We went to a Halloween party last weekend. We lasted an hour.
One of Zacharie’s friends has a very big house, and they do up Halloween equally big. They hire actors to act as zombies along their 1/8 mile driveway spooking people and popping out of bushes. There were corpses hanging from their indoor gym equipment, rats were projected to be crawling on the wall, and I don’t want to know what was supposed to be floating in their indoor pool.
It’s a great bash. Well, at least we heard it was a great bash. Like I said, we lasted an hour.
The kids were mostly grade 2-6 at the party and they were running wild. W.I.L.D. And we should have known this. The day before the party, the hostess sent an email reminding people about the zombie actors and to ask their kids not to throw rocks at them as they had last year.
Well that message got through, but as our boys ran off into the night at the party in search of their classmate, we followed to get the lay of the land. The kids may not have been throwing rocks, but they were firing squirt guns, yelling at them, and firing all sorts of other gun-styled devices at them.
We turned around and went back inside where the boys bounced through the ball pit and bouncy castle in one of the living rooms (I told you it was a big house). Kids that were far too big to be in a bouncy were flying down the slides, and slam dancing in the mesh. A younger kid, maybe 4, was sitting in the ball pit and blasting balls into the face of anyone who would dare sit down near him.
I don’t like to parent other people’s kids, but when they’re drilling balls into your son’s face, you say something.
“Hey, buddy, we don’t throw balls at people’s face. Let everyone have fun, okay?”
“Sorry, okay.” Drill ball in face of other kid. Wait, What!?
While all this was going on, my wife and I were clueless to the location, attitude, supervision, or awareness of other parents. We knew the hosts, and that was it. So while we tried to find a familiar adult face, we spent most of our time following our kids from place to place while kids ran wild around us.
We went to the indoor shooting net where there was golf and hockey equipment around. There was one kid pretending he was Gretzky. The stick was 2 feet two long and he still put it flat and did spinoramas with the butt end flying inches from heads and teeth. He was clueless.
“Hey, buddy, you’ve got some great tricks there, but make sure everyone is out the way first. Okay?”
“Sure.” Spin, spin, and then a snapshot at the net where my 3 year old is bent over picking out balls.
OMG! What is up with these people?!
My wife turned to me and asked if we’re just too uptight. “Is it us?”, she said bewildered. “Are we uptight parents?”
The other kids were having fun and we didn’t see one parent anywhere near all the craziness, and yet there it was, and there they were.
I’d like to think we’re not the crazy ones. We’re not helicopterers, but in an unfamiliar home with lots of wildness going on, we were there to escort our young charges amongst the energy.
After an hour we left. It was getting dark, the spooky decorations were getting spookier, Mix in the lighting and the creepy organ music with cackling zombies, and well, it was time to go.
Free range parenting is awesome. To a point. I mean, it’s not okay to let your kid throw rocks at zombie actors. It’s not okay to let your kid sit in a ball pit and drill other kids in the face. It’s not okay to have a 9 year old in a small bouncy castle with 3 year olds. It’s not okay to shoot pucks at a net with kids in the way.
That’s irresponsible parenting, in my books.
But give it to me straight: are we uptight or are others’ kids wild?
Image via Jennifer Longaway