Trick Or Treat

I know it is a little early. Halloween is not until next Tuesday. But with so many towns and cities having events this weekend, I wanted to join in the fun.

Halloween is one of my favorite holidays. When my kids were young, I looked forward to the family rituals of costume-making and pumpkin-carving with great anticipation. Later, after my kids were grown and gone, I still liked to share in the excitement of neighborhood kids as they hustled from house to house to fill their bags with goodies.

For the past sixteen, almost seventeen years, I have lived so far out in the country there have been no kids coming to the house, so that is something I can look forward to when I move to the Dallas Metroplex.

To get a glimpse of how the Miller family celebrated Halloween, I offer you the following essay. It was first published as a column in the Plano Star-Courier many moons ago, and it is now part of my, as yet unpublished, humorous memoir, A Dead Tomato Plant and A Paycheck.

We always took the holiday very seriously when the kids were young, spending weeks on costume preparations and decorating. Carving The Pumpkin was a family affair that took an entire evening, and even dinner was suspended for preparations for Trick or Treating. Everyone had a peanut butter sandwich and was out the door by dusk.

The year the twins were two, we thought it would be the perfect time for them to be totally swept up in the Halloween experience. The older kids were even willing to pare back their expectations of the most awesome costume so we could concentrate on the twins. We could all share vicariously in their excitement when we took to the streets.

Paul, being a generally easy-going kid, allowed us to dress him up in the cat costume that had originally been made for Anjanette ten years ago. Since it was yellow, he didn’t seem to care that it had belonged to a girl first. He even sat quietly while we painted whiskers on his cheeks.

Danielle, however, had a hard time getting into the swing of things. She didn’t want to put on her clown costume and balked at my attempts to put make-up on her face. She didn’t want to go Trick or Treating and she didn’t want to carry that brown paper bag with the pumpkin drawn on it. But after I forced her into the costume, smeared her face, and shoved her out the door with her bag she finally resigned herself to the indignity of it all.

After about an hour, Danielle had a complete change of heart. This was pretty cool going up to a house and having someone toss a candy bar into her bag. And she didn’t have to do anything except say “thank you.”

Another hour later, Paul’s energy level was so low it dragged on the sidewalk along with the tail from his costume. Since both kids had bags that weighed more than they did, I thought it was the perfect time to go home. The older kids agreed; they were eager to go off with their friends. Paul agreed because he agreed to most anything those days. The only dissenter was Danielle. How could she pass up this mother-lode of candy?

I finally got her home, amid stares from neighbors whose expressions asked what terrible thing was I doing to this poor hapless child who was crying and dragging her heels.

After a bath and a solemn ritual of exacting promises from the other kids that they wouldn’t touch her bag of candy, Danielle was in bed. I collapsed on the couch for a five-minute break before tackling the clean-up in the bathroom. Then I heard the soft shuffle of footsteps coming down the hall. I opened my eyes to see Danielle with an eager smile. “Can we do this again tomorrow?

What I wouldn’t give to hear her say that again this year.

That’s it for me for the weekend, folks. If you get into the Halloween antics, I hope you have fun and stay safe. Please do share a special Halloween memory with a comment. I’d love to hear your stories.

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