In my neck of the woods, October 31st marks the day when children get dressed up in costumes and venture out into the neighborhood hoping to earn some candy for their efforts. In simpler terms, it’s Halloween. I’m never certain from year to year if another one of my children has fallen off the Trick or Treat bandwagon and decided to say goodbye to a piece of their childhood by claiming to be “too old” for such things. Last year was no exception.
When my children were little, buying a costume was the only way to go. They ran the gamut: Buzz Lightyear, Teletubbies, Blue’s Clues, Bob the Builder, Spiderman, Batman…you name a superhero and at least one of my boys has donned that cape. But as the years rolled by, their interest dwindled and they began devising their own costumes from scratch. To me, this was the best part of Halloween. Creativity at its finest! My youngest son did not disappoint last year. He and his friends banned together and not only came up with costumes depicting them as characters from the hit TV show The Big Bang Theory but they also created a skit which they performed after ringing the doorbell in search of treats.
As is standard fare in our neighborhood on Halloween, the sidewalks were jammed packed full of costumed children, bouncing around excitedly in anticipation. Little voices shrieking, “Trick or Treat!” could be heard a mile away. I balanced between being close enough to my group of middle schoolers to keep an eye on them and far enough away to keep from embarrassing them. They cracked jokes in character with Leonard this and Sheldon that as people who passed by laughed with understanding.
About halfway through our escapades, we came across a house swarming with hordes of children. At the top of a long walkway was a porch where a man dressed like Abraham Lincoln was sitting regally. Upon further investigation, it turned out that in order to receive a treat, kids were asked to give a fact about our former President. (You can’t help but admire someone who put a spin on “trick” and sprinkled some education on top!)
So my group of kids marched up the long walkway and stood in the long line, awaiting their turn. Tempting as it was to join them and witness The Big Bang Theory entourage meet Abe Lincoln, I decided my choice of footwear for the evening dictated I would be better off watching from afar. As I waited on the curb with several other parents, a young family approached. The little boy, dressed up like the Blue Power Ranger, was probably about 5 or 6 years old. He was hopping around like the Energizer Bunny, undoubtedly amped up from candy he been sneaking from his bag while his parents weren’t looking.
“Now when you get up there, you are going to have to give the man in the tall hat a fact about Abe Lincoln.”
The Blue Power Ranger’s eyes grew big as saucers.
“You can do it!” the mother assured him.
Blue Power Ranger assessed the situation. I could tell he was trying to decide if it was worth it.
“Mommy, phleeeeze go with me!” he pleaded.
“You got this, buddy!” the father added a friendly shove toward the porch for good measure.
“I can’t!” the Blue Power Ranger whined.
“You’ll be fine.” At this point, the mom’s voice began to have a hint of frustration seeping through it.
“Daddy, phleeeze go with me!” Always good to have a back up plan.
“Just tell him he was the 16th President of the United States of America.” Dad suggested.
“Or that he’s on the penny.” Mom added, cutting it up into bite sized pieces.
“He was honest!” I offered.
As with anything, the moment of truth finally presented itself and the Blue Power Ranger boy reluctantly made his way up the path. To him, it must have seemed like the endless hallway in the Haunted Mansion at Disneyland.
After a few backwards glances at his parents begging for them to join him, the Blue Power Ranger boy disappeared into the crowd surrounding Abe Lincoln and his bucket of candy.
The waiting parents made idle chit chat, commenting on various costumes and other bits of conversations parents have while waiting for their children.
Then suddenly, Blue Power Ranger boy burst from the crowd and came barreling down the walkway. As he raced past the returning Big Bang Theory entourage, I felt certain his cold feet had gotten the best of him. Yet when he finally made his way to his parents, he was grinning from ear to ear.
You could have knocked me over with a quill pen. This was not how I expected this scenario to end.
Blue Power Ranger boy’s dad asked in a voice that indicated he shared my surprise, “Did you get some candy, buddy?”
“Yep!” the Blue Power Ranger beamed.
“Did you give a fact?” Mom asked a little disbelievingly herself.
“Yep!” he proudly exclaimed.
“Well, what fact did you decide on about Abe Lincoln?” I blurted out.
We all waited with bated breath.
And without missing a beat, the Blue Power Ranger boy informed us of the fact he came up with all on his very own.
“I told him he’s dead!”
Well, there you have it.
I have a feeling that may have been my last Trick-or-Treating endeavor for awhile. I’m sure glad it went out with a bang!