Friday, November 02, 2007

Halloween: A Brief History

Connor's first Halloween went fine- he was four months old and just as happy in his pumpkin onesie as he was in any other. Chip and I were so excited to have an excuse to celebrate Halloween again! Little did we know that the holiday would provide more frustration that it would candy in the years to come.
Year two was okay- Connor cried a lot about his big, fluffy pumpkin costume, but eventually walked around our cove with his dad and collected a few pieces of chocolate to enjoy. Halloween 2005 caused us way to much stress. We ended the day with the realization that the day was about kids, and if our kid didn't want to wear a costume and participate, so be it. Last year Connor was finally happy about having a costume, as I had realized I needed to let him pick it out himself, but again he chose not to trick or treat. He was content to sit at home eating the candy that had been given away during his class party at school. And we were fine leaving it at that.

This year Connor was all about it. He couldn't wait to be a Power Ranger, he went to a festival at his school the week before Halloween, he wore the costume to the Rock n Romp, and he donned it again on Sunday for a trunk or treat at a neighborhood church. Here was our first indication that things might not go well this year- Connor flatly refused to participate in any of the activities. Chloe was throwing bean bags and fishing for candy and generally enjoying anything that came her way. Connor, who had fun the year before, acted like he had never been subjected to such torture in his life. Fifteen minutes and $10 later, we were on our way home.

But we didn't give up. This year we decided to trick or treat in our dream neighborhood (Evergreen) rather than in our crappy neighborhood where the three children who actually go out spend more time ringing doorbells in futility than actually collecting candy. We started at Miss M's house, where everyone but Chip put on their costumes, then went down the very festive street to another friend's house to fill up on PB&Js before collecting even more candy. Connor was complaining before we got there- he wanted to sit at Miss M's, watching Aladdin and eating the candy he picked up at school. After about five houses of trick or treating, he was crying and begging to go home. (Since we had convinced him no one was left at Miss M's house to watch movies with him, home was the next best destination.) I was frustrated with him at the time, but on the way home became frustrated with myself. I know this holiday is iffy for him. I know he doesn't really like being out in the dark. And knowing this, I took him to an unfamiliar neighborhood to walk around asking strangers for candy? I should have known better, and maybe next year I will. It seems that each Halloween I pick up a little bit more wisdom for use the following year. And that's just the best I can do- at Halloween or otherwise.

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