Halloween this year

We love Halloween around here, and I guess since a week’s passed, I should write about it already! This year we did a couple of things. Our little J is getting the idea of dressing up and loving it so far. We hadn’t thought much about costumes except that we wanted to do a family costume again. At Thanksgiving, my cousin’s wife asked Julian what he was going to be for Halloween and he said Peter Pan! I was a bit surprised since he’s so into superheroes lately, but we’d picked up a book about Peter Pan at a flea market recently and I guess he liked it more than I realized! Then we watched the movie and he was sold.

With not much time left, I wasn’t sure if we’d be able to pull it together, especially after we went to a Halloween store and nearly fainted at the price tag on their pirate coat – $134!! But we went over to a local Value Village and scored a long, red felt coat from the Ladies section for Tyler’s Captain Hook for $25. Adding a long curly wig and pirate hat as well as fairy wings and a tutu for me pretty well completed our shopping. We bought green leggings and a shirt from Old Navy for our little Pan, which he can wear again. Then we rounded it out with a trip to Michael’s for felt to make this Peter Pan hat plus some jingly bells for me (and lots left for Christmas crafts!)

Ready to party!

peter pan costumes

Our little Peter Pan really got into character in the days leading up to Halloween. We play acted out parts of the story over and over, generally in full costume. We talked about Wendy, John, and Michael. His stuffed animals were Lost Boys. The night before theHalloween party, I was adding bells to my wings and noticed Julian rummaging through his dresser drawers. When I asked him what he was looking for, he replied, ‘My shadow!’

The next morning, he woke up Tyler by standing over him, wanting to play so badly, and whispered, Tick tock! Tick tock! like the crocodile after Captain Hook.

At the annual family Halloween party, we were also happy to surprise Julian with a few more characters from the story. His aunt was Wendy, her boyfriend was Smee, and his grandma was Tiger Lily. He was more interested in the snacks (especially popcorn), and playing in the basement, but we had a good time in spite of his grandpa’s scary Batman mask.

I was due to make snacks for nursery school the Tuesday before Halloween as well and so I stole this idea for banana ghosts from a post I saw online. Bananas, cut and dipped the bottom in orange juice to keep from browning, mini chocolate chips as eyes and a raisin for the mouth.

banana ghosts

Finally on the big day, we went over to my cousin’s house for a pizza dinner and snacks. Another cousin and his wife came over with their girls too, and so our little 2 year olds all went trick or treating together! All three of these sweet kids were well-received at doors, polite, and to be honest got the concept of ring doorbell, wait without barging into home, hold out bucket for candy, say thank you! better than I’d expected.

halloween night

Our kid didn’t last too long. After a few houses, he spotted a park and wanted to go play. He also did really like the idea of ‘treats’ but turned around and re-handed his candy out to kids coming up to a door as he was leaving it a few times.

It wasn’t too bad for a first real trick or treating experience. Last year we really just went to our parents’ houses to show off his costume. This was the first Halloween going door to door and we really had fun dressing up and showing him all the decorated houses. Boo!

Out on the Town, and Older

I went out last night. Sort of a last minute thing – a friend texted. Sleepover was lined up (bless grandparents) and off we went in the cold dreary rain, rushing to get downtown and in the door and set up.

The place was completely jam packed and I walked around a few times, looking for a table or a seat at the bar, but ended up standing around by myself and waiting for the music to start. I refuse to pull out my phone; I should be able to entertain myself with my own company for a few minutes. Tyler starts playing and I listen and watch, eyeing the table next to me and wondering if they’re ordering more drinks or the bill.

I felt awkward there. In my head, I told myself – you never get out. Nobody is watching you or cares that you’re here alone. They’re all with people or alone also enjoying themselves. No one’s judging. Have a good time.

I always think I don’t care what other people think or me, but of course I do.

Then a young guy came over to me, early 20s if I had to guess. Why are you standing here? He asked. You haven’t moved since I walked by 10 minutes ago, he said. I just stared at him. He went on to say I should go find myself someone to flirt with and bring home, which I obviously wasn’t interested in, but it did make me realize I was standing around waiting for people to arrive, to rescue me, rather than actually enjoying myself being on my own.

So I headed to the bar. One bartender gave me a free glass of wine, and the other a huge smile and asked how my son was doing, making small talk about Halloween. I chatted to the guy standing next to me at the bar for a bit, making jokes, then to a few ladies clustered around. I made my way closer to the music and then got myself dancing along.

I started feeling more comfortable in my own skin. I talked easily to a few other girls on the dance floor. I clinked glasses with an older man leaning on a cane and nursing a beer, and he introduced me to his brother who realized he had seen me in this video singing along with Tyler and our little dog.

Soon enough my friends showed up, then some family too, and we danced and laughed the rest of the night away. It ended with us closing out the bar and then getting poutine at 3am, not worrying about getting up early, just telling stories and hanging out.

It felt like I was in my 20s again, but I was never really a carefree person who doesn’t worry about little things. I’m an overthinker sometimes. I’m careful about what I do. I worry. I wonder what people will say – and even though I thought becoming a mom changed that, focussing me on what’s important, I still feel anxious and out of place sometimes. Slipping on a bit of a brave face and forcing myself to have a good time to overcome these little doubts helped last night. I ended up enjoying myself, really, truly, even on my own in a crowd. I’m pleased about that.

Last breath of summer at Andrew Haydon

I had hoped to head out to one of our favourite local parks, Andrew Haydon Park, as one of the items on my summer bucket list. In my mind, I would pack a healthy, tasty picnic lunch and we’d enjoy it in the mild summer sunshine of a Friday afternoon. Summer has more or less gone now, but this week has been treating us to a few more days of hot weather. After work yesterday we realized it was warm outside, we both had the evening free so I decided, let’s do it!

So we hopped in the car, picking up ice cream on the way rather than a picnic, and in a few minutes we were there.

ice cream

park boat


We started out sitting on a bench, sampling our ice cream before little J couldn’t help but go chase the seagulls this way and that. Then we moved to playing in the sand by one of the wooden ship play structures, and soon enough another family arrived, popping on the water and encouraging their little guy strip down to play and splash and slide. I had thought we’d avoid all that but one look at this kid and mine was pulling his clothes off.

It was pretty funny to watch while he ran around and splashed, drenching his toes in the water, then racing off onto the grass. After watching the other kid do it over and over, my little J finally plucked up the courage to slip down the huge silver slide into a giant mud puddle, a squealing, running blur in his little Batman briefs. I was worried he’d land face first, but he didn’t, and would do a hilarious little victory dance, then run around around in a wide circle following each successful dismount.

Once they left, little J ran around a ton and dried off, so we started to walk towards the water and the bandshell. There’s a tunnel under the road, perfect for running through at full speed clutching my hand and shouting happily to hear his voice echo. There was a bridge to clomp over. And then, there was the sun starting to set gloriously over the water and through the trees. Lots of space to run and play, and we picked our way across the rocks at the edge of the water until J decided it was time to lay down smack in the middle of a grassy field and rest. We joined him, laying and listening as the evening started to settle in around us.


hanging out

It’s such a beautiful park, with geese and ducks, groundhogs, chipmunks, squirrels, and even a frog or two hopping out from underfoot. There’s little picnic tables scattered around, two massive playground areas and lots of paths for walking and cycling. They have barbecue pits, a water fountain and washrooms, plus lots of space to just walk and think and enjoy. It’s so spread out that it doesn’t seem too busy.




And the sunset. People were set up here and there in chairs and on benches, talking quietly or taking selfies, but all with one goal in mind: to watch the sun dip farther and father behind the treeline, setting the water into ripples of fire. It was stunning!


Andrew Haydon Park sunset

We finally made our may back to the car, hungry and full of sand, but so satisfied. I’m glad we got to go there one last time this summer.

sunset kid