Saturday, October 27, 2012

The Thing About Quitting When You're Ahead, Is That You Almost Never Know You Are Ahead (or, Proof That Last Year's Halloween Fair Was Indeed the Apex)

As Ander and Zaza had SO MUCH FUN last year, they were SO EXCITED to attend this year's Halloween Fair at their old school.  Every Fair had been better than the previous year's.  This year's was therefore going to be AWESOME!!!

Just like last year, they would run free within the confines of the school grounds and see old friends and eat bake-sale-sweets and food-truck-food and knock teachers into dunking booths and run screaming through the haunted house and maybe ohpleaseohplease get to take a turn scaring their buddies while 'working' in the haunted house.

Still, I knew -- I knew because last year had been so great -- that their expectations were too high and that they were going to be disappointed.  

(The thing about quitting when you're ahead is that it's very, very hard to convince yourself that you have reached the pinnacle when all you have to back that up is a gut feeling.)

And when my attempts to coordinate a haunted-house-centered meet-up between Ander and the Chicken Dude were rebuffed earlier this week, my gut told me loud and clear that the impending fun-fest was going to be a big let-down.

But I didn't want my adult pessimism to kill their shiny-eyed enthusiasm.  

We headed out -- A&A in steampunky costumes of their own invention, me in a witch hat and stripy shirt -- opting to go at sunset so as to miss the heat (but in time to see the "Thriller" flash-mob and have a food truck dinner).

And guess what?  

It was a big let-down, and they were indeed disappointed.

I couldn't let the kids run around as freely as last year because it was reallyreally dark and we couldn't find each other.  Most of Aliza's friends were gone already, or -- like her favorite teacher, Ms. L. -- leaving the Fair as we were arriving.  Aliza was too scared to go into the Haunted House, and Ander wouldn't go in without me, and I spent ages trying to find somebody who could watch Aliza before I could take Alexander through (thus he only went through once).

Alexander did not get to hang out with the Chicken Dude because the Chicken Dude was in fact working (without Ander) inside the haunted house and didn't want to take a break and when I asked the guy running the haunted house if he could use an extra frightener (an experienced one, who had worked so hard and had so much fun last year) he said no, thanks.

I was so sad and frustrated for him that I -- glass-is-half-empty me -- could only focus on the overlong food truck lines and the Costco-bought bake sale items and the craft booth that pretty much ripped off the Owl Service booth of yore.

But Ander -- glass-is-half-full-look-at-the-bright-side-Super-Optimist Alexander --  has only good things to say about the evening.

So I will try to do the same.

Good stuff at the Halloween Fair:
  • terrific bands -- including a favorite 5th grade teacher's hard rock band, and a local teen band who performed brilliant covers of Cranberries songs
  • Aliza getting to see her favorite teacher's aide
  • squeezing Miss Kitty
  • seeing -- and hugging -- some of the wonderful parents I have known for years who I have not had much communication with since switching Aliza to her new school

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