Posts Tagged ‘Halloween in the USA’

You have been boo’d!

Monday, October 31st, 2011

I live in a house in Marin County, California, the first “house” I’ve lived in since leaving my parents’ home in New Jersey after graduating from college. So I don’t know what it’s like in other “neighborhoods,” because I’ve never lived in one. Apartment buildings, yes, many of them. Seven different flats in New York City, two in Los Angeles, and one in San Diego.

But the suburbs are different, at least it feels to me, and never so much as around Halloween. For the past week,  in our house, we have thought of, discussed, and dreamed about, nothing besides this: Costumes, trick-or-treat strategies to maximize the candy haul, and the order in which the eventual loot will be consumed.

This year, again, we have been “boo’d” and are “boo-ing” others. If “boo’ing” is not a tradition in your neighborhood, you might want to consider introducing it. Last night, I laughed as hard as I ever have in my life, as Olivia, Mateo, and I, under cover of night, “boo’d” a friend who lives a few blocks away, and  then “got away clean.” To “boo” someone, you need only a small bag full of goodies, a ghost of any kind, and a copy of this poem. Happy Halloween!

You have been Boo’d!

The Phantom Ghost has come to call.

To leave the goodies, sweets and all.

To avoid falling under the Curse,

You must follow this Halloween verse.

First, post the ghost where easily seen

And leave it up til Halloween.

This will keep haunting ghosts away.

Be sure to hang it, don’t delay.

Make two treats, two ghosts and two notes like this.

Deliver them to neighbors who have been missed.

Don’t let them see you, get away clean.

And then they’ll have Boo’ed Ghosts to be seen.

You will only  have one day to prevent the spell.

Make sure there are no Ghosts when you ring the bell.

Deliver it when dark, when there is no light

Ring the doorbell and run, stay out of sight.

And last, but not least, mind the condition

Don’t break this age-old neighborhood tradition.

Have fun, be sneaky, and don’t be seen

And spread the joy of Halloween.


Halloween 2010

Monday, November 1st, 2010


By the time we finally got out the door on Halloween night, Olivia and Mateo had undergone costume changes too numerous to count. From pirate to ghost, from princess to fairy, until sometime during dinner Mateo announced that what he really wanted to be was Santa Claus. Lucky for me, I was able to put my hand on a St. Nick hat bought a few Christmases ago, which paired nicely with Mateo’s red pajamas, black belt, and red sneakers. Unlike the original Mr. Claus, this Santa was clean-shaven. After a few itchy attempts, Mateo opted to forego the fake beard.

At her school party on Friday, Olivia had been her usual favorite, a cat, but after witnessing Mateo’s transformation, she also changed her mind. “Vampire,” she said, and I won’t bore you with the machinations required to scare up that costume. When Tim returned home with a plastic bag, we noticed the costume’s “collar” was missing. Being the creative girl that she is, Olivia cut one out of cardboard and colored it with red marker. No matter. For Olivia, a vampire costume is all about the sleeves.

There’s no denying that Halloween has gotten out of control in the United States: What other country in the world celebrates a holiday that so blatantly promotes tooth decay? But how can we resist? One night a year, our neighborhood comes alive with packs of roving children, laughing teens, and babies dressed up like bumblebees. For the next few days, our kids will sort through their Skittles and Dots, M&Ms and Reese’s, trading away the ones they don’t like, and keeping the ones they do. (Anything dark chocolate, feel free to pass my way.)

For the next few weeks, I’ll make dire predictions about our next visit to the dentist. But right now, nobody is listening.