It wasn’t our last Halloween as parents of trick or treaters. But it was close.
The first Halloween I was a parent, my son was six weeks old and helpless to resist.
I dressed up, and I bought a ton of candy, and I decorated the porch.
No one else did.
The doorbell rang eight times all night.
It didn’t get any better, so I quit trying. Soon, we had our own Trick or Treater. We went to a different neighborhood, and Halloween on our street became a non-event. Then we had my daughter.
I tied fishing line from her wings to her wand in such a way that whenever she waved it, her wings moved. Which lasted about 45 seconds because no one else who held her understood it and the headline was looming: “Church “Trunk or Treat” Celebration Turned Deadly by Infant in Stupid Fairy Costume; Mother held for Questioning in Bizarre Deaths of 10 Nosy Old Ladies Who Wouldn’t Stop Fucking With Her Wings.
Also, she kept smacking her father on the head.
The next year, we started taking them to Halloween Street, a two-block run where every house goes all out – scary, funny, or colorful. Local PD roadblocks on both ends and it’s the most popular game in town. The first year my 5 year old son got excited and wrenched free of my hand, and I lost him in a sea of black costumes. I found him five minutes later, but you never forget that feeling of growing panic.
Since that first year, we’ve had a good run. From Fairy to Pirate to Princess to Princess to Witch to Dragon to La Muerta. Darth Vader to Iron Man to Ninja to Ninja to Ninja to Zombie Hunter and then Ninja Again.
This year, my son played video games at a friend’s. He just turned 13, and is taller than I am. At 9:30 the night before Halloween, he suddenly looked at me and said “Wait! What about my costume?” And we stood there, him and me, eye to eye, as he realized he’d already gone Trick or Treating for the last time and I tried not to be the Mom Who Cries About Everything.
And I realized I have maybe two more trips down Halloween Street.
Thing of it is, even when you know it doesn’t last forever, and you know that time is precious, it still sneaks up on you.