Since the kids were at Youth Conference, it was just Doug and I who joined them and WOWSER!!! So fun! Ann's home was decorated to the nines for the season...fall and Halloween. It's always above and beyond beautiful, but this was just as festive and fun as could be! Here's a few pix from the evening....
Here's Doug and I... or should I say, Indiana and Gypsy Rose, before dinner.
Ann is the most amazing hostess. She had everything planned to the minute and things worked like clockwork. Dinner was homemade soups, cornbread, some of the best guacamole I've ever tasted and lots of very festive foods...bats, pumpkins and caterpillars...
... and these tasty little treats... eeeewwwwwww to the eyes, heaven to the taste!
After dinner upstairs and down, we split up into adults and kids. The kids all filled their bags with treats and gifts while trick or treating to all of the doors in Trace and Ann's home. They made three rounds throughout the house and loved every second of it, coming away with quite a stash of fun prizes and treats!
While the kids were trick or treating, my part of the evening was making homemade donuts in Ann's downstairs kitchen. I'd prepared the dough at home, just before we arrived, and it just continues to grow until they are all cooked. These, if I do say so, were some of the best donuts I've yet to make! I only ate a couple of holes, but everyone was very happy to go home with a big bag of them, after making almost two hundred! Literally! I did one and a half times the recipe. From now on, one batch! I loved visiting with all of the helpers while making the donuts! The only thing missing was Carol, who was with another sister on a trip to North Carolina.
Once the donuts were done and packaged up to take home, the games began. The kids had some fun science experiments upstairs, as well. I was totally sick just watching the kids eat the gross Harry Potter Jelly Beans... skunk spray, barf, boogers... literally tasting like the nasty titles that they had. There was a competition in heats until the last "man" standing... he was ten, but for the $20 grand prize, the last two boys were toughing it out until the end! WOW! And dangit, I video-taped the boys gagging through it, but didn't get any still shots!
Following the kids games, they all went upstairs to watch a movie (and we never heard a single sound from them), while the grown-ups did a few minute to win it games and then a very fun game called Hollywood Game Night. SO FUN! We played that for over and hour. It's a box game, which we will definitely be adding to our game collection soon!
The evening was just perfect in every way. I sent a thank you to Ann late that night, after we were home, hottubbed and climbing into bed, telling her how wonderful the event was, but even more, how I felt about what was really happening there... Honestly, the party was fabulous. She's the most amazing hostess I know! BUT. THAT wasn't what impressed me nearly as much as the fact that Trace and Ann had three of their four daughters there, most of their grands (elementary age to married adults), a sister and part of her adult family there, plus Doug and I. And everyone was genuinely thrilled to be there. Everyone participated! Everyone was totally enjoying every minute. Everyone was getting along and willing to help, be a part of the games and activities, to help clean up, to visit and laugh with everyone else. THIS was the accomplishment of the evening.
To see a family so close and getting along so well is a rarity in today's world. These siblings, cousins, aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, grands were one. What a gift! And, to Doug and I, that was a statement of a loving couple who have raised a wonderful family in a way that they want to be together. There's nothing better than that! NOTHING at all!
I've hosted probably twenty-five Halloween Parties in our thirty-eight years of marriage and attended probably just as many, but this was the best we've ever attended... and it really and truly wasn't the fact that it was the best, and it was, BUT, it was the feeling that we had when we left! We felt edified and excited about family...which is really what life is all about, right?!
Life is good!