Thursday, November 01, 2007

Book Fairy Bust

After my journal vent last year about how churches and their Fall Festivals were putting a big ole’ cramp in our neighborhood Halloween activities, I decided to take the bull by the horns (or the ninja by the sword, if you took a good look at the costumes last night) and declare my very own Fall Festival right here in my neighborhood. “Festival” is probably too generous of a term, but I did invite about ten of our neighbors over for a pre-Trick-or-Treat get together, which wound up being a lot of fun and a nice chance for us to be together with all our neighbors for what is probably the last time (sniff, sniff).

We had chili with all the fixings (thanks, Jeanette!) and hot dogs and chips for the kids; everyone brought salads or sides or desserts to share. I hit a clearance sale at Big Lots which means I was able to get Halloween tablecloths and decorations, and party favors (forgotten) and glow sticks (also forgotten and half of which were defective once we remembered them) for the kids. And the KidzBop Halloween CD playing in the background, which was really fun, until it started skipping on the Time Warp and none of us noticed for at least half an hour.

After the eating, and the chatting, and the swatting of the flies (hello? Was it not the last night in October and why are there still FLIES here???) the kids all ganged up and went trick or treating around the neighborhood, parents trudging along in their wake. Blaine and I always split up on Halloween; one of us goes with the kids and one of us stays home to pass out candy. I convinced Blaine that holding down that chair in the driveway and passing out candy was hard, hard work, and sat there all night and BS’d with my neighbor, who passed out candy with me. Whew, I was exhausted.

All in all, a successful night.

Then, right before bed, after the Gluttony of the "Halloween Night, I Don't Care, Eat Candy Until You Puke" Free For All, as it is every year, it was time to put the rest of the Halloween candy back in the buckets and leave it on the front porch so the Book Fairy could come and make her trade. Now, the Book Fairy was very organized this year, making plans ahead of time. No running out at the last minute to get ready. She knows that the boy child in this house loves Magic Tree House books, so she double-checked to see at which number his personal collection stopped, and the next two in line were the ones she bought from Books-A-Million brought in her magic fairy bag. The youngest child in this house loves Ramona Quimby, so the Book Fairy brought some Henry Huggins books, also by Beverly Cleary, thinking those would be just as good. Since the oldest child in this house enjoys Judy Blume, she brought a couple of those as well.

Wouldn’t you know, when the kids put out their bags of candy last night they quickly wrote letters to the Book Fairy telling her exactly which books they wanted in exchange. NONE of which were hidden under my bed in her magical fairy bag. I mean, do any of you let your kids wait until Christmas Eve to write to Santa? No! You get those lists in early December so you have some idea of what you kids are hoping to get --- hedging your bets, if you will. Last night, the Book Fairy was so screwed.

Most years, the next morning, the books on the front porch are met with smiles and happiness and an enthusiastic “Yes!”’ from each child. This year? Not so much.

Kellen took one look at his books and said, “I’ve already read these.” I said, “What do you mean you’ve already read them? They’re not in your book shelf. Uhhhhh, I mean …… are they in your book shelf? Maybe the Book Fairy didn’t realize you had already read them. When did you read them, anyhow?” to which he grumpily replied, “We have a library at school, Mom.” in his most patronizing tone. Little brat.

Kendrie was completely under-whelmed by hers as well, and Brayden’s only comment was, “Well, I’m excited to read these, but they are below my AR level at school. That’s why I’ve never bothered to read them before.” Leading me to the harsh conclusion that Book Fairy struck out not once, not twice, but THREE times this year.

I promised the kids I would take them to Books-A-Million to pick out some new books. I don’t want them to feel like they traded in all their Halloween candy for a bum deal. I still believe in the power of reading. I still believe in the power of the Book Fairy --- it’s a fantastic idea, and I want to continue the tradition for as long as my kids trick or treat. Thank you, Lisa B, for sharing it with me so many years ago!

But I can tell you that next year, that damn fairy is giving out Books-A-Million gift cards and calling it a day.


Anonymous said...

I stole your book fairy idea a year or two ago, and this year our book fairy had to leave cash. They can only spend it at the bookstore, but that darn fairy got too lazy (probably too fat from eating all the candy herself) to actually go out and buy books. Oops!

Sorry you struck out this year. Your kids are lucky to have you since I'd never be nice enough to take them back to the bookstore!


Anonymous said...

I had never heard of your book fairy idea until now, but my new stepdaugher both loves to read and has a GIANT bucket of candy leftover from Halloween. Do you think the Book Fairy does weekends?

And PS - safe journey to y'all in your move. WR will miss you. Please keep blogging!!!


Anonymous said...

We also borrowed the Book Fairy idea from you. Downstairs my kids will find their new Deigo and Cars books this morning, and I will be dumping 2 gallon size bags of candy. Thanks for sharing.


The Running Girl said...

Sorry the book fairy struck out this year, but books are STILL way better than candy, even if the kids complain about them. Hope they find some great books when you take them shopping.
Briana Roehling

Anonymous said...

I saw that someone said they're dumping their candy. I know around here several of the orthodontists will buy it back from kids, too. It then gets donated to various places, such as to troops overseas. It's worth looking into.

Stephanie in MN

Mimi said...

Our house gets a visit from the "Great Pumpkin" who trades the candy for little gifts. When the kids were little it was easy . . . play dough, crayons, coloring books. But now that they are 10 and 11, it is so much more difficult and expensive! I copped out this year and instead of creative little gifts, I left cash. In my defense, we are going on vacation at the end of the month and the Great Pumpkin left a note saying that the money should be saved for vacation! As they get older, the book idea may take over!

Best wishes to your family as you make your move.

Pam in Michigan

Julie from Texas said...

I stole your book fairy idea last year and we love the new tradition. Although this year my son did ask if there was a toy fairy. :)

Incoherently Lucid said...

Great idea, but my kids would never let that fly. Trick or Treating is a contact sport to them and the candy is the trophie to be hoarded.

The only thing I have managed to do is make them share all the candy in one big huge bowl. Works for me, then I can graze on it all day.

Renee said...

The boys forgot to check what the book fairy left for them here. So they sat on the porch all day.

Renee said...

The boys forgot to check what the book fairy left for them here. So they sat on the porch all day.

Tammy said...

i was wondering if you still did the Book fairy...i have told many mom's about that brilliant idea!

Christine said...

The Halloween Fairy comes to our house and takes the candy to the poor chidren aka the teachers at Mom's work. Last year she left Bratz dolls because Mom would never allow them. This year Webkinz and a Hannah montana CD to share. I love the book idea and may latch on to that next year. It is always an option for my kids if the want to leave their candy or not. They love the idea for now... plus I let them choose 10 of their favorites to keep.

WendyK said...

Ooh, I like that idea! I think the book fairy does weekends, at least she will here. Off to the book store!

Karen said...

oohhh... I love your book fairy idea!! I will have to remember that!