Thriller Night

Another trick or treat night is in the bag. Tonight was much more pleasant than last year, when it was freezing cold and raining the whole time.

My overall take away is that there just aren’t a lot of kids where we live. I mean, we saw kids out, sure. But compared to other neighborhoods I’ve heard about, I think the area around where we live just doesn’t have a lot of kids or they’re going somewhere else for TOT. Grandma went with us this year for the first part, which was nice. I had someone to talk to and we laughed a lot at my son’s exasperation at me repeatedly reminding him to say “thank you,” or his endless admonishments that I stay at the sidewalk and not walk up with him. “Every time, Mom!” Except for the one house, where there were these awesome teenage boys in the yard dressed up in costumes with fake knives, a fog machine, and another who jumped out and scared you when you went to take the candy. They were definitely the best house.

I went to one house, they had a woodburning portable fireplace in the driveway. It smelled so good, and I realized I can’t remember the last time I was somewhere where there was a fire unless it was a restaurant or a fake gas one, and that made me kind of sad. The garage was open and they had a big screen TV playing, and people were sitting on chairs under blankets having some food and chatting while the homeowners passed out candy to the kids who came up. I was so envious of those people, with their friends, their house, their fun, their two-car garage and cool decorations in the yard. My Mom remarked on how nice the houses were as we walked along as well, commenting on this person’s driveway material and that one’s landscaping. I will probably never live in a place like that. They aren’t million dollar homes or anything. It’s just upper middle class America, which is all I ever wanted to be when I was growing up lower class. Not filthy rich, not Hamptons rich with three houses and a yacht, just nice enough to be able to have a garage party and a fireplace and some people over. Ah, well.

The boy went as Beaker from the Muppets. A few people asked who he was, but mostly they didn’t. Thankfully, nobody asked where we lived, which was the thing I was afraid about – the nosy, old timer who sniffs that he doesn’t recognize you, and then we have to say how we’re from the apartment complex nearby. But that didn’t happen, which is awesome.

I spray painted his hair with orange hair spray after I stuck it all up with Aqua Net, and he wore a dress shirt and a tie with a big oversize men’s shirt over it that looked like a lab coat. I had to watch a youtube video on how to tie the tie – that knowledge is just gone from me, after years and years of wearing one every day when I was waiting tables. The sense memory just wasn’t there. But I got it done and he looked great. He asked where my costume was and I said I was going as a suburban mom, ha ha ha.

He had a hard time picking out candy to donate from his stash this year. I understand. You just want it ALL and ALL and FOREVER ALL THE CANDY. He also went TOT with his Dad at the IX center, so the kid has plenty of candy, you know? I reminded him about what he had said last year when he went with me for the first time to the homeless youth shelter where I donate candy each post-Halloween period. He had asked me if they live there, and why they don’t live with their Mom and Dad, and I explained as best I could different circumstances that might have led them to the shelter. So I reminded him about that. We grouped everything together, and added to it the candy I bought on sale at the drugstore, and then he could see that maybe he really, really didn’t need 20 Reese’s cups and 17 Hershey bars and 15 Smarties or whatever, and was able to cull a little bit. Then I told him there were several that were inferior or that I knew from before that he wouldn’t like (which is true) like Baby Ruths and Butterfinger, so he put all those in the donation bag. Then I told him I thought he should make at least one hard choice, to give away one thing that sort of hurt to give and that then he knew he’d given hard enough to care, and I let him choose what it was. I didn’t watch. He may not have put anything else in the bag. And that’s ok. I kept back a few of the things I know are his Dad’s favorites and told him to make sure Dad saw that he got x, y and z and to share with him because those are his favorites and he said he’d show him, and I know he will. Always trying to keep the good will flowing.

He didn’t want to give up tonight and even though they petitioned the Mayor for another half hour of trick or treat, he and I had both sort of given up the ghost (ha) by 8. He was hungry and his feet hurt and his bag was heavy, and I felt about the same, except without the candy.

Since we donate candy, I’ve taken him since he was a baby, always explaining we donated all the candy when he was too young to eat it. We used to trick or treat at my work, going door to door and floor to floor, but I have a different job now, and he’s a different boy and can eat a LOT of candy now. The first couple of years he could actually eat it, I only let him keep 10 pieces. I let him keep a lot more now.

His Dad gets to take him next year and it will be my first year not trick or treating with my baby boy since he was born. I thought of asking one of my friends if I can come pass out candy at their house next year, but I’m afraid it would make me really maudlin and sad that I wasn’t with my boy. But I’m going to be that way anyway, and the other alternative is to stay here alone and watch TV and pretend it isn’t a holiday, or focus on the “new year” aspect that we pagans associate with it, but I don’t know what the answer is. Maybe it will reveal itself to me.

And now it is night and the veil is thin, and so I’ll meditate awhile and see what there is to learn. Reflecting on the year past, reflecting on those people who have passed, and what may lie in store for the year ahead. Light a candle in the darkness, friends, and Happy Halloween.

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