Tory, Aden and I are visiting my parents in Nebraska this week while Andi is in Death Valley for work. We're so excited to spend Halloween with my family this year! I have fond memories of celebrating Halloween here as a child. My parent's small hometown is the quintessential place to trick-or-treat; it seems like the entire town gets into the spirit.
Last night, my sister and I took Tory, Aden and my nieces Brooke and Neeley to the annual Night of the Great Pumpkin event downtown. This event wasn't around when I was a kid, so I was anxious to check it out and stretch another Halloween activity out of Tory and Aden's costumes. My sister had gone before and said the downtown area would be swarmed with people, so we decided to get in / get out before the chaos truly began.
To kick-off our festive evening, my sister made Halloween sugar cookies and we set Brooke, Neeley and Tory up with spatulas and orange frosting to decorate their own pumpkin and bat cookies. It was a true mess and yielded zero consumable cookies as Tory sniffled, licked and spread frosting onto her cookies (she's battling a runny nose and cough this week) and Neeley ended up wearing more frosting than landed on her treats. But, the kids had so much fun decorating cookies. It'd definitely be worth doing again sometime.
Then, we cleaned up the mess and dressed the kids in their Halloween costumes. Tory is a "purple princess" this year, a costume she decided early on she wanted to be, and Aden is a little lion cub (Tory's hand-me-down costume from Halloween two years ago) which I thought was fitting since he grunts and roars all the time.
Neeley is going as Little Red Riding Hood this Halloween. My sister, Ashley, made Brooke's Elsa costume and I think it looks so fantastic. She was, by far, the best looking Elsa at the Halloween event last night.
We arrived at the Night of the Great Pumpkin event a few minutes before it began and had our choice of a free pumpkin for each child. The streets downtown were barricaded from traffic and the girls had fun running obstacles through all the pumpkins set out on the town's main street.
We trick-or-treated from business to business, and collected candy in the kids' pumpkin buckets. Tory has trick-or-treating down pat this year, shouting "Trick-or-treat! Thank you!" to everyone she met. It's so fun having a child who really understands the meaning of holidays now.
There were Halloween games, free food, balloon animals and face painting. Kids could get their picture taken by the local newspaper and it would appear in today's newspaper.
There was a giant pumpkin in the center of it all that traveled from elementary school to elementary school earlier in the week collecting children's guesses for its total weight. We didn't stick around to hear the results, but headed back to my parents house after an hour of trick-or-treating for chili and cinnamon rolls. What a fun "pre-Halloween" to get us ready for the real thing tonight!