Happy Halloween -- 10/31/01
b It's almost ten o'clock at night, Trick or Treating is over for another year...

I got home from work just a few minutes past six... there were groups of strangely garbed little creatures wandering from house to house as I slowly made my way along the dark streets (no streetlamps) of my neighborhood. Sean was busy handing out candy when I reached home, but he quickly relinquished that position to me. A friend of his was urging him to come out with him to go from house to house for candy -- "we can just toss something together and call it a costume" but Sean had stayed home from school today with a cold and he didn't want to go out -- in fact, when his friend left, he headed upstairs to his room where, I assume, he was doing computer stuff but I've not heard a sound from his room in quite a while and I think he may be asleep.

Sean had already eaten... and Jennifer was busy putting on her costume that she had spent many hours working on over the past week or two, getting ready to meet friends (they may be college students, but they still love dressing up for Halloween) and she wasn't interested in food... so it would just be Nancy and me for dinner. Nancy was napping but I woke her up to give out candy while I fixed dinner.

There was a steady stream of little ones -- most of the pre-schoolers came by before seven -- a wide variety of costumes, some quite imaginative -- princesses and firemen and vampires and angels -- Dorothy and the TinMan and the Scarecrow -- a Boston Red Sox baseball -- creatures and monsters and mummies -- older elementary school students and some middle school students began to come after seven. I had one group of eight or nine boys who I would guess to be 7th or 8th graders, dressed in a motley array of semi-costumes, but not even a handful of high school aged kids. There were very few after eight-thirty and I turned off our porch light about a quarter past nine because nobody had come by in fifteen or twenty minutes. I didn't keep a close count but I would guess that we gave out somewhere around 140 or 150 candybars... perhaps down a bit from past years... actually, I think we had even more little ones (more families moved into the neighborhood in the past year and, of course, babies have grown into toddlers, etc.) but far fewer in the upper age ranges (which is why the trick-or-treating ended half an hour or more earlier than in past years).

I had seen comments in a few journals about how kids today rarely said "thank you" but that wasn't true here... I would guess that almost ninety percent said "thankyou" (although, with some of the pre-schoolers, I could hear a parental whisper of "What do you say?" coming from the shadows). I had set some cans of soup and vegetables next to the front door because in past years some URI students would come by collecting for foodbanks but not this year. Oh well, I'll just put them in a plastic bag on the front porch for the boy scouts to pick up on Saturday morning on their annual food bank drive.

Nancy and I had gone to a costume party on Saturday night. We went as witches (or, I suppose, I should say, a witch and a warlock?)... I had found plastic witch hats, complete with long stringy salt-and-pepper hair hanging down (*sigh* it went well with my beard, looked like what my real hair would look like if I grew it that long again) -- Ocean State Job Lot, $1.99 each -- so I bought two -- and small witches brooms in another discount store (ninety-nine cents each, so I again bought a pair). Nancy wore a long black cocktail dress and a black wrap (and black shoes, etc.) and I wore a black suit over a black sweatshirt and, of course, we both wore the hats and carried the brooms (these were the new sub-compact model brooms we explained). Our costumes were well received and we had a good time at the party. We had to leave by eleven because Sean was also at a costume party (as a knight) and I had to drive his date home... I told Nancy that she could stay at the party and I would rejoin her after playing chauffeur, but after two large glasses of strongly spiked punch and some equally alcohol enhanced hot chocolates (party was both indoors and out and it was a bit brisk Saturday night) she was ready to go to sleep.

I brought my witch hat to work with me today and wore it -- not all day, just some of the time -- others in my dept. were dressed for the holiday -- Julie as a mouse and Judite as a pumpkin and Liz as a witch -- although our manager was not wearing a costume in the morning, he went home at lunchtime to change, but I was too busy in the afternoon to get back upstairs to see him. (Yeah, the training department is known as being a weird bunch.) There are three guys from India in the class I am teaching this week -- they were quite amused by my hat/wig combination -- had to have their pictures taken standing next to me while I was wearing my witch hat -- I can just imagine the puzzlement back in India when they try to explaine the antics of the American natives *grin* -- these guys have been in the U.S.A. (in Ohio) working for a bank that is going to move most of its data processing "off shore" to a data center in India where these three will be working.

My attempt to squeeze in my unused vacation days into what remains of 2001 has just become a little more difficult. When discussing that recently I mentioned that I would probably be teaching only one week in December and that it might be in France... it turns out that it will be in France, but it will be for two weeks... which only leaves me only the two weeks between Thanksgiving and my departure for France to take those four vacation days I've not been able to fit in any place else... I'm really going to have to make an effort next year to get my vacation days taken earlier in the year, on dates when I would really enjoy having a few days off.

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