Ah, the crisp cool air of Fall! The beautiful, colorful leaves falling gently and blanketing the streets. The comforting smell of smoke curling out of chimneys on brisk evenings. I adore everything about Autumn, which makes it quite unfortunate that I live in Southern California.
As I write this, it’s October 24th and 108 degrees. It’s sweltering, my air conditioner is running nonstop and leaving the house is excruciating. At 5:30 am, I thought I heard running water in the backyard and was concerned that we’d broken a sprinkler. I opened the door to check it out and was hit with a wall of hot, dry air. It was already 89 degrees and the sun wasn’t yet up.
Hope’s special needs soccer team has canceled practice tonight because it’s too hot for the kids to practice safely. And this is despite the fact that they practice after the sun has already gone down. Even in the “cool of evening”, it’s too hot to play.
Nonetheless, we are doing our best to pretend that we have seasons here in the greater LA area. Our house is decorated in pumpkins and sweaters, jackets and long sleeves are on all the store mannequins. We are embracing our non-existent Fall, and planning for Halloween. We are eternal optimists.
Except, ironically, the one of us who is named Hope. She’s not pretending that it’s a hunky-dory Autumn. She doesn’t go outside and try to fake weather enjoyment and she has no intention of trying. And she really, really loathes Halloween.
When she was small, we dressed her up in the cutest costumes. She was a bumblebee, a cow, Tinkerbelle, Mulan, a cow girl. We took pictures of her looking adorable but absolutely disgusted. She wanted out of those weird clothes, and she wanted everyone else looking normal, too. She doesn’t get Halloween and she doesn’t want to!
She also hates Trick or Treating, and she hates it when people come to our home for candy. If we’re home and distributing candy, she hides as far away from the door as possible. I’ve tried to coax her to help me hand out candy and see the cute costumes, but no go.
One year, a tiny little knight in shining armor literally rode a Shetland pony up to our front door and held out his bucket. Hope loves horses, but this pony had totally lost her respect. Any horse involved in Trick or Treating is no horse she wants to be acquainted with, and she refused to look at him.
Gray, however, loves all things Halloween. He loves the cute and the creepy, he loves dressing up and he loves candy. He wants to participate in every Halloween activity possible, and he jumps in with gusto. You can imagine how challenging it can be to balance the needs of both kids.
This year, I’m not sure what we’ll do. We have the option of staying home, going to one of several parties or Trick or Treating through the neighborhood. We’re still figuring it out, but I think we can count on this: Whatever we choose, we will sweat. Because it’s Fall in Southern California.