We can’t get Caleb to stop trick-or-treating.
For two of his four years, we went to the mall on Halloween Night to join the parade of tiny ghosts and ninjas and princesses going from store to store to collect candy from costume bedecked mall employees. Fun, but, you know, not that different from Super Saver Saturday.
This year, we went the more traditional route. Our friends Mike and Michelle live in a fun neighborhood that really gets into Halloween, where neighbors try to outdo each other in spooky decorations and lay up enough candy for the hundreds of children that come by every year. And every year, Mike and Michelle offer up their home as Trick-or-Treat Headquarters to friends and family, a base camp to which weary goblins and spooks can retire to warm up and put some good food in their bellies. We took them up on their offer this year, and spent the evening walking Katie and Caleb around the neighborhood for some traditional trick-or-treating.
For some reason, this was groundbreaking in Caleb’s life. The idea that you could just go up to any house, ring the doorbell, and shout “Trick or treat!” and complete strangers had to give you candy just rocked his world. I could see the wheels turning in his brain: do you know how many houses there are out there? And there’s candy behind every door? I love trick-or-treating!
And, indeed, he did tell us “I love trick-or-treating!” about a dozen times that night, giggling every time our knock produced yet another person holding a bowl of Snickers bars and DumDum suckers. I think he could have gone on forever. Eventually, with frozen fingers and heavy bags, we announced “Last house!” and the protests were immediate and enthusiastic. “Five more houses? Two more houses, Mommy? One more house?” It was only the promise of snacks back at Headquarters that finally ended negotiations.
That was five days ago, and our little tiger is still asking to go trick-or-treating every day, despite our patient explanations that Halloween only comes once a year and that people don’t give out candy from their homes on other days. It’s as if he thinks that the only thing standing between him and becoming a complete candy tycoon is our stubborn refusal to let him go trick-or-treating anymore.
“Can I trick-or-treat you, Mommy?” he asked me yesterday. I thought he was pretending, so I said, “Sure!” How cute. Unfortunately, my pretend candy met with great consternation as I was informed in no uncertain language that I was expected to cough up the real thing.
Maybe next year we’ll split our time between trick-or-treating and staying home to hand out candy. I have a feeling that seeing the precious candy disappearing from our own candy bowl into the bags of other kids in costume might improve his understanding of how this trick-or-treat thing really works.