Tuesday, November 02, 2010

The Grinch That Stole Halloween (Or At Least Part of It)

As per the usual, we had a ton of things planned for Halloween this past weekend: parade through University City, trick-or-treating along the way, friends over for dinner, kids hand out treats to the older trick-or-treaters once it’s dark. This year I wanted to add one more activity on the front end (i.e. early afternoon): a PATCO ride across the bridge and over the river to Collingswood, where kids in costume eat free at a popular diner and where businesses all up and down the main retail drag give out candy. The kids had no idea what I was talking about when I was explaining this to them, but they seemed intrigued (eating out and getting candy? sign me up!). Amy was nervous about overdoing things, so offered a warning, and said she would stay home to get dinner ready. As much as I needed an afternoon nap, I welcomed the chance to do Collingswood with the kids, eat tasty food, and increase our candy inventory.

Alas, it didn’t happen. The kids spent much of the weekend being bratty, disrespectful, and disobedient. To get them to realize the severity of their transgressions (not being thankful, not listening to Amy or me the first time, not cleaning up after themselves), I warned them that Iwasthisclose to pulling the plug on Collingswood. They walked the tightrope Sunday morning but were a mess at and after church, and so I followed through on my threat. Once they realized what they were missing, and why they were missing it, they unraveled further. Amy shook her head and gave me an “I told you so” look, as if their behavior confirmed this was a bad idea from the jump.

As for me, I was happy they were feeling the sting of consequences. Clearly, they need to learn that good stuff like toys and candy and fun trips to Collingswood are contingent on good behavior: if the good behavior goes, so goes the good stuff.

I really did want them to succeed in turning their misbehaving weekend around, because I really did want us to go to Collingswood. But it definitely wouldn’t have been good to go. Halloween ended up being a blast even without Collingswood. But hopefully, in the early afternoon, they learned a lesson. At the least, I got a nap.
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