carrying a orange plastic pumpkin that was full of candy. No makeup, custom or mask in sight.

At first I thought she was a parent. But then I realize she was a pre-teen.

Then dumb me said to her:

"Aren't you getting a little old to be Trick or Treating?" I asked.

"This is my first time Trick N Treating, I've never been before"

"Seriously - You got to be kidding me?" So thinking she was from another country I then said:

"Just where are you from?"

"I am from here" she replied.

"Wow, you mean that you've really never been Trick or Treating?"

"Never," she said.

Dumbfounded and not knowing what to think -- I gave her some candy and off she went.

But the more I thought about it the more it bother me.

Was this child homeless? Did she live here? Or did she grow up in a part of this city were it really wasn't safe for her to go Trick or Treating?

I may never know but I at least have to wonder how many kids this year actually showed up this year without wearing a $20 custom -- because their parents couldn't afford it. And maybe that's why the lights were out on some houses because they couldn't afford to hand out candy?

When it comes to putting food on the table and paying the rent or the electric bill well what do you think come first?

Familes are hurting in this country. Let's not forget that unemployment in this country is over 10%. Not everyone life is rosey, sweet and full of treats.

Maybe next year -- your school or church could arrange re-cycling of Halloween customs. Why not?

Parsley said...

Too bad things were kind of bummer. I drive my kiddos and watch them go from house to house. When they run out of porch lights, they get in a I drive them.

It's a lazy way to trick or treat but they get it done faster, less tired, and more candy.


Darcie said...

Halloween has never been one of my favorite holidays...not trying to be downer about the whole holiday...just not one of my favorites. We only have two kids young enough to trick or treat anymore...but we had hundreds of trick or treaters!

Yes...we had some rude ones...and more than old enough to know manners. I made sure each time Kinzie said "thank you"...and then followed it up by one of my own. Trying to teach by example.

Edie said...

I like the sound of what your church did. A biblical alternative. Like Susan and Carol, I feel compelled by the Holy Spirit not to celebrate halloween. I did hand out tracts with candy and small toys but I don't think I will be doing that in the future either.

Loren said...


We went to my brothers house which is the norm since we moved out of town and the houses are so far apart that no one trick or treats out here. This year my kids wanted to hand out the candy (I was schocked and realized they are growing up doggone it) They did go out for just a bit to get some candy of their own so whie they were away I handed out the candy and noticed exactly as you described ....rude children not saying trick or treat or thankyou sooo....I began taking candy out of the bowl and not taking the bowl with me to the door that way they didn't have the choice of what I gave them. Still didn't get thankyous which is sad. We saw some really creative costumes this year because I think people could't afford the store bought ones this year which I loved. The cutest one was a vending machine :) very cute. Overall we had a really good night and the weather for us was

Amy said...

That is so sad. We had a lot of fun.

Wendi said...

We always go to my parents for trick or treat. It was a disappointing year. Not many people gave out candy and there were not as many children out. I was surprised since it fell on a Saturday. Not sure if it was due to the economy or if trick or treating door to door is going to become a thing of the past.

He & Me + 3 said...

I noticed that too. IT was a different halloween. Sorry your kids didn't have that much fun. Cute costumes though.

HeartsMakeFamilies said...

Well we went to my sister in laws, where my niece threw an absolute fit because her mom and I must be talking about her. I was thankful she wasn't mine. Then Faith tried to take up that attitude, that last 5 minutes of which I simply told her to drop the attitude or we leave.

Jason dropped out within half a street. My husband was quite glad to take him home.

I didn't hear very many thank yous either. Sad what is becoming.

But all in all it was a good time.

RCUBEs said...

Hi sister Kat. Bummer that your kids didn't have fun. We haven't been really celebrating Halloween since when I can't remember. But I did notice, too that there were not too many kids this year, compared to last year. I think that would be awesome to find out if they were doing something else if they were involved in a church. Even better. Plus, I had to work so I got to see a lot of drama at work! Blessings.

Saleslady371 said...

I think the fall festivals in churches are great. That's how our girls celebrated many years ago. In the 19 years that we've lived out in the country, we never got a trick or treater (but still purchased candy!) This year we didn't even purchase any and enjoyed the fact we saved a few calories!

Your kiddos are cute!

This comment has been removed by the author.

Kat, Sorry you didn't get to stay at school with your daughter. I was thinking you homeschooled. I agree, Children need to be taught manners. We do not celebrate Halloween here. That sounds fun, having a family night as you described next year. Blessings, Audrey

Girly Muse said...

We were at my friend's house..busy neighborhood and all that...but she barely got anyone at her door. It was definitely a different year all the way around.

The at home party sounds fun though!

Beth Herring said...

We had a carnival at church to keep the kids off the street. We live in the country so there aren't any trick or treaters out our way anyhow :)

Cute kiddos!

Crown of Beauty said...

Thank you for this well written and well thought out post.

You have a great gift for sharing how things are going with you, and your thoughts and opinions are really worth reading.

Happy that you and your family tried your best to do your share to make Halloween as a tradition still work... but sad that other families chose not to. Sad about the rudeness, too. Wow, your post speaks volumes about where America is headed...

Praying with you, and for you.

Thanks for keeping the faith.