Our boys’ favorite holiday is Halloween. They may not love scary things, but they love talking about them. There are scores of kids books that tackle the scary holiday without freaking out the boys, such as my favorite – By the Light of the Halloween Moon. We don’t even own the book but every time we go to the library no matter the season this gets read. Another favorite is Arthur’s Halloween. I enjoy Marc Brown’s books in general because he’s good a giving his characters distinctive personalities.
This Halloween we left town. Our nephew’s birthday party fell on Halloween and the kids were bummed to not be home to trick or treat with the kids in the neighborhood. Probably the best thing about living where we do is the dozen or so kids 8 years or under right in our block. So we invited them all for a Halloween party on all hallow’s eve eve.
We embarked on what would be the kids “favorite Halloween ever”; celebrating a birthday and experiencing Leesburg’s wonderful Halloween events. Our kids are not shy and also not the type to talk to strangers, but on Halloween the thought of a big bowl of candy sitting behind every door motivated them to hit every door. Because it’s not a heavily foot trafficked area, each house made sure everyone got a handful. It’s fun to see them come out of their shell in such a big way, as well as bond with their now 4 year-old-cousin.
The trick or treating led to Leesburg’s Halloween parade. Leesburg and Loudoun County, in general, is more populated than our small town, but the parade wasn’t overcrowded and had the most generous candy tossers I’ve ever seen. Even the doctor’s office float was throwing Dots. There’s probably still Twizzlers and tootsie rolls laying around. Having a parade actually on Halloween is awesome because every kid is in costume and half the adults as well.
Back at my brothers we checked out the unbelievable score. I haven’t seen a bag filled like that since the 80s and before Halloween had hours or there were lame ideas like Trunk or Treat. This getting away from Halloween being a community-based holiday is a new pet peeve How else can we tell who are the jerks of the neighborhood. You know the ones. Both their cars are in the driveway and they have their porch light on 364 days a year. Also we know the neighborhoods most generous. I still remember the lady who gave out full sized candy bars when I was a kid. She never had to worry about her leaf pile being demolished or toilet paper on mischief night. She paid for protection with sugar.
The kids picked five of their favorites candies and traded in the rest for lego sets. We’re pretty strict (compared to most) about candy apart from Halloween and Easter, so were a little surprised they went for the idea.
The next day we spent at the National Air and Space Museum in Chantilly. It’s super impressive and worth the trip, kids or no kids. It’s probably even better with no kids to be honest. I don’t think I was able to read one description but watching the kids move around in awe of the giant aircrafts and spaceships was my highlight.
The Air and Space Museum in DC is limited by size but the one in Virginia isn’t. It has a full-sized Space Shuttle, Concord jet, and even the notorious Enola Gay, which lead to one of those tricky conversations with the boys.
The museum is free, the parking isn’t, but $15 is a small price to pay. I’m sure it’s not easy to keep the museum free, but one of the downsides is the only restaurant in the entire Museum as far as I can tell was a McDonald’s. It marked my first trip to McD’s since 2004. I’m sure the next time I’ll be there is likely at the same museum. Don’t let that sour you though, the museum is completely worth a couple of Happy Meals.