The day takes me by surprise and I don't feel the proper amount of spooky anticipation.......because it's rushed. Something akin to that dream we all have where we're late for the final exam in a class we've never attended. Then I look at my watch and realize I've made no trick-or-treating plans........how is it done here? Do all the neighborhood kids go together or does each family go independently? Should I call and do some arranging? But wait - I'm the new girl. Shouldn't they call me? But maybe they're not calling because this is not traditionally a group activity........so there's my answer. Or maybe they're not calling because there's some secret trick-or-treating place like the mall or the fire station and everyone assumes we know about it but we don't and we'll be walking the neighborhood all alone. Or maybe they're not calling because they don't care for us. Oops - went too far.
Suffice it to say, it worked out well enough. Liam got a bag half full of candy including one full-size box of Milk Duds (super score!) and he traipsed up and down the street with some of the neighbor kids.......until he got bored and asked to go home. As in, "No Mom, we can skip these houses and go straight home (yes, I'm aware that I'm passing up opportunities for more candy)."
I can understand getting tired. I can even understand getting bored. But I don't understand turning down candy that you could easily get just by knocking on a door that's on your way home.
My theory for this strange behavior: IT'S NOT HALLOWEEN! There's a distinct lack of vibe in the air. BECAUSE IT'S NOT HALLOWEEN!
The next day - the real Halloween - was awkward. What do we do now? Do we pretend it's not Halloween? Is it just done? We put our thinking caps on.
We'd heard about a Halloween parade in Portsmouth (so apparently not everyone is so laissez faire about Halloween). Could this be the answer to our Halloween conundrum?
The answer is.......... YES!
This was not your average family-friendly Halloween parade with parents pulling train engineer preschoolers in Thomas the Tank Engine wagons. This was a march for every theater geek, starving artist and social outcast who feels invisible to the masses. This was an explosion of creativity. A rally cry for self-expression. A riot of belly dancers, zombies and drag queens topped off with a rag tag street performance of Thriller. It was a Pac Man chasing a little blue ghost down the parade route. It was Cheech & Chong with a joint the size of a broom handle. It was a suburban dad carrying a doll in a baby bjorn (a brightly lit cigarette hanging out of baby's mouth).
On our way back to our car, we walked under a shower of candy raining down on our heads. We looked up to find 3 little girls hanging over their balcony gleefully throwing handfuls of candy onto the street below. They had as much fun showering us as we did scrounging on the ground and filling our pockets with chocolate. They giggled and tittered and pranced like manic apparitions in the sky.
Now that's Halloween. It was the most fun I've had in a long time.
And so, for us, Halloween was not just saved but raised from the dead.
And I can't wait for next year.
And I can't wait for next year.