He’s only three years old. He’d never been trick-or-treating. So, it was excusable that Lucas was supremely deficient in the Clue Department when it came to Halloween.
When I asked him what he was going to be, he put on his low, gruff serious voice and laughed, saying, “Ho ho nooooo, Daddy!” as if the dumbness of my question was just too much to bear. “I not going to Halloween! Granddad is.” I suddenly had to massage my mouth to smother laughter and hide a smile that threatened full-facial domination.
Well. We tried to get him interested; throwing all his favorite characters out as costume options, like we were bribing him. We even alluded to the glorious prospect of candy. No one can prove that I privately attempted to explain that candy had SUGAR and occasionally came in fun shapes.
We let it go. No costume. This year was just not meant to be his first trick-or-treat.
Max (12yo) is the supreme overlord of trick-or-treating. Last year, he approached doors with a routine asking people if they had paid their taxes! After they were done s##ting in their pants and laughing nervously, Max would flip through a non-existent clipboard and go on to explain that his records showed a delinquency, that “certain fees needed to be satisfied” and that “candy was an acceptable form of payment”! Some people just up-ended their bowls into his bag.
This year he decided to rock a black morphsuit, a skin-tight full-body outfit. It was so tight I was afraid it might explode off him if he encountered a snaggy bush. Or if he simply coughed. But he was ready. A shadow! Ready to explode.
Cody (14yo) decided not to dress up at the last minute (a single tear descends my cheek). He took on being the door greeter like a boss. The people in our new neighborhood forewarned us to expect hundreds of kids. We’d smiled and tried not to raise our eyebrows too high in disbelief. But we “stocked up.” Little did we know then.
Something Epic this Way Comes…
In the dying afternoon light of Halloween, we all awwwwwed at the little monkeys and princesses that periodically wobbled up to our door with their parents connected to their hands.
Night descended. And so then did the oncoming hordes of tweens and teens. Oh my God! But as Cody and my wife, Lizzie, contended with the increasing onslaught, my littlest lad, Lucas, stared on. Fascinated. Delighted!
Cody shouted, teasing me, “Dad! This kid just REACHED for Smarties!” (Quick explanation: to say that I dislike Smarties would be like saying Charlie Sheen may have tried drugs once.)
“Augh! GROSS!!!” I shook my head in disgust. The masked kid stood there for a second, frozen by the strangeness of the moment, before walking away faster than he came.
After establishing rules about candy rationing and not giving candy to any uncostumed punks, and then quickly fixing a problem with Max’s sausage-skin-tight hood, I rifled through the family costume box for myself and found… an old toddler costume.
We showed it to the lad and everyone’s breath held as we waited for his response.
He punctuated it with a “Eureka!” pointer finger stabbed up in the air and said it extra cute to humanely melt our hearts and brains in a swift and painless death.
We dressed him in a blur as if we could hear the ticking of some change-of-mind stopwatch. And then he stood there…
We headed out into the night; Max and Lucas and me. He took my thumb his his tiny grip. As Lizzie covered her mouth, all misty as she flapped her hand farewell, I wondered how many steps we’d make it before Lucas bolted back. But we marched ahead. To my surprise, he dragged me on by the thumb in his little fist.
Then he did his first trick-or-treat! At which point I wondered if he might be holding my wobbly, cute-stricken knees up with his clutching hand. We went from house to house for about twenty minutes. He never let go…
I could not resist saying “WET’S DO IT!” every so often. Even in the dark shadows in front of houses advertising they were not open for business, I could see the glow of his wide, excited eyes.
He never let go…
And then he let go. My heart melted with loss and joy.
After Max was done explaining that he was a thin shadow in serious need of candy in his diet, his bag getting a shower of candy, Lucas held out his pumpkin pail on his own, with both his hands and shouted:
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