I have to say I really enjoyed the time leading up to Halloween more this year than I have in a while. Living in the first house anybody sees coming into our neighborhood, there was a certain little bit of pressure to have the house nicely decorated. We were also told that our neighborhood was pretty active when it came to Halloween. On top of all that, with four kids, three of them being aged three years and younger, there was more excitement to make it something special.

To that end, and in part because we have a bit of extra money from Tristen’s surrogacy, we bought a number of decorations. I told Tristen early on that we shouldn’t go crazy and that we should build up our Halloween supplies over the course of a few years, but I did want to make sure we put on a decent display this year. And so I bought some lights, and some lights, and some lights (though they all change color, so they can be used to Christmas as well as just general outdoor lighting should we so desire)I bought a five foot tall skeleton. Tristen and I both separately bought some foam tombstones and her dad contributed some props as well.

We carved pumpkins the weekend before last, but a lot of them started deteriorating too soon. Mine was the first to go. At first it looked kind of cool because it had a huge underbite, but then it fell apart and become mush. Milly’s and Tristen’s, both of which were larger and didn’t have as large openings, are still doing okay as of this writing. One of the boys’ pumpkins fell apart and the other two are pretty droopy.

The boys really enjoyed inflating Jack and the (inflatable) pumpkins every morning and got to go look at all the lit-up decorations some nights. Griffin would often hug the inflatable pumpkins.

The boys got really into Ghostbusters a little while back. Erin played the song a bunch for them when she would show them Just Dance videos on YouTube and Tristen let them watch Ghostbusters 2 in the van when the video was working in there. I think they saw the first movie at some point too. Yes, they’re probably too young for it, but how cool is it that such young kids were obsessed with the Ghostbusters? They would pretend to be them and chase ghosts some mornings.

Because of that, we found little Ghostbuster outfits when we went to the Halloween store a while back. Tristen decided she’d be the Stay Puft Marshmallow Lady and we all decided I’d be Slimer. I found a blow-up costume for about $30, which I thought was a pretty good deal. The first time I put the costume on Fawkes and Phoenix loved it, but it took Griffin a bit to warm up to it.

On to this weekend. On Saturday there was a car show and farmer’s market downtown that the Romeros and Craig, Tristen and Torrie’s dad, were going to, and since Halloween was the next day, we knew people would be giving out candy. We dressed the boys up in their costumes for the first time and took them there.

In case you wonder at the mention of it being the first time we dressed them in the Ghostbuster outfits, I figured they’d want to wear them a bunch and would destroy everything before Halloween if we let them wear them early. Now that it’s done, and given that they were about $30 a pop, I want them to get as much use out of them as possible.

Anyway, the Ghostbusters were a big hit walking around downtown. They got candy, we bought a couple things ourselves, then we headed out to pick up Milly.

Technically, Amanda and I are supposed to share Halloween, but we haven’t done any joint trick-or-treating and, as Milly is now 12 years old, I doubt we ever will. Initially Milly wanted to spend some time with us on Halloween so she could see all of her brothers dressed up and whatnot, but our neighborhood has an annual kids Halloween parade, so I suggested she could come to that if she wanted so nobody would have to stress out about having her here or there and worrying about rushing through trick-or-treating.

So we picked up Milly and grabbed some lunch at Trolley Stop, but we were running behind and rushed out of the restaurant and got to the start of the parade just in time.

There wasn’t much to it, and almost all the kids were a bit older than our little ones and were on bikes and scooters and the like, so we got left behind. There was a bit of a to-do back at the place where the parade started, but our house was right at halfway and it was well past nap time so our guys were pretty tired, and so we only did about half of it.

We got them inside and in bed. Milly took Hazel for a quick walk, Tristen went to rest in the playroom, and I watched the last half or so of Duke’s exhibition game against Winston-Salem State. Duke won by 68 points, which wasn’t really a surprise or anything, but the way they won, with an emphasis on defense and what seemed like taking pleasure in sharing the ball, is what has a lot of us Duke fans excited.

Milly watched a bit of the game with me. Well, she sat on the couch in the office next to me and chatted with me, until her mom came to get her around 4:00.

We let the boys have a glow stick bath. Tristen had gotten a bag of some really nice ones, some of which she’d tape to the boys’ particle throwers to add a nice effect to their costumes while trick-or-treating.

I stayed up way too late to Photoshop a picture of the boys pointing their particle throwers at a ghost hanging from a tree in our yard (as seen at the top of this page).

Tristen made it known from the time I was awake that she wanted to go somewhere to get pancakes To wit: She didn’t feel like cooking breakfast, and since the house had been cleaned the day before, she probably didn’t want a bunch of new mess made at the house. I decided we should see if the Lewises wanted to join, so we all decided to meet up at IHOP, where we pulled in right after them.

When we got out of the cars and were getting the kids out, Blake said he thought he heard turkeys. Sure enough, he spotted a pair of them walking between the IHOP and Islands parking lots. He made a call to them and they would both raise up their heads and gobble back at him. We had about half an hour wait to be seated, so he and I let the boys watch the turkeys and play in a grassy area. The turkeys eventually headed south towards a gas station.

All the boys had a fun time running around. It was the most interactive I’ve seen Beau be with Fawkes, Phoenix, and Griffin. There was even a good bit of hugging going on, and Beau even tolerated me a bit.

We had a good time hanging out with them. Griffin, who has lately not been the best with potty training, told me he had to use the bathroom, and he did it, so that was great. Unfortunately the other two had to poop and did not let us know. Phoenix did it in time to be changed back in the van, Fawkes did not.

We went home and put Griffin down for a nap, followed a little later by the twins. Phoenix never fell asleep, but it’s rare for him or Fawkes to sleep at all anymore.

While they were down Tristen and I moved some furniture and I finalized some Halloween stuff, putting all the solar lights in a spot to soak up plenty of sunshine to make sure the lights would last a while, getting the projector ready, that sort of thing.

After everyone was up we went to the Romero house. Tristen had told Craig she’d bring the boys by to see all the decorations there. They live out in the sticks and it wasn’t a very sure thing that many people would get to see the fruit of his efforts. We hung out there for just a little bit then came home and got ready for trick or treating. The kids were already dressed up but Tristen and I needed to get ready. Heather, Gary, and Zoey were all here and Laura, Tristen’s mom showed up shortly after we got back. She was going to hand out candy while we took the kids around the neighborhood. The Romeros came over too.

I think we started a little early, and Tristen said, quite possibly rightly, that more kids probably lived further back in the neighborhood. We didn’t hit a huge section of our community, but we went around enough that the kids all got to get plenty of candy and saw some other trick-or-treaters while we were out. Laura said she didn’t see a whole lot of people, but we did get some traffic a little later in the evening and ran out of our first bowl of candy, although I suspect that some trick-or-treaters may have taken some generous portions when we left the bowl out to get the boys ready for bed.

I will say that I’m not sure I’ve ever seen a neighborhood where so many people give out full-sized candy bars, and I used to take Milly to Harbor Island, where people live in big houses on the Intracoastal Waterway.

Laura had started the projector for me, but I tweaked it and hooked up the sound (which I’d forgotten to do before I left) and the kids had fun smacking the apparitions that appeared on our garage door.

Milly trick-or-treated with her mom’s boyfriend’s daughter and a friend of theirs. Her costume involved a dress and a mushroom headpiece, the latter of which she made herself. The mushroom bit I believe was inspired by a character on My Hero Academia.

All in all it was a fun night, though I was a little disappointed by how many houses didn’t participate in handing out candy and the number of kids who came by. Forest Hills still rules for Halloween neighborhoods, in my opinion. But it’s not like there was nothing, and I like our neighborhood, so we’ll do it again next year.