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Raising Wayland: Old Fashioned Trick-or-Treating

Bringing my Halloween traditions to my kids.

I loved Halloween as a kid and still do as an adult. Who doesn't? I have the greatest memories of trick-or-treating back home on the city streets of downtown Providence! 

I remember my sisters and I getting started at 5:30 p.m. and getting home around 9 p.m. with achy feet, smudged face make-up, usually sweaty and exhausted from logging all the walking miles.

The second phase of the evening, which is equally as fun and as important as the ritual of going house to house, is the candy trade! We would dump the contents of our bags onto the floor and sort our candy by its properties: Milk chocolate, plain, with nuts, hard candy, soft and chewy, crunchy, healthy (someone always stuck in the token apple or bag of popcorn!) and the discard pile. 

Then the official candy trade began! Resembling something of an an auction house -- "Two baby Almond Joys with one roll of Smarties for one giant Snickers bar - going once, going twice!!" 

In those days we were allowed to keep our own candy bags within our own personal space (never in a million years would I let my kids do that!!). We would stash our bags under our beds and for weeks we had our daily ritual of a sweet treat and a potential "trade back."

Now, almost 27 years since I my last gig as a "trick or treater," and I continue to get so excited to assist my kids in the yearly ritual of Halloween festivities. I can't wait for all of us to walk the "route," then return home to start to the sorting and trading process. The best part of being a parent is I don't need to dress up to get the candy. By default, I get the discard pile!

What are your Halloween traditions? What's the "It" costume for your kids this year? Do you make the costume or buy it (any tricks for making one)? How do you feel about "tricks" -- Do you allow your teens to carry Silly String, for instance?

Carolyn Noel October 07, 2011 at 06:25 AM
Hi Jenny! Even though my children are grown I still love Halloween. I cherish the memories of the joy in my children as they prepared for the parties and the big night. Yes, I even cherish the memories of sitting at my sewing machine or of having craft glue up to my elbows until the wee hours of the night. As for your mummy I have a tried & true costume. It's easy but will take a little time. If you don't have a sewing machine you can use craft/fabric glue but do it well ahead of time. Go to your local craft/fabric store & purchase both muslin and gauze or gauze like material. How much depends on the age and physical size of your child. You'll have to guess on this but both fabrics are very inexpensive so buy more instead of less and you can use the left over gauze to make ghosts but that's another project :) Muslin comes in all different weights so make sure to buy the cheaper light weight in the white color. Start by tearing the fabrics into strips down the SHORTEST side of the fabric. Don't cut the fabric because you want the uneven and frayed edges. Again depending on the size of the mummy you'll need to quess on the strip width. For a younger child I'd say about 6"-7" width strips should do. If your child is older then go with 8" or 9" because you'll overlap them when wrapping to avoid separating. Next you'll need to sew the short ends together alternating the muslin then the gauze. oops running out of space will complete on another posting
Carolyn Noel October 07, 2011 at 06:56 AM
Hi Jenny, Continuing. Very important to alternate a muslin strip sewn to a gauze strip ending with muslin on both ends. Don't worry if you're not a seamstress. Messy is fine. It is a mummy after all. This is where you'll need to do some guess work. Depending on the size of the mummy will depend on just how many yards long your completed sewn strip will need to be. Do a "trial wrap" and see if you need to add strips to make it longer. Have the mummy wear white clothing underneath. Layers with long underwear on top work great in cold weather. Cut your sewn strip into two equal halfs. Start with a muslin end & begin wrapping both arms using different strips. OVERLAP BY HALF THE WIDTH OF THE STRIP. This prevents separating. When you get to the shoulders continue wrapping by bringing the fabric up UNDER the armpit towards the front. Then crisscross it across the upper chest & then over the shoulders & crisscross again on upper back. Kind of like an 'X'. Do a few times to cover well then start wrapping downward. Hard to explain but you'll see what I mean when you wrap. This is where it's important to have a white shirt underneath because it's very hard to cover the entire shoulder area. Again when you get to legs separate fabric strips one per leg. Safety pin at the bottom. Use pins in other areas if needed. Wrap head & neck leaving eye & mouth holes & tuck or attach ends into back. You can blacken around eyes with makeup if wanted. Sounds complicated but it's not :)
Carolyn Noel October 07, 2011 at 07:01 AM
Jenny, Hope this costume idea helps you. Let me know if you have any questions. Have a wonderful Halloween and enjoy the memories you're making. P.S. Brooklyn (your Wayland Patch editor) never was a mummy but her brother was. Brooklyn made an awesome Raggedty Ann and Rainbow Bright, though :)
Jenny Harding October 09, 2011 at 01:55 PM
Thank you so much, Carolyn! We did a dry run through yesterday with long underwear and gauze. My other son thought it looked so cool that now we will have two mummies for Halloween! Back to the store - I'm sure not for the last time! My biggest concern is that they will have to go to the bathroom after they are wrapped! hahaha
Jenny Harding October 09, 2011 at 02:01 PM
Some people suggest dyeing the material in black tea to make it look a little dirty. I think the boys will like helping with that. We also read that if you sprinkle them with baby powder after they are wrapped it gives them that dusty quality. The boys love this idea and I think we will let them "sprinkle" each other.

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