I don’t know what it is about Halloween that makes me so irritable, but for whatever reason I end up sounding like the Wicked Witch all day long. Threatening the kids to cancel trick or treating. Threatening to eat all their candy. Barking at them to put on their costumes while it’s daylight so I can take pictures of them ‘looking adorable’ in full regalia.
The professor had to go to work for a bit yesterday, so I struggled through the afternoon on my own. Overly excited kids. Tired mom. Dumpy house. And an empty refrigerator. It’s basically a recipe for disaster.
I was on the phone with my mom when she said something to the effect of ‘looking forward to seeing pictures of Percy in his wizard outfit” and I said ‘I don’t even know where that costume is.’ The costume was first worn by the Hen. And last year by my nephew. So of course Percy had to wear it too. And be documented while doing so. I got off the phone and realized, the sun had already begun its descent and I’d better find the costume if I wanted to get a picture of the baby in it before dark. Thirty panicked minutes and a completely demolished closet later, I had the purple costume.
‘Can you guys put on your costumes so I can take a picture?’ I asked the boys. Nicely. ‘No, we don’t want to, we’ll put them on when we go trick or treating.’
That’s the level of awesomeness and cooperation I encounter most days. So I dressed a very reluctant baby in a starry purple robe. And tried putting the wizard’s hat on his head, which led to an awful lot of unhappiness. I begged the boys to put their costumes on and this time they complied. Not sure what level of threat I’d had to use to get a positive result.
By the end of it I’d decided that I would stay home for trick or treating. The professor could take his 3 boy-children and I could do something exciting and rewarding like clean the house. Fortunately my guilty conscience got the better of me and convinced me I was being lame.
So, when it was sufficiently dark, we ventured out into the night, walking the two blocks to the crazily-decorated house nearby. It was our starting point last year and I figured it should be again this year. It’s the third year the Gort has gone trick or treating and each year his confidence level is different. This year he asked me to go up to the door with him and the Hen ‘because I’m kind of shy sometimes.’
I obliged and escorted them to the doors where they knocked more enthusiastically and persistently than they needed to. ‘Trick or Treat’ they yelled while thrusting their open bags in the various homeowners’ faces. Lest they forgot why the costumed cuties were on their doorsteps. As if to say, ‘pay! Now!’
At the third house on our route, the homeowner opened the door wearing a scary mask. I could tell the Hen didn’t think it was amusing. Even in the dark, I could see his countenance change; that tears were imminent. I scooped him up after they’d gotten their treats and tried to reassure him. ‘He’s scary. I don’t like that guy!’ he protested.
The Gort, who is sure to author some self-help books in the future, took a different approach. ‘You don’t scare me!’ he hissed at the decorative ‘talking’ skulls and pumpkins. This from the same kid who told me two days ago that ‘ghosts are in your head. They’re not real. So if they’re bothering you, you just tell them to stop.’
A few houses into our journey, the professor decided the boys should say ‘Happy Halloween’ instead. He was convinced it was a more lucrative greeting than ‘trick or treat’. It did seem as if the people handing out candy thought they were cuter when they opened their doors to ear-deafening ‘Happy Halloween’ and open plastic bags thrust in their faces.
After a two block loop, the boys were tired and ready to go home with their loot. We stopped at a house near ours that had a giant inflatable ghost and pumpkin in its front yard. The owner opened the door. ‘I’m out of candy,’ she apologized, ‘but can I give you a loonie (one-dollar coin)?’ The cheapskate in me wanted to tell her to turn off her light.
As the boys surveyed their inventory (mini Cars card games, play doh and more candy than they should eat) I not-so-secretly stole a few pieces of candy. ‘Hey! Not fair – you’re eating more than me’ my oldest complained.
When I checked on the boys around 9.30, I found the Gort fast asleep on top of his covers. He’d been too tired to lift his blanket, apparently. And he was clutching his bag of candy in some sort of death grip, undoubtedly to protect it from me.