We participated in the annual Harvest Festival at our local church building (The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) where we do trunk or treating. We first gather together and have a chili cook-off. I had high hopes for my chili – I used green tomatoes, a couple of habanero peppers, and black beans. There were too many other offerings, and my husband was through the roof happy that we had leftovers! He loves my chili!
The kids got dressed in their costumes and Dee helped get Mia painted. He did the base coat, then I drew a tiearra on her forhead. She was Twighlight Sparkle with wings. It was a fantastic find at the local Good Will store. Dee found a Green Lantern costume, but somehow he escaped my camera at the church. He did that last year too – boo! He really doesn’t like getting his picture taken. Can’t you tell? Mia on the other hand lights up for the camera!
We arrived at the church building way early and the two little ones were bouncing off the walls. To minimize fighting and parent headaches I gave the paint crayons to Gavin and Amelia and invited them to paint my face. They made me into a pink and yellow tiger. Hey, I may have looked like a mess that made everyone giggle when they saw me, but I loved hearing them giggle while they worked together instead of argued. Win for Mommy!!!
Finally the time had arrived for the big event of the evening, trunk or treating! Dee grabbed his sister and took her on the round of cars. I took Gavin, Daddy was stuck handing out candy (okay, I think he was enjoying the Dots, which are his favorites). I had some incredibly proud moments as I walked hand in hand with Gavin. One family had decked out their van, and the little boy in front of him fell and lost all of his candy. I halfway expected him to pick up the candy and try and keep it for himself – but he surprised me. He handed each piece to the little boy and said “There ya go.” It was so sweet and made this Momma very proud. He got stuck at a couple of cars because of strobe lights, they really fascinated him (gave me a headache). My favorite part was when we went up to the trunk of a car with a baby outside sitting in a stroller he looked at her, in her cute little pink princess outfit topped with a crown, he says “Oh, that is one cute little baby.” I’ve never heard him say anything like that. Her mother is the President of the Primary (our children’s organization) and I made sure that he repeated it to her. She beamed. Finally he started to rock back and forth while he waited at the next car for his candy, and I knew that we were nearing the end of what he could handle sensory wise. He pushed back on me and then popped their personal space bubble to say “trick or treat”. They laughed, he got louder. I gave him a hug and pressed on his shoulders to give him some deep pressure in his joints. He seemed to calm down a bit, but I knew I didn’t want to risk going around the traditional second time.
As we got in the car and I handed him a piece of his candy he said “That was a great practice trick or treat, right Mom?” I smiled and said “Yup!” Dad wrangled the other two kiddos in the car, and we went home with a rather tired, but happy crew.
Halloween dawned a gray, wet, miserable day. I arrived at his school for his Halloween party. His Special Education teacher said that he was very excited, and doing well. Not alot of work accomplished, but that was to be expected on party days. He looked so handsome, and I loved how several of the other kids made sure that he felt included in the festivities. He has a special friend that he made last year, and this year she is in his classroom. He talks about her constantly – and watching him with her yesterday made me know why. She is a sweet girl, who asked him if he wanted to join her on carpet for the class picture. It made me a little teary eyed! The kids went on their costume parade (which brought back happy memories for me when I participated in costume parades in elementary school thirty years ago!) and when we got back to the classroom he happily joined the kids in a great game of musical tables. My heart beat fast seeing the kids running and pushing each other. He did two rounds, and then sat down at a table and wouldn’t move. Everyone was fine with that. A few more rounds and his table was out. He quietly whispered to me “Mommy, I’m done. I want you take me home now.” The animated child of the past hour was gone. I could see the exhaustion in his face, and the shoulders were starting to droop. Normally when he becomes overstimulated he begins to stim, whirling his fingers out at the side of his face like a helicopter, or in a choo choo train wheels motion. This time he leaned in to me, and wrapped his arms around my leg. I gently led him to the resource room where three other children were also needing sensory breaks. He pulled up a chair, “Mommy, you sit here.” and rolled his chair up on wheels. He sat for a minute and then looked at me again. In his sweet little whisper he once again requested, “Mommy, I’m done. I’m ready to go home.” There was an hour left before school was out, but I followed the needs of my child and took him home.
After some much needed alone time with his trains he was ready to go trick or treating. Our town closed off two streets and the businesses participated in handing out candy. Gavin sang “Trick or Treat, smell your feet, give me something good to eat.” Every adult giggled and repeated “Smell MY feet, ewwww.” A couple people gave him an extra handful of candy “You’re the first to say that to me this year.” I was mortified, but every single adult found it adorable. He stayed dry with his fireman hat and raincoat. Emma got soaked. We finished the community activity and headed home. The kids handed over their candy bags and received two pieces of their choice. Now we have our positive reinforcement stockpile restocked, we are good to go for another two months.
Halloween is over, the costumes will be placed in the dress-up bin and pulled out frequently. Candy will be doled out periodically, and I confiscated about half of it for holiday baking (bad Mommy, I know!). I always look forward to the end of Halloween. This holiday leads into my favorite time of year. I look forward to Dee’s birthday, Thanks Giving, and the Holiday bustle that has already begun. Bring On November!!!!