Welcome to the KingZoo and Funny Farm, where we learn to live, laugh, and love together. Here you'll find snippets of life in our zoo, parenting tips we've learned along the way, reflections on shining God's light in this world, passions in the realm of orphan care, and our journey as parents of a visually impaired child with sensory processing disorder. Have fun!

Friday, October 29, 2010


There. I said it. I decided it was best to just get today's topic out in the open right from the start. For some people, it's up there on the family list of bad words. You know, the kind that will cost you a dollar in my house. For others, you have no idea why the fuss. No problem. We fall somewhere in the middle.

It is one of the great mysteries of life that here in Mechanicsburg, we don't celebrate Halloween; we celebrate Thursday-Before-Halloween. I've spent the past 7 years trying to get an explanation for this, to no avail. I have a sneaking suspicion it's kind of like the woman who always cut her Easter ham in half before cooking and it wasn't until she went down the generational line that she found the tradition was started by Great Great Grandma because her roasting pan was not big enough to put in the whole meat. It had no culinary value whatsoever.

In my Halloween theory, several generations ago there was a township commissioner whose wife's birthday fell on October 31. Not wanting to be in trouble with the little lady and to properly celebrate her day, he decided that he couldn't be competing with taking the kids out for candy on the same night he needed to take his wife out for her birthday. So, he came up with the great plan of having Upper Allen Township dress up and walk the neighborhood on the Thursday before. Not knowing the reason, but believing that they might be missing something (and no township higher-up wants to look stupid), other local townships began to follow suit. Some, in an effort to be at least slightly individualistic, decided to celebrate Friday-Before-Halloween instead of Thursday-Before-Halloween or Halloween itself. They just don't get it.

For me, Halloween meant birthday celebrations. With my brother's birthday on the 27th, mine on the 30th and my mom's on Halloween itself, this one week out of the year was sugar rush unlimited. In fact, my mom insisted that by the time her birthday was celebrated, she didn't want cake; a pie would be much more appreciated. So, October 31 meant dressing up as whatever costumed character my mom had creatively made that year, piling into the car, driving around to all the relatives, and finally gathering at the home of one of those relatives to celebrate the October birthdays. Since we didn't get candy and other desserts on a regular basis, this was the time to stock up. This tradition continues to this day although the King clan is, sadly, no longer a part of the Halloween/birthday tradition. Thanks to the Mechanicsburg tradition of celebrating on a separate evening, we did decide to drive the 2 hours to surprise my mom on her birthday one year. The family was chatting around the table when who should arrive at the door but the King family!

As has already been suggested, the day also brought out the sewing skills of my mother, and later myself. She made Raggedy Ann and Andy, Tweety Bird and my favorite, Miss. Piggy. My own children have had to put up with the Wizard of Oz themed year, Goldilocks and the 3 Bears, and Veggie Tales. Even as recently as two years ago there was talk of doing Snow White and the 7 Dwarfs, including Mom and Dad in the fun, but before the actual day came around, the eldest child decided he was too old to be a dwarf.

But other than that, we are now on our own, dutifully celebrating Thursday-Before-Halloweeen with our neighbors. We did change things up a bit this year. Rachel, who is living with us, told us that her family often participated in a local Light in the Night event. We thought it sounded like a great idea and Mariana took the bull by the horns to organize it.

She donated a portion of her Christmas show earnings to fund it, and convinced Isaac and Eden to do the same with their paychecks. She got several of the girls in her Wed. night small night group to donate their time to help run it. So, neighborhood children who showed up to our address were offered carnival-type games, hot chocolate, and popcorn in addition to the customary candy. What fun!

Now we spend our time evaluating the evening, what we'd do the same, what we'd do differently, and if we will do this again. Til next year, folks?


  1. Thursday evening during writing class, we used Halloween memories as prompts for many of our activities. It struck me how my memories were of such innocent fun, and how that seems to have changed. I admire how you are paving a new path for your family and the leadership of Marianna.

  2. The whoopi cushion! Jer picked the exact same thing to wear this year!

  3. I didn't pick it, it was to be for Jesse. Unfortunately he found that he could not twist balloons and wear that big, bulky thing at the same time. So, he became the detective and I became the laughing stock.