Firepits were blazing in the front and back yards and luminaries lined the walk.  Tables (made by Doug and the girls) were set up in the dining and breakfast rooms with carving tools strewn here and there.    The Monster Mash Pandora station was providing the background music in the dining room and elsewhere The Phantom of the Opera was projected for anyone who wanted to watch.... or sing along, as at one point EVERYONE did.

(Think of me, 
think of me foooondly..
When we've said 

Every guest brought their own pumpkin to carve and their favorite fall treat to share.  It turned into one big potluck of sweets.

Sam (above) got the best costume award - she was Robin Hood, girlystyle.  Darling!  Bow, arrows and pocket of gold coins for the poor were her accessories.   Melia, dressed as a middle ages maiden, was a close runner up.  I love how creative everyone was.

I would have given Peyton the award, she was rockin the Pirate (if I do say so myself), but Doug said it was shameful to give our daughter the award.  We semi-straightened her hair and added some braids, beads and such.  It was awesome.  And a lil black eyeliner Jack Sparrow style never hurts.

Each of our girls had 10 friends there - a perfect sized crowd.  One of Savannahs friends surprised her and drove home from college just to stop by.  So fun to find her on the other side of our door when I opened it!  She said she just couldnt miss her favorite party of the year.  Made us all very,very happy.

And Savannah, well, as I fixed her hair I was thinking how she was a little too real in that hippie get up.  It suited her so well, no shoes and all.  My beautiful flower child.  She looked like she walked off the pages of our Best of the 1960's LIFE magazine.

I didnt take any pictures last night.  These were all taken by others and I had them send me copies.  Doug and I were having a blast right along side them and forgot all about pics.  Oops.  What a fantastic life season we are in with these precious girls!

If you want to know what all this is about and what the 5th Annual means, you can see the past years parties here.    They started out as a fall festival and have matured into pumpkin carvings as the girls have gotten older.

2008 (slideshow seems to not be working, sorry)
2009 (a super fun one at our house)
2010 (at the farm)
2010 (at our house)
2011(we were on an airplane Halloween night, moving to Colorado from Minnesota)

The big girls ended up not even carving last night.  They sat by the fire out back for awhile talking college, classes, how they are going to conquer the world and such then went downstairs to talk some more.  They all told me how great it was to just escape for a night and get together with no agenda, nothing they had to do.  I was so happy they felt relaxed and at home!

Peytons friends carved the whole 3 hours (taking breaks to eat and roast smores over the fires) then put all the pumpkins out front on the porch for a competition.  An intricate cat won the prize (sorry, no pics) and again, I would have voted for Peytons masterpiece but Doug gave me the evil eye.    Hmph!

As always, the favorite part of the night, was collapsing as a family around the fire with treats and cider to debrief all our stories, thoughts, laughs from the night.  Every year that is our favorite part.     Peyton was lying down, resting her head on Dougs leg on the sofa, and Savannah and I were in chairs fireside, feet propped on the trunk.  The dog wove in and amongst us as the cadence of our stories circled the room.  I laughed so hard I noticed my face actually hurting as we climbed the stairs for bed.  We shut our door only to hear a knocking moments later.  The girls were standing at the door of our bedroom when Doug opened the door again. They both said they just wanted to tell us thanks for all the traditions, the memories, for the parties and the Life in our home.  They each told us as they stood there how much the traditions mean to them personally.  They are so kind to us.

There is such a satisfaction in parenting in this life season, sharing life with our girls in this life season.  Getting to watch them grow into who they were Created to be.    Its rich, I tell you, rich!

P.S.  If you are wondering why we do these parties every month, you can read here.  Or why we celebrate and decorate so much in general, you can read here or here.