Last year my husband and I held a Halloween carnival for children living in our neighborhood. So much fun it was, we decided to repeat the affair. Anticipation grew as fall leaves turned yellow and red within our trees. It was that time of year again. Soon, ghostly goblins and fairy princesses would come a-calling. Of course, our grandchildren would be stopping by as well. Little babes dressed in fantasy costumes would be letting their imaginations run away.
Our oldest grand-daughter, not yet three, spent that day with us. Together, we baked ghostly cookies of sugared purple before she busied herself with Motherhood. A doll under each arm plus two more stuffed in a pink seat. A stroller of four feet pushed on maple floors before it was time to eat.
“Grandpa” had to wake our precious princess before the carnival began. Out of bed she flew, like a hummingbird to sugar-water. Upon entering our back yard, it was as if magic happened while she slept. Chocolate cupcakes decorated in lavender fluted frosting sat under the umbrella table. Games were strategically placed on the lawn waiting for children to play. Near our tallest pine, a brightly colored pile of leaves was ready and waiting for kids to tumble in.
Soon children and parents from houses near-by began to arrive. There were characters from Frozen, Mario and his friends from video games, and a darling girl proudly dressed in her very best dress. She showed it off to me, even letting me touch it! So soft it was, made of thin wale corduroy, black (of course) trimmed in holiday orange.
Shortly thereafter my grown children arrived, carrying costumed babies on shoulders. Security was tight. At six months old and smiling bright, there was a new sheriff in town. Soon, a sweet cotton pumpkin toddled by. All plump in bright orange wearing black tights with suede boots to match. It was as if she escaped from our local pumpkin patch!
Moms from the neighborhood helped out, encouraging kids to play games, where each and every child won a prize…maybe two or three, or even more! On the patio a giant black tub made of plastic was filled with prizes for all of them to see. Carnival day is a bit of magic to last the whole year through. Much more for me than any of the children.
As each one neared the tub to pick a prize, eyes would grow to saucer size. What would you like? Play dough, monster trucks or jewels of diamond pink to wear with your princess dress? Try these skeleton gloves on for size. Perfect for the cold of night. They glow, you know! Rubber dinosaurs or army men? Glittery bracelets or Barbie stickers? How about a pack of Halloween pencils with colorful erasers? Or maybe you’d like a sparkling magic wand? Perhaps a puzzle for later play?
Splish-splash! Sweet babies dunked chubby hands into tubs of water, grasping for swimming rubber ducks in their mother’s hopes of winning rattles, fuzzy caps or teething rings. What a sight to see a baby grab a slippery duck!
Shaded In a corner, I painted lopsided pumpkins of yellow, red hearts or black kitty cats on cheeks of warm pink. Girls with smiles of pearls gazed prettily in a hand-held mirror of blue. It was the perfect day!
By far, the biggest “Hit” of the carnival was definitely my husband who drove his lawn tractor, shiny and green. In the rear, a wagon was attached stuffed with straw and yellow hay. Soft it was. Kids could sit and sink right in. And, yes, they surely did!! Piling in and plopping down, they held tightly to the sides. Giggles and smiles, joyful glee.
Around and around the subdivision my husband wore a silly chicken hat atop his graying head. An innocent child sat upon his lap. More in the back. Up and down straw flew all around. Some landed on the ground and in the street. Little hands up in the air helped it disappear. A bright green machine trimmed in yellow drove through empty lots and up the curb where squeals were heard.
Carnival Day….The perfect one in every way.