Miss Cherry understood the importance of making friends in Elementary School. Friendships to carry you through Middle School, High School, College and beyond. A strong friend base is extremely important, and it all starts to build when you are young. After all, as independent, bright and talented as any child might be…deep down…they still have a fundamental need to “fit in” or belong.
Children like to be invited to sleep over at a friend’s house, or to go to a birthday party. They like to be included in the activities of other children and their families. Kids like to socialize, laugh…all part of belonging. So, it was with this in mind, that Cherry sat her 5th Grade son down and opened the conversation…
“Sweetheart, you’ll be invited to friend’s homes soon enough. You are basically the new kid again.”
The new kid…again…either a blessing or a curse. And, for my son…the social ninja…to not have been accepted back into his various public school friend groups…the ones he had before I yanked him out and dropped him into private school again…to then be yanked out and dropped back into public…well, it was devastating.
“Its okay, Honey. So…you aren’t being invited to the parties. We are just out of the social loop. Remember, when we were off in private school and swimming…they were living their lives. It’s what happens. You have to stay engaged in friendships.”
Silence from one very sad, little boy. “Listen, Sweetheart. This is just about getting back into the friendships that you have…and creating new ones. I have a great idea…we will throw the Halloween Party of the Century…invite the entire 5th Grade…and you just watch what happens. Nothing like throwing a great party to meet new people.”
“Mom, no one will come. I’m not popular anymore and my friends aren’t letting me back into our group.”
“Oh, they’ll come alright. You just watch.”
So, since Cherry was in charge of the school directory (thank you very much)…and a Home Room Mom…she blanketed the 5th Grade with invitations…both via the U. S. Mail…and back packs. Over one hundred kids were invited…sixty RSVP’d. But, over one hundred and ten kids were dropped on the doorstep. It was a parental drop and run of the originals and their siblings. Apparently, the party had become a date night for many of the parents – and she was unknowingly contributing to the “happy couple/adult/cocktail” program all over community.
The home and yard had been artistically turned into a horrifying, spooky, creepy, haunted house…complete with Grimm Reapers (aka teenagers) roaming through the levels of the home, terrifying unsuspecting ten year olds. A Gypsy Fortune Teller (aka her beautiful daughter) in the front room…telling “fortunes”…which was somehow turned into a ‘does so and so like me?’ opportunity by all of the little girls, and a ‘let’s stare at her boobs’ night for the boys. In the living room, a death match had begun on the Dance Dance Revolution Pads, with the game blasting on the big screen. It became all about boys vs. girls, of course. The girls blew them out of the water. Surround sound Halloween music and pop blasting through the house…strobe lights turning the living room into a club scene. Total and complete…anarchy.
The kitchen was filled with the gross and gooey…which they took great delight in eating. One little boy would walk around with the Zombie Fingers Cookies (thank you, Martha Stewart)…and make it a big production as he consumed the sugar cookie flesh. Every flavor of soda flowed, Skittles were hitting their system. Dry ice was in and under everything. “Miss Cherry, this food is so gross and scary…but it’s sooooo gooooood!!!!!”
For Miss Cherry and Miss Melissa (best other 5th Grade Mom in the World)…there was vodka. A full handle of vodka and a Cosmo set up. It made sense. Vodka rich Cosmos for the adults – soda for the ten year olds. Miss Melissa was dressed in a red body suit, complete with a red sequined devil’s tail and horn…and a pitchfork…which she used effectively. Miss Cherry couldn’t dress in her normal Halloween costume…Monica Lewinsky…which she understood to be inappropriate to the age group. She had to settle for either a last minute lame vampire or exhausted Mom…so she decided to go with both.
“Do you see little Arianna up on the hearth?”
“Is she dressed as a Go Go Dancer? What is that costume?”
“Well, she’s in her own little world on that hearth. She’s been up there the entire party, and won’t let anyone up there to dance with her. What are your thoughts on that Miss Melissa?”
“Stripper. Future Stripper.”
“Yep. That little girl has a bright future in the adult entertainment industry.”
About that time, Cherry was joined by another Grimm Reaper…one of her son’s best friends…the cutest little girl in the 5th Grade…Sydney. She has opted out of all princess, Go Go Dancer…girly costumes…and has decided to express her inner sarcastic darkness. She slides up out of nowhere…“Hello, Miss Cherry. So, I scared you good, huh?”
“Yes, you did…Miss Sydney…you Grimm Reaper, you. What are those girls doing over there?”
“In the middle of the dance floor…what are they doing? What is that dance?”
And, about that time…one of the little girls notices she’s being watched and says…”Miss Cherry, may we please pop?”
“It’s just a dance, Miss Cherry. It’s a lot of fun.”
“Sure, sweetheart…pop away.”
Back to Sydney. “So, how is your Mom?”
“When they ask you if they can pop, you should say no. It’s a “no popping” dance floor.”
Cherry and Melissa turn around to see these little girls all popping their behinds up like strippers, and Arianna on the hearth adding the popping to her repertoire.
“NO POPPING!!!!!” And, they resume their normal dance moves. Little tricky ghouls. Don’t dress like a princess and act like a stripper. Anyway, turning back to grab her Cosmo…thin air.
“Sydney, have you seen Miss Cherry’s Cosmo? I keep setting them down, and I can’t find them once I do.”
“Well, it was here…but Cody has been stealing your drinks all night for a group of boys. You shouldn’t put your drink down, Miss Cherry. They distract you…and then, take your drink and share it. Actually, they are getting kinda drunk. One of them was running from one of the teenagers dressed as a Grimm Reaper and ran right into a door.”
Great. So, after an Executive meeting with Miss Melissa…a pact was made not to sacrifice one more ounce of vodka out of neglect. Sneaky little ghouls. Need to keep them organized and busy.
“Okay kids, time for the scavenger hunt. I’m going to divide you into groups of twenty and assign you a teenager or adult. We are going to go out into the neighborhood, try to get the things on our lists…and the first group back wins!”
No response. A strobe light going off, silent stares. Finally, one of their leaders stepped up to say…. “WE WANT TO STAY HERE AND PLAY DANCE DANCE REVOLUTION!!!!!!!!!!!!!! “ To which all of the kids started cheering him on. And to top it off, Arianna is refusing to leave the hearth. Drunk, stripper dancing, sneaky, tricky…uncooperative…little ghouls. Adults rule, kids drool.
Eventually, the first several groups out into the neighborhood. Made Cherry turn to Melissa and say…”I’ll tell you what…when I was a kid, scavenger hunts were too cool. Neighbors handed you the paper clip, rubber band, toilet roll, old newspaper…and whatever else a Mom put on the list. Just so you could bring back your loot and make the art project. Maybe they’ll enjoy the Halloween Party art project.” Miss Melissa had her doubts.
Unfortunately, time had taken its toll on the scavenger hunt from the 60’s and 70’s. It was a million years later, and outdated…from the perspective of a 5th Grader. The hunt was non-party-productive.
“Miss Cherry, Miss Gladys on the corner said to tell you that ‘if one more group of screaming kids comes to her front door for a toilet roll…she’s calling the cops’…and that she will want the toilet paper, rubber bands and paper clips back after your Halloween fiasco.”
There you go…Gladys had no sense of wonderment. Who would call the cops on a 5th Grade Monster Mash? Easy answer…grumpy neighbors who never turned their lights on for the kids at Halloween. I guess the ten year olds pushed right through the lack of holiday cooperation, and were going for the gold. Maybe, Cody and his gang were adding “Bud Light” to their list…who knows? But, since a cop shut down would be damaging to the party purpose, kids were herded back, and candied up. This suited those ghouls just fine. They danced and ran around in the house. Miss Melissa and Miss Cherry drank their vodka. It was a win-win. No cops were called to the scene.
Parents started showing up to pick up their kiddos. Cherry and Melissa had a nice visit with Arianna’s Mom who thought Arianna had special talents, and then, dragged her off the hearth.
Then, they took Cody’s Mom aside to discuss the accidental alcohol intake. Her reply…”That kid steals alcohol all of the time. We had to install a lock on the liquor cabinet. He’s a handful. (wink) Do you have a Cosmo for me?”
So, all of the kids went away sugared up and beyond happy. The parents didn’t have to roam the neighborhood for hours…and Cherry’s son made more friends than he could ever imagine. He had the party of the world…in 5th Grade terms. Matter of fact…this prompted the question…”Miss Cherry, will you have another Halloween Party next year when we are in 6th Grade?”
She had to think about that one. After all, having taught 6th Grade Religious Education at St. Maria’s for years, she knew what happened mid-year in the 6th Grade….the conversion. The conversion from sweet kid to…”I’m almost in Junior High.” It was the time when they were nearing that twelve year old mark in life…and attitude started emerging…and the phrase…”That sucks!”…entered their vocabulary. They’d be kissing in the bathrooms, breaking up and going steady…stealing more alcohol. But…really…Halloween did fall before the mid-year mark. It just might be doable.
“I’m not so sure, sweetheart. Maybe…if y’all are really good for your parents and teachers over the next year, we’ll see. Being that y’all are a bunch of ghouls…zombies…pirates…ninjas…ghosts…well, what can I expect? Full of mischief, all of you!”…a wink and a smile.
When it is all said and done…honestly…happy little ghoul equals a happy Mom. So, it takes you a couple of months to fully recover all of the stolen martini glasses from wherever Cody hid them? So, what? Think of it all as hidden treasure, and you’ll do be just fine.