All Hallows' Eve is upon us — that glorious holiday where our children turn into ghoulish little candy-mooching beggars.
I couldn't be more thrilled.
It’s fun to see them get excited and transform into Elsas and pirates. But the best thing is eating from their candy buckets when they aren’t looking. Bring on the fun-size Snickers!
But do you know what I don’t get excited about? The annual elementary school Halloween parade.
Personally, that event would be a must skip every year if it wasn’t for the fact that my kids love it and expect my attendance. I sound like a Halloween Scrooge, I know, but the parade isn’t actually a parade at all. Here’s how it typically goes.
You have to get to the school super early if you hope to catch a glimpse of your costumed kiddo because every other parent, grandparent, aunt, daycare provider, neighbor and their dog will also be there craning their necks and standing on their tip-toes to catch a glimpse of their little goblin.
Once you arrive, you have to park at least three blocks from the school because every car in the district has converged upon the area. You park and then turn up your brisk walk to a near jog because even though your watch says you have 15 minutes until it starts, every other parent is moving with the urgency of one running from fire. By the time you arrive at the school’s main entrance, there is a fine sheen of sweat on your face and you’re digging in your purse for your inhaler.
Of course, you're not late when you arrive. Not at all. The minute you walk into the cafeteria/gymnasium, you see there is ample time to awkwardly stand among the crowd of parents who you mostly don’t know. Also, the gym is hotter than your elevated body temperature, so the fine sheen of sweat quickly turns into the real thing.
Two o'clock arrives and there is no sign of the children, even though the loudspeaker begins playing a distorted version of “Monster Mash” on an infinite loop that will burn its way into your brain by the time you exit the building. You wait and sweat until the students finally arrive 10 minutes later, smiling as they parade through the multi-purpose room.
Boom. All the cameras go up.
But the kids are shockingly fast — parading at a rate of speed that has them in and out of the gym in around 30 seconds. So parents need to be on-point with their camera game. I definitely recorded someone else’s masked Batman one year. My video footage was complete with my crooning “awwww” audio as I watched what I thought was my kid strutting across the gymnasium. Wasn’t he just the cutest?
However, two classes later — after I’d put away my phone and let my mind wander to places far from the elementary school — I saw another Batman. He was exiting, all finished with his runway walk, but I recognized the back of that head. That unruly cowlick belonged to my Batman! I fumbled for my camera but it was too late; Batman had left the building. (Sorry, Tyler.) Side note: I totally let him believe the Batman footage was him and he never knew the difference; thank God first-graders are easy.
Ultimately, the school parade is a lot of headache to see your kid walk for a solid 20 seconds. But when they look at your pictures later and reminisce about the “awesome” parade, it’s totally worth it.
Lynn Kirkle is a writer and lives in Omaha with her husband and five children. She writes twice a month for momaha.com, and can be found on Twitter @LAPainter.