At home with the lizard

In the off-chance you’re living under a rock and/or don’t have children in your environs, tonight was that night beloved by children and detested by parents: Halloween.

There are people in this world who channel their inner Martha Stewarts in anticipation of this night. They plan their kids’ costumes months in advance and either order them online or gather all the needed supplies to make them. They decorate their houses and front yard with weird (creepy!) decorations, and serve a themed dinner wrapped in butcher paper with some of those little printed flags that seem to dominate Pinterest.  (Comme ca in the off-chance you really are living under a rock.)

And….then there’s moi. The person who went to the Superstore last November 1 and purchased three Superhero costumes for 75% off their regular price. ‘Oh, you don’t actually like Batman? That’s too bad because I paid $6 for the costume.’

Not that I actually said that or anything.

So I may or may not have patted myself on the back for being so on the ball this year, what with the costumes gathered a year in advance. And then the weather…sucked…for lack of a better word. And I began issuing idle threats-pleas like ‘how about we skip trick or treating this year and I’ll just buy each of you a big box of candy?’

[At the Superstore. The day after Halloween.]

But no one took my sugary bait and so it appeared the Johnsons would have to go out into the snow in their respective superhero costumes for the purpose of gathering copious amounts of candy; 50% of which I am likely to consume despite its ill effects on my well-being.

The Gort wore his costume to school and not-so-patiently counted down the hours until it was dark enough to venture outside and get candy. The Hen refused to wear his costume to school – because it may or may not have had a little rip in the front courtesy of some over-zealous playing, or velcro-ing, and the red face mask was nowhere to be found.

So he wore the Batman costume I’d intended for young Percy. Because Percy? He wouldn’t wear anything other than the ‘lizard’ costume he wore….two Halloweens ago. ‘No, I want to be the lizard!’ he protested loudly. Even if the ‘lizard’ was a size 2T.

I ushered the boys outside when the sky was still light-ish purely for the sake of capturing them in their costumes. I directed them to stand in the crescent and then, as if all the sugar they’d already consumed throughout the day reacted with their superhero outfits, they delivered poses the likes of which I’ve never seen before. I stood there, mouth agape, clicking the shutter button on my camera as they jumped and pumped their fists and pretended to assault one another.

Percy couldn’t get out of there fast enough – mostly because ‘I’m freeeeeeezing,’ he kept whimpering. It didn’t take a genius to figure out the kid wouldn’t make it through twenty minutes of trick or treating. ‘How about you stay home with me and we’ll watch a movie and hand out candy to the kids?’

So the professor donned a puffy vest and a hat and gloves for the purpose of accompanying his eight and five year old superheroes. ‘Let’s go and get as much candy as we can!’ he rallied the troops, followed by ‘do you like my costume?’ ‘What are you supposed to be,’ I replied quizzically, ‘a candy pusher?’ ‘A lumberjack,’ he corrected. ‘Oh.’

‘Dad, you should carry an axe!’ the Gort suggested excitedly. ‘Yeah, but that might be kind of scary,’ the professor declined. Wisely.

I can only imagine a puffy man traipsing behind children with an axe in one hand might not be particularly well received.

Percy and I stayed home and handed out fistfuls of candy to each of the eight children that graced our front steps with chattering teeth. ‘It’s really not that cold out,’ a mom stuffed inside a black down jacket tried to tell me. I smiled the thin, polite smile of someone who believes otherwise but is unwilling to say so.

After all, I was wearing my coat….inside the house.

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