Thursday, October 31, 2013

Book of Me #9 - Halloween

Yes... I skipped ahead! I'll come back to prompts 5, 6, 7, & 8 since Halloween is today! The shorter days and work stress over the past couple of weeks haven't been very conducive to my writing at all. So instead of writing a big flowery post about my history with Halloween with all the cute pictures that I know are around here somewhere... this is what's speaking to me now. There's always next year (and the year after... etc...) to write of Halloweens past.

The writing prompt:

This week’s (Week 9) prompt is Halloween

Have you ever participated in a Halloween event?
When was it?
Where was it?
What did you dress as?
Trick or treat?

In a nutshell, I've participated in Halloween in one way or another pretty much every year since I was born. Princess, Witch, Gypsy, Cowgirl, Leopard, Go-Go Girl, Southern Belle. My sister had the BEST costume when she was one year old. She was a Ladybug! That's me in my Princess costume (at least, I THINK I'm a Princess?). I look a little shellshocked. Ha!!




I always have a different costume, never a "sexy" anything (nurse, pirate, etc). I think I was in Jr High the last time I trick-or-treated, and until just recently I was never home to pass out candy to the local kids. 

Every year, I run into the same issues when October 31st rolls around. I'm always a few pounds heavier than the month before, with no get-up-and-go and a candy hangover. You see, once Halloween is on the horizon, every store stocks their candy aisle with about a zillion pounds of sugary goodness.

Here's the Halloween Candy Aisle in Walmart a couple of weeks ago. I usually shop at Target, but theirs is broken up into 3 short aisles and was harder to take a picture of. Even the little grocery store up the street from me has a big display right when you walk into the store. It's everywhere!


Every year... year after year... October rolls around. (shocking!) The days get shorter and colder. The world outside gets begins to die off and lose summer's lush green luster. Flowers wilt and fall. It's pitch black outside when my alarm goes off in the morning and nearly dark by the time I get off work. Then one morning, there will be frost on the lawn and the garden is done. The trees lose their leaves. The spiders move inside. Everything slows down, including me. My coping mechanism? CANDY.

After a month of mourning the loss of summer and losing myself in the bottom of a bag of Chewy Nerds, I feel like crap. I'm exhausted and on Sugar Overload. About 13 years ago, I actually spent a Saturday afternoon on the couch watching TV while my roommate and one of our mutual friends carved pumpkins in the dining room not 10 feet from me. And the sad thing is that the more I eat, the more I want. I can polish off a bag of jelly beans in one sitting. So, when the time comes to pick out a Halloween costume, I feel terrible. Fat, pasty, and puffy. My requirements for the perfect costume? Something that's roomy and doesn't show any skin.

Here I am as the Perky Viking in 2006, the last year I did the Halloween Pub Crawl in Chicago. It's about 10am and we're taking the L ("el"... Chicago's elevated train) in our costumes. (That pub crawl needs it's own post!)



This year, I had an epiphany!! After about a week's worth of candy temptation, something clicked. I was driving home from work one day thinking about my history with this time of year and wondering what Halloween was like when Mom was younger, it hit me. They were probably lucky to get any candy at all. I flashed back to the old movies that I'd seen that showed (literally)... a kid in a candy store. One slim penny in hand, trying to pick just ONE piece of penny candy. 

Times just aren't like that anymore.

The thing that I really liked about becoming an adult (although I'm not sure when that happened, exactly), is that I could do whatever I wanted and no one could tell me "No". I could spend my time and money on whatever I wanted. I could go wherever I wanted, spend time with whoever I wanted, and stay out as late as I wanted. I went through a period of time in my 20s when I had a pretty well paying job and I would talk different friends into going to Red Lobster with me. I literally ate there 3x a week for months! Sure, I got REALLY good at cracking into crab legs with a surgeon's precision... but was it the best financial decision? Probably not.

The same thing goes for Me & Candy. It used to feel like a treat... then a coping mechanism... but sometime in the past month, it turned into a punishment. Here I am, feeling bad about myself and the weight I've gained over the past 20 years and my "treat" is to completely saturate my system with jelly beans? That's right. It's not just Halloween. It just STARTS with Halloween. Then it continues with leftover candy through to Thanksgiving when I gorge myself on food all day and stock up on Christmas Candy. Then by the time Christmas actually rolls around, I can barely eat my Mom's homemade candy... peanut brittle... chocolate clusters... and my favorite, Butter Toffee.... YUM.... After THAT, I go on a health kick about mid-January until they bring out the Easter Candy (my personal favorite) and that completely derails me for another month. THEN I find out that ShopKo sells giant bags of Starburst Jelly Beans YEAR ROUND and it completely throws my program off. One bad day, and BOOM! Candy hangover. By the time Spring and Summer roll around, I'm worse off than the year before.

BUT NOT THIS YEAR!!!!!

I made a pact with myself that day in the car. CANDY is a TREAT. Not a dietary requirement. I promised myself that this year, I would only have candy ON the holiday. Not the month leading up to it and then nonstop until New Year's. So I didn't buy any. And I told Dane that he couldn't, either. He finally broke down this week and got some tiny Crunch bars and Butterfingers, which is fine. They're not my downfall. And since I've been eating GOOD dark chocolate occasionally this year, I found that I don't even LIKE Crunch bars anymore! Not a huge fan of Butterfingers, either! 

And boy... I actually feel pretty good! Sure, I'm run down by the changing seasons and work stress... but physically, I feel pretty great! I can still feel my collarbone and see the muscles in my calves, so I'm doing pretty good! We aren't dressing up in costumes this year, so I don't have to worry about what to wear. But after putting on my fleece pants this week and actually having to cinch them up, I'm feeling pretty good about myself. I'm not bursting at the seams, and that's good enough for now.

Last night on my way home from work, I stopped at ShopKo and got a few bags of candy for the kids tonight. I want to say that I ate maybe a dozen little pieces... a little bag of Whoppers (malted milk balls), a few little rolls of Spree... a couple of pieces of Laffy Taffy... and a few packets of those SweeTarts that melt in your mouth. I tried some Milk Duds, but the caramel kept sticking to my teeth and drove me nuts. The kids are getting those FIRST. 

Tangent: Now, the question of whether I'm doing these kids a favor at all by giving them candy is yet to be seen. But I'm sure not going to be like this lady who's going to hand out a note to obese kids.

This morning, I feel pretty good. My eyes feel a little swollen from all the sugar last night, but the good news is that I have no intention of pigging out on candy today. It doesn't even appeal to me. I might have a few pieces tonight, depending on how I feel... but I'm not going to go crazy. 

Tonight, we're going to sit around and watch a good movie and turn on the porch light and get to know the neighbors a bit. We're going to give candy to their kids and let Max join in. I think we only got about 25 Trick-or-Treaters last year, but we waited to decorate until the "day of"... maybe since we've had them up for a few days now, we'll get more? Either way, I will NOT be chowing down on the leftovers for weeks to come. Anything we don't hand out will be out of the house tomorrow.

Heck, maybe I'll sell it to the dentist in town who's paying $1 a pound and then donating it to the troops. It's a thought... 

Anyway! Happy Halloween, everyone! Maybe I'll get my stuff together and catch up on the writing prompts... if not, no biggie. I'll just do it next year. =)

Update 11/1/13 - I would call last night a success! The trick-or-treaters started coming way before it was dark outside... between 6:30 and 6:45, we had already had a group of three... a redneck treater that hopped out of a red truck when it squealed to a stop in front of our house... and a group of 10 kids from a couple of houses down. Then there was a lull... at 7:20, we had a couple more... at 7:35, we had 5 pre-teens... and at around 8:00, my sister Karen stopped by with her Cowboy kids Makenna and Skylar!

video


We sat and talked with them while the kids jumped on the mini trampoline and forgot about the neighborhood kids for a while. Then at 9:20, a straggling group of 4 stopped and we shut off the light after that. 27 in total... I think it's about the same as last year. We were the only house that we could see on the block that had our porch lights on. My KUNZ cousin, Diane, and her husband live about a 7 minute walk from us in a nearby neighborhood and they had 112!! So I'm not sure what our game plan will be next year.

Oh, and on the candy front... success, as well!! I had a couple of little rolls of Spree and that's about it! I didn't even want it, really, so that helped a lot. Skylar let me pick 2 pieces of candy out of his bucket, so I have a Snickers bar out on the dining room table for later. I did have a Halloween Hello Kitty cupcake for dessert, so that probably helped fill me up. =)


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