The Halloween Party

With COVID pretty much behind us (yeah, Maya already brought in someone to give us all the booster to the booster to the booster shot), we got to have a Halloween party this year. When I say “we”, I mean the boys, which means that we had about 20 kids, half of them from Matteo’s class and half of them from Jacob’s.

And guess who got to be the head chaperone?

As with all things at the Sharpman house, the Halloween party was a television event. (How many Halloween parties are there that come with release forms to go with the invitations?) Although it’s new for most of Jacob and Matteo’s friends, having the camera around is second nature to all of us by this point, and I trusted Ethan not to be too obtrusive while he was filming the festivities.

The boys chose their own costumes this year, without any intervention from the committee like we had last year. Matteo wanted to be a witch the way I was last year (he was also very clear that he knows he’s a boy and just thought I looked cool in a dress last year), so they put together a miniature version of the costume that’s still hanging in my closet and got going with the putty to extend Matteo’s nose. It’s definitely handy having a full-time makeup person and a regular tailor on hand.

Jacob, who went as Clayton Kershaw last year, was this year at an age when a cool costume mattered again. (I don’t always understand how the boys change as they grow older, but, then, I’m not a parent.) So he decided he wanted to be a zombie. That got Johann (Maya’s makeup man…who’s still sometimes a makeup woman…he’s still changing his gender the way most people change underwear lol) all excited, although, admittedly, Cassandra (Maya’s tailor) was less enthusiastic about doing ripped bandages and stuff, although she at least got to do some proper sewing with Matteo’s witch costume.

And me?

Ok, I copped out this year, although I had no idea how I’d of been able to top last year’s witch costume anyway. And, since I was going to be the master of ceremonies for the kids’ party, I wanted to be comfortable and hopefully look like an authority figure. So it was back to my Crawdads uniform…with baseball pants tailored by Cassandra, just like she tailors my other baseball pants for the show. I know it means I wasn’t really trying for a costume, but I had other things to think about this year. (Plus Jacob said that I shouldn’t be in something that disguised me too much…the girls from his class would have been disappointed if I didn’t look like I look on TV.)

There was a meeting to discuss the party back at the beginning of October, and mostly what it established was that I was going to be in charge of the whole thing. And I’ve never been to a kids’ Halloween party…we just went trick or treating when I was a kid, and then we TPd each others’ houses when we got a little older lol. At first all I could think of was bobbing for apples and maybe pinning the hat on the witch or something…but then I thought that all the kids from Jacob’s class would think that was super lame (or, even worse, retarded.) None of my friends had any ideas, and, while Melanie Kate was having a party for my nephews, they’re still a few years younger than even Matteo. Melanie Kate actually did have pin the witch on the broom planned, but she agreed that teenagers would definitely think it was lame.

Joyce said there’s one of those mystery novels she likes where the murder takes place at a Halloween party for kids. She said there’s this English game that involves flaming raisins in the dark, which actually sounded pretty fun, but there was no way we were going to let the kids get near even a tiny dish of brandy on TV.

Sandy finally came to my rescue by doing an internet search of Halloween party games, and we came up with a couple ideas that sounded fun.

“You could show a scary movie,” Sandy then suggested. “We could set up a screen outside. I think we’ve got the equipment already.”

That sounded like a good idea, but then I realized it would have to be a scary movie that wasn’t too scary for Matteo’s friends but that Jacob’s friends wouldn’t think was retarded. And what were the odds that about twenty kids would sit still to watch a whole movie? So I decided to pass on that idea.

Then Sandy said: “why not a magic show?”

That sounded interesting.

“But where are we going to get a magician?,” I asked, although I knew we could probably always hire one.

“There’s something about Robert you may not know,” Sandy said. “He’s actually a pretty good amateur magician. He can do some amazing card tricks and stuff. And Maya’s played his lovely assistant when he’s done the act at parties. They’ve even got costumes.”

That sounded pretty awesome, actually.

“And that way they can be involved in the party without having to supervise.”

I half wanted to say that they were welcome to supervise, but I didn’t really mind being in charge of the party. There are times when I feel like I’m not making myself useful enough around the house (or on the show): they can only film me cleaning out the pool so many times before it gets boring lol. It’s just that the closest I ever came to a Halloween party was when our church put on “harvest festivals” with games like bobbing for apples and pumpkin carving contests. We all went to those, but I’m afraid they were pretty lameass. If I was going to be the chaperone at a kid’s Halloween party, I wanted to make dang sure it wouldn’t be lameass.

So I drove around getting 25 pumpkins and 25 pumpkin carving tools that looked like we could trust kids with them and a big galvanized planter that we could use for bobbing for apples. I also hit the Dollar Tree and picked up a mess of decorations with Ethan and a camera for company: there was going to be a whole ‘before’ segment on the show. That included Belen baking Day of the Dead cupcakes, since she said that she didn’t want to make Halloween ones. They came out spectacular, with sugar skulls and multi-colored icing and everything.

I actually had a lot of fun setting everything up on the day of the party after I dropped Jacob and Matteo off at school. Gechitzik was there to keep me company, and I discovered that beagle shepherds don’t like pumpkin. He gave one of them a sniff as I was putting them out, and walked away looking very disappointed. He did come back to see what all the fuss was about when we were carving them later that night, and went away with an even more disappointed look on his face. I guess Gechitzik is a smart beagle shepherd and prefers sweet potato pie to pumpkin lol.

Luckily for my plans, it wasn’t too cold to have the party outside, although the kids did all need hoodies or jackets by the time they went home. They all came in costume, and there wasn’t a Harry Potter or an Elsa in the group lol. Some of the kids looked totally amazing, and that included Jacob and Matteo.

The first thing we had the kids do when the arrived was pick out a pumpkin and start carving it. I got extras because I figured some of the kids would mess up, and I was right. One kid (a friend of Jacob’s…so he was one of the older ones) messed up twice, but he went along with the second messed-up one and his “retarded” pumpkin turned out to take second place when it came to the pumpkin carving contest.

With a girlfriend who’s as good at crafting as Joyce, you’d think some of it would have rubbed off on me by now…but it hasn’t. So my pumpkin was just lopsided triangles for eyes and a lopsided crescent for a mouth. I tried to give it a tooth, but my cutter slipped and that was the end of that. Needless to say, my pumpkin didn’t get a whole lot of votes when it came time to elect a winner.

The winner turned out to be Matteo, who really did something amazing. I texted Joyce a picture and even she was impressed. I’m not sure where he got his idea from, but it really did look great. I guess it’s not cool to have one of the hosts of the party win a prize, but it was the kids who voted for Matteo’s pumpkin. And, to give him credit, Matteo even suggested that we give his first prize (a $25 Target gift card) to the second prize winner and so on down.

We put LED tealights inside the pumpkins so they could light up. Yeah, real candles are better…but I didn’t want to have to deal with 20 kids with live flames. And they LED tealights they make these days flicker kinda realistically. We also wouldn’t have been able to play the next game if we’d had actual fire in the pumpkins: I got the idea off the internet to play bean-bag toss with the pumpkins. Joyce contributed the bean bags, which she ran off on her sewing machine so they’d be a size to fit inside pumpkins. (She wants me to mention that she used Great Northern Beans.) The game proved a big hit with all the kids – so far the older kids weren’t finding things retarded – and we all laughed so much that we lost track keeping score. (Which was good…I only got prizes for the pumpkin carving contest lol.)

And the ex-pro ball player didn’t disgrace himself tossing bean bags into pumpkins. I was one of the best at it, so my eye-hand coordination isn’t shot even if my 30th birthday is right around the corner. (Y’all can probably hear Keaton saying that I’m being gayass for telling people when my birthday is. It’s November 8th, in case any of you don’t remember lol.)

The bobbing for apples came next, and none of the kids really got into it, maybe because it was too old-timey for them – and, after all, we thought that it was pretty lameass at church Harvest Festivals too. We moved along to dinner, which was hot dogs off the grill (I know that’s not the best way to cook a hot dog, but it was the only way me and Belen could make enough hot dogs to feed the crowd.) Belen refused to let frozen french fries come out of her kitchen, so we settled on making a shit ton of Tater Tots, which everyone loves just as much as french fries. (Belen put me in charge of the Tater Tots…after she turned on the oven for me. She’s actually got 4 ovens in the kitchen; we only needed 2 to make Tater Tots for 20.)

Dinner was a success (hot dogs are never retarded lol – and, since Jacob’s got a classmate who says she’s vegan, we even got in fake hot dogs for her. The girl looked like she was going through a phase, which is more than I can say about Monica’s dumbass sister, if y’all can remember her.)

The only thing that was kinda weird was when Jacob came over and told me to look over at the bunch of girls who were staring at me. He said they were doing it all evening long, but I was too busy to notice them. I guess Jacob was right when he said that half the girls in his class had a crush on me lol. And, no, I wasn’t going to take my shirt off for them lol. A little later one, a few girls asked to take selfies with me, which was flattering…although I was super careful not to do anything that could be misconstrued, not after my previous experience with getting accused of sexual harassment, so I made sure that my hands were visible, for example, in every selfie.

Then it was time for the magic show, by which time Maya and Robert – in their magician and his assistant costumes – were done with the trick or treaters (Ethan and the camera went to film them for a while, so the kids had a break and could relax the way people always do when the cameras go away.) I had no idea how it was going to turn out, since I’d never seen Robert do any magic tricks…but it turned out pretty dang awesome. Turns out Robert’s a great magician. He even pulled a rabbit out of his hat – not a real one, since that would have made Gechitzik go berserk, but a stuffed one. He did mostly close-up magic, since the kids were all gathered around where he was performing, and some of it was really pretty dang amazing. Everyone likes a good magic show, and I’m no exception. It also made me wonder what other kinds of tricks Robert had up his sleeve lol. Turns out there’s more to him than just being a relatively silent producer on the show.

We played a few more games after the magic show, although the older kids definitely thought that Spooky Musical Chairs was totally retarded. Everyone enjoyed the last thing we did: a variation of the three-legged race using TP. It’s called Mummy Race and the gimmick is that you wrap toilet paper around the inside legs of the kids instead of tying them together with string or something. The added challenge is that you have to finish the race without the toilet paper coming apart. It wasn’t exactly the most athletic of competitions, but we all got a few laughs out of it.

Up next on my schedule were Belen’s Day of the Dead cupcakes, which everybody loved…although a couple of the girls said they were too pretty to eat, and one of Matteo’s friends was apparently a little scared by the skulls. But when he found out it was chocolate filled with chocolate cream, he got over his fear of the cupcake lol. They were awesome and super chocolatey…and I ate a whole one and washed it down with a glass of whole milk. The weather’s cooling down, so I’m not going to be shirtless too often for a while, although I know dang well that it’s easier to keep a six-pack than it is to get one back (Keaton: “especially at your age, bubba.”)

Then it was time for the kids to go home – it was a school night and part of my instructions was to make sure that the party didn’t go a minute past 9. (Even if the teachers at Jacob and Matteo’s school had a pretty cool policy to not assign homework on Halloween.)

Then I had to be in charge of cleanup, which we got some fun shots of. It was me and Belen, but the boys lent a hand too. They’re actually pretty good about chores in general, when they could be super spoiled and figure that there’s always a maid or Belen (or, yeah, yours truly) to pick up after them. But Maya and Robert are pretty strict when it comes to assigning chores, and the boys are pretty good about doing them. Yeah, of course, they’re kids and they’ll procrastinate, but you pretty much only have to remind them once.

I didn’t know about the boys, but I was exhausted. Supervising that many kids takes a lot out of you. I guess teachers get used to it, but I’m not used to working with groups of kids, and it’s pretty physical work keeping them entertained. Still, the important part is that the kids seemed to have a good time (ok, except for that stretch of time when the older kids thought what we were doing was retarded.)

The other important part – since life at home with Maya is always a reality show – is that Ethan was pleased with the footage he got of the party, and felt that it would be good for half an episode. Since I was pretty much in charge of the party, I was pretty much in charge of the segment, so I was glad that Ethan was pleased.

Once all the cleanup was finished, I went back to the pool house, broke open my daily beer, and, after calling Joyce to tell her how the party went, I felt like I needed a shower before putting on my pajamas and hitting the rack (like Dad always called it.) It was only 10:30…but it was a school night for me, too.

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