Halloween – or Hamilween! – 2017

Happy fall, y’all!  I hope everyone had a great Halloween.  We kicked off the holiday season in grand style with Halloween festivities over several days.  Ready for the usual massive photobomb of a recap post?

Trick-or-Treating at Mount  Vernon

First up on the Halloween agenda was a new-to-us activity: trick-or-treating at Mount Vernon!  We are members, and have taken the kids to special events there in the past, but we hadn’t done this one before.  It looked like fun, so we signed up and on Friday after work, we drove down to the estate with… wait for it, wait for it


The costumes were actually Peanut’s idea – well, the Eliza costume was.  Back in September, she mentioned that she wanted to be “Eliza” for Halloween.  Thinking “Doolittle” – an Eliza I didn’t think she knew about, I said, “Eliza who?”  And with great scorn in her voice (is she five or fifteen?) she replied, “Mom.  The Schuyler Sister.”  Ohhhhhh.  Well, once I realized what she meant, I obviously thought it was a great idea, and some googling led me to a “Colonial Lady” costume on Amazon that was just the right shade of blue to serve as an Eliza Hamilton costume.  There was one left and it was her size – done!  And then, as I was adding it to my shopping cart, Amazon piped up with a “suggestion” – would I like a “toddler Alexander Hamilton” costume?  YES.  YES I WOULD.

Mr. Treasury Secretary Hamilton looked very handsome in his gold-trimmed black velvet I KID YOU NOT.

Our first order of business at Mount Vernon was to figure out where the candy was.  They gave us a map of the trick-or-treating, which helpfully plotted out the candy spots, but it wasn’t clear what the candy collection points actually looked like.

Some wandering and running ensued, but we eventually found the candy.  They had volunteers dressed in period costumes standing at various spots, with big baskets of candy.  The kids had fun spotting the actors and going from basket to basket collecting mini candy bars.

Sadly, Nugget no longer says “twee twee!” for “trick or treat!”  But he was pretty cute nonetheless.  A couple of times, he tried to weasel some extra candy out of the volunteers.  They were having none of it.  (At one point, after Nugget tried to reach into a basket and grab a handful for himself, Steve leaned over and said to me: “Hamilton doesn’t hesitate – he exhibits no restraint – he takes and he takes and he takes…”  Haha!)

Eventually, we found our way to Lady Washington, who was sitting by the entrance to the Mansion greeting her guests.  She interacted with the kids in character, and it was amazing.  To Nugget, she said, “You look like a handsome gentleman, in your coat in the new style.”  Ha!  I explained who they were, and she was all over it.  “Eliza!  I knew you before you were married!  I used to call you Betsy.  Betsy, do you remember, I was there when Alexander proposed marriage to you.  Alexander, you were quite a spiffy dresser!”  I was DYING.

She even let Peanut – excuse me, Eliza – hold her parasol.  I’m telling you.  DYING.

All in all, trick-or-treating at Mount Vernon was both hilarious and successful.  The kids came home with bags full of candy and Steve and I laughed at their costumes all night.

Lee-Fendall House Pumpkin Hunt

The Lee-Fendall House children’s party and pumpkin hunt was a repeat event for us.  Last year, we met up with a school friend for the party and everyone had a great time, so we decided to reprise the event.  It was a great event, just like last year.  Unfortunately, our gang wasn’t really up for it this time.  Nugget was feeling emotional about something (being two is complicated…), Peanut was straight-up belligerent, and her BFF was very upset that she didn’t win the costume contest.  BFF’s mom and I decided that we may have outgrown this one (even though it really is a terrific party) and should look for something else next year…

As you can see, no one wanted their pictures taken.

Last year, Nugget won the pumpkin hunt.  This year, Steve was encouraging him to “defend the title” and he gave it a good effort but…

Alas, we did not win.  Unless you count collecting dozens of temporary tattoos as winning, which – actually – Peanut totally does.

The costume parade was adorable, too.  Peanut and her BFF – the witch – had fun marching around and showing off their costumes.  But they were on the older end of the partygoers, and I think we’ll definitely find something for older kids next year.

Pumpkin Picking at Wegmeyer Farms

Back this summer, I made plans to meet up with a sorority sister – who I haven’t seen since graduation! – and her family to pick pumpkins at Butler’s Orchard, where we picked blueberries over the summer.  As our fall schedules filled up, it got harder and harder to coordinate, but we really wanted to make it work so that our kids could meet – she has two little girls, one a little older than Peanut and one around Nugget’s age.  It turned out that the Sunday before Halloween was the only day we could all do, so we planned to head up to Maryland then.  Unfortunately, that Sunday ended up being rainy and gross, and we called it off when we saw the weather reports.  But we still needed pumpkins, so we hastily rearranged some plans and headed out to Loudoun County, Virginia, to collect our pumpkins from Wegmeyer Farms on Saturday afternoon instead.  (It was just our family, as sadly, my sorority sis and her fam were booked up on Saturday – hence the original plan to go on Sunday.)

The pumpkin field was small, but was dotted with pumpkins of all sizes, shapes and colors – I’d never seen such variety at a pumpkin patch before!  It was simply beautiful.

The kids wanted to ride down the hill in the wagon.  I tried pulling them myself, but I couldn’t control the wagon – don’t let the angle of this picture fool you; the hill was STEEP.  So we called in the big guns – Daddy!

About halfway down the hill, we stopped and let the passengers out.  Peanut and Daddy continued walking down the hill to check out more pumpkins, while Nugget and I decided there were plenty of good options right where we were.

Nugget was a man on a mission – to find the biggest pumpkin in the field.

There were some gigantic gourds.  (You bet I coordinated my sneakers to our activity.  Doesn’t everyone?)

Nugget and I agreed on a reasonably large pumpkin and then Peanut returned to look for one more family pumpkin.

This one is huge, let’s get it!

I love this picture – it captures them so perfectly.  Mr. Personality and Lady Belligerent.

Back up the hill!

Up at the farm store, they had mums, small gourds, and cider donuts – among other treats.  We bought a “pink porcelain doll” pumpkin because they supported breast cancer research.

And we picked out a few small gourds for a little seasonal tabletop display, meaning that I have officially become my grandmother.

Pumpkin Preparations

On Sunday, we settled in for a rainy day at home.  My friend Zan had texted on Friday and asked if we wanted to get together for the football game – or, more specifically, for the guys to watch the football game while the girls hung out and chatted.  With our original Sunday plan having been rained out, we were totally up for some friend time.

Zan promised to bring a red lentil chili, so Peanut and I assigned ourselves the task of baking cornbread and gathering the other accompaniments – cheese, yogurt, and crispy onions (which I actually forgot to set out).  Once our friends arrived, we got down to the business of having fun.  The boys turned on football and the girls sipped bourbon, apple cider and rosemary cocktails (well, the grown-up girls did), ate chili, and baked pumpkin muffins with Peanut.  Such a fun day!  It’s always a blast hanging out with Zan and Paul – I’m so glad we’re all together in D.C.

On Monday, we brought our pumpkins inside for a sticker-fest.  One of these years we will carve the pumpkins again, but for now – stickers are a lot cleaner, safer and less hassle.  (I do plan to cut the pumpkins open and scoop out the seeds for roasting, eventually.  I won’t go without my roasted pumpkin seeds, even if we don’t carve jack-o-lanterns!)


Finally, the main event!  On Tuesday, we dressed the Hamiltons up for another venture out on the town.  There is a street in our neighborhood that closes to traffic and turns into a big block party – the houses go all out with giant candy cauldrons, wild and weird decorations, lights, fog – the works.  We checked out the scene last year and obviously that had to happen again.

We started from the south end of the street this time, and it was a circus!

Refusing to smile for pictures.  Sigh.  Can’t win ’em all.

Eventually, after about thirty minutes of searching and exchanging text messages and bumping into several other people we know, we found Peanut’s BFF and her family – our trick-or-treating buddies.

The Hamiltons and their witchy friend had their game faces on.  I’ll let the pictures speak for themselves.

Everyone loved Nugget’s costume, but only a couple of people actually got what the kids were without being told – I was surprised!  I thought that more people would catch on, given how popular the Broadway musical is – but a few did.  One kid shouted “They recreated Philippa Soo’s costume!” and that was the only person to get it based on Peanut.  Two people called out “Is that a little ALEXANDER HAMILTON?” when they saw Nugget, but he also got asked if he was Patrick Henry, George Mason, and Liberace.  We also saw (an adult) George Washington, who called, “Hey, you’re from… my period!” – to which I responded, “This is your right-hand man, Alexander Hamilton.”  Ha!  Once we explained to folks who the kids were supposed to be, everyone loved their costumes.

BFF’s dad had it goin’ on with his wig.

We went door-to-door collecting candy (and got enough to last the kids until Christmas!) until the sun set and it was legit dark – and with a wilting Founding Father and wife in the stroller, headed home to see if we got any trick-or-treaters of our own (we got two groups, for five kids total – an improvement from last year, when we only got one kid!).

Happy Halloween, one last tiiiiiiiiiiime… BOO!

2 thoughts on “Halloween – or Hamilween! – 2017

  1. Pingback: 2017: A Year in Review | Covered In Flour

  2. Pingback: It’s Nugget’s Birthday! What Are You Reading? (March 11, 2019) | Covered In Flour

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