The Great Halloween Carnival


Every town has at least one Halloween event, whether it be a carnival, a party, a trunk or treat, or corn maze. No matter the name, I hate them. Of course they are adorable and creative and the children are delighted to be there. But all of that awesomeness is surrounded in a big, transparent cloud of suck for most of the parents. I love the idea of them, and I love Halloween. During the months of March thru September I even look forward to them because by then I have downplayed the horrors of last year’s events. I will still be in attendance every year, though, because that’s what parenting is. Forcing yourself into ridiculous situations for the enjoyment of your children. And that’s okay, I can do that. I love seeing the giddy smile on my daughter’s face as she realizes we are in a place literally filled with candy. That, and the Reese’s cups I am definitely stealing later totally make up for the craziness.

Today we attended a Halloween carnival at our local community college. It was a darling event with great decorations, friendly staff, and creative games. I walked in, was greeted by a lovely woman offering my child candy and thought ahh, this is off to a great start. And then I remembered there were other people with their children here so, never mind. Having a two year old at these kind of events is harder because she’s old enough to want to participate but doesn’t have the attention span to wait in a line to fish for candy. We spent the first couple of minutes wandering around looking for something that she could do as she shouted out the names of other children’s costumes, often right in their faces with sheer intensity. I’d like to take a moment to sincerely apologize to the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle that my daughter literally chased down while yelling, “It’s a TURTLE!”. We finally settled on cookie decorating where my daughter promptly licked the communal frosting knife (leading me to wonder how many times it had been licked before that) and then dropped her cookie covered in pitch black never comin’ off frosting on the floor. That whole event lasted about three minutes.

Next came the trick or treat bag decorating table. After finally finding an open seat, a lot of which were filled with parents who were unable to stand next to their child as they colored, I set my child up with the markers and let her have at it. It went great for awhile until other children wanted to use the markers. “It’s okay,” I told her, “We share the markers, you can use the orange and the other kids will use the other colors.” As I said this a much older child viciously grabbed up ALL of the markers and protectively kept them in the crook of her arm while my child stared on in horror (like she hadn’t ever done that before). Deciding she was done with that she hurried over to a nearby playhouse that had been set up. To her dismay there were already three kids in the playhouse and she turned to look at me in desperation. How dare there be other children in there, I should have the power to fix this! There’s no way in hell that a brightly colored children’s playhouse should attract the attention of any toddler but my sweet princess. Unacceptable.

My child realized that she didn’t have enough candy yet so we were off again with shouts of “Let’s get more!”. We found a fortune teller’s booth where all you have to do is sit on a chair for 30 seconds and then get some candy. We can do this! No, actually, we can’t. Too much to ask, my bad. My child marched up to the person in charge and said loudly, “I JUST WANT THE CANDY!”. The poor woman obviously had not been accosted like that yet today because she was very taken aback and it took her a minute to offer to give my daughter the candy without sitting in the booth. In an attempt to pretend like we are civilized people I thanked her but insisted we could sit in the booth like everyone else first. As we exited the booth she caught sight of the aforementioned ninja turtle and we had to make a run for the pumpkin decorating booth. There I attempted to decorate an impossibly cute Frankenstein pumpkin. My daughter had decided that was completely unacceptable and had a meltdown because she “didn’t like it”. My beautiful pumpkin is hiding in the trunk of our car until I can sneak it on the porch to be displayed like the handsome fella he is.

All in all it wasn’t totally horrible, but as a parent who struggles with anxiety and doesn’t enjoy being in crowded areas, and especially as a parent of an extremely intense child, I am glad it’s over with. I am now going to go find that Reese’s I promised myself. I wish you all the very best of luck and strength at your next Halloween events. Remember, it’s for the kids and even more important, you get candy.



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