October 31, 2003

trick or treat

When I was a kid, going door to door meant padding down the hallways in our prewar apartment building, walking down a flight of stairs and ringing doorbells. It was anyone's guess whether people were home. No porch, no windows, scant decorations. But it was a ritual and it was fun. When I was a teenager and in college, Halloween costumes became about sexy and parties and dancing. Now Halloween is all about the kids again, but this time I'm an observer and coach.

Damian went to his morning school in his pajamas (as did all the other kids and the teachers, too) and changed into his costume (with Daddy's help) for his afternoon school's Halloween parade and party. Then home through horrendous traffic and on to the main event: trick or treating. We always choose a street a few blocks west of our house for trick or treating. Our block has too many apartment buildings, the one we choose is all quaint old houses and sloping front lawns and intricately carved pumpkins.

We have friends on the block and we usually end the night at one of their houses. This year we started at the top of the block so we hit those houses first and ended up at a stranger's house -- or someone we thought was a stranger. But Dan took a step forward, peered at the man's face. Said his name with a question mark. Turns out they worked together a few years back. So we ended up inside the house, visiting. After we came home, Damian commented sleepily, "We ended at a nice house."

Damian was cute this year. Two years ago, it was all he could do to choke out the words "trick or treat!" and then he'd clam up. Last year he had his speeches all prepared: "Trick or treat!" "I'm a knight!" and "Thanks! Bye!" It was work, though. This year he'd ring the bell, get distracted by the cool jack o'lanterns, comment on the bales of hay or cobwebs, realize belatedly the door was now open, accept his candy, tell the homeowner, "Yes, I'm a black cat," and then at the end I'd whisper in his ear, "What do you say?" and he'd blurt out, "Thanks and also trick or treat!"

Damian in costume

Damian with a Power Ranger buddy.

Posted by Tamar at October 31, 2003 10:46 PM