*Please prepare for a LONG post*
We decided a year ago that we would be spending this Halloween with Nick's parents in good ol' Hurricane, UT. As it turns out, this tiny town is trick or treat central for most of Southern Utah. At least, specifically my in-laws street is. We'd heard tales of people descending by the thousands on a two-block neighbourhood of spookily decked out houses. So, this year we went.
And they did not disappoint.
We started off on Halloween morning with some nice family baking.
These witches fingers were pretty quick and easy to make, as well as surprisingly tasty. At least the non-green ones were. I still have a very Scandinavian fear of food colouring. I liked the almond fingernail part the best, as it added some nice crunch. If I make these again in the future, I might try baking some pretzel sticks into the center of each finger for a surprise bone crunch. Or maybe a red jam center?
Then we followed that up with the all-essential pumpkin carving. As it turns out, two pumpkins are more than enough for three adults, especially when one of them (me) has the attention span of a very small insect and got bored with tracing the pattern onto the pumpkin. That's right, this year we opted for the no-creativity, but highly impressive (if you don't think about it) stencil!
Then we returned to our baking and decorated our spider cupcakes. All of this had the very fortunate effect of functioning like little Halloween activity stations. Perfect for little kids and 29 year-old pregnant women with short attention spans!
Before too long it was time to gear up for the trick or treaters. I honestly thought my in-laws were being a bit ridiculous for stocking up on 350 pieces of small candy for the little kids and a similar amount for the older ones, and still worrying about running out. But between the hours of 5:30 and 9 PM, the doorbell rang so constantly that we eventually pulled up a row of chairs by the front door to save us the walk from the couch, as well as the hammering of tiny impatient fists on the door.
Along with Nick's sister Tess, we handed out candy for the first hour or two to the smaller kids that came early. The little kids were cute and funny with their head first lunges into the candy bowl and parent-prompted choruses of "TWIIICK OR TWEEEEAT!" But we knew that once it got dark and the older kids started coming around, it was time to hand things over to the professionals.
Nick's younger brother Cody is the Halloween candy master. No kid grabs candy from his bowl without saying anything: Cody will stop them with a "Dude, now you're just taking my stuff" and a firm, but fair reminder of Halloween manners. At least be a polite mercenary of sugar.
The best part is when older kids come to the door. Cody will give them the full-sized candy, but first request some effort from them in return:
- "Do 20 push ups!"
- "Will you moonwalk like Michael Jackson for a full-size Snickers?"
- "Show me some jumping jacks!"
- "You're a big group, make a human pyramid!"
It's fun to watch people's response. Some of them balk at the idea of actually doing anything in return for their candy and leave, but most play along and think it's fun. And if they don't want to do one thing, they'll often offer do something else instead, so we had people cartwheeling on the front porch, as well as some singing, dancing and the occasional bird call.
All from giving an 18 year-old a little bit of power.
Our almost three year-old nephew Gavin also showed up in his Spiderman suit, and we got to take him trick or treating, which was fun, because I've never done that before. We didn't celebrate Halloween in Norway. Don't get me wrong, we'd still maraud around the neighbourhood in wanton search of candy, but our assigned time to scrounge candy off the neighbors was the week after Christmas instead. Gavin is too young to have developed too much trick or treating stamina yet, though, so after two houses he asked if we could "go home to Grandma's house, please?" There he got hopped up on spider cupcakes, professed his true identity as Spiderman and squealed excitedly every time there was a knock at the door. Then he made three more trick or treating raids with Grandpa, two houses at a time.
We attempted to take some photos of the street at its busiest with hundreds of people everywhere and every house ghoulishly decorated, but nighttime photography is a bit beyond our skill level:
Still, you get the idea. This place was decked out.
After all the candy was gone, all 700 plus pieces of it, we curled up and watched A Nightmare Before Christmas. A perfectly spooky end to October and the Halloween season.