I have a secret.
Promise you won’t tell?
I love Halloween.
I always have.
At age five I had this hideous rubber witch mask for Halloween. I used to put it on and terrify my younger sister for years afterward.
Sorry, babe. I was five.
At age seven, I reveled in the power of the Dark Side in what would be the last store bought costume I would wear for over twenty years.
You have no idea how jealous I am of how much cooler the Darth Vader costumes are now.
Years of make-your-own costumes passed.
I was The Bandit who was ballsy enough to pretend to stick up the patrol car making rounds. Luckily I was only eight or nine.
I was the 80’s rocker with day-glo sprayed hair capable of making you high from the fumes.
In high school I wore regular clothing as I knocked on doors, calmly explaining to “Where’s your costume?” inquiries with, “I’m a homicidal maniac. Didn’t you know we look like everyone else?”
By the time I graduated college, I missed the ancient ritual of trick-or-treating myself so much I donned a sweatshirt from my alma matter and went to my neighbors as a college student, explaining I really just wanted to introduce myself because I’d bought a house there just a few months before.
Which was true.
But I really missed the candy, and it was one of the few years a heavy jacket was not required.
The Halloween’s of the past are shrouded in many years of cold wind, freak snow storms, and most costumes rendered unrecognizable thanks to the frigid weather and the multiple layers required.
No wonder I never wanted to be a princess.
When I moved to Texas, I was surprised and delighted to see parents dress up as they trick-or-treated with their children. No one did that in Iowa – it was just too much work for a costume no one would see.
Once my son reached trick-or-treating age, I was equally shocked to see how many people dressed up just to hand out candy. This also did not occur in the frigid north, where you shut your door as fast as possible because you have to wear gloves just to answer it.
Here, people will sit in their driveways (myself including before I became one of the parents making the rounds) and watch the parade of costumes.
Where princesses don’t have long sleeve turtlenecks beneath their paper thin dresses and you can only tell it was Batman because his winter cap is pointy.
This year I decided I was tired of trick-or-treating as an exhausted mother.
I bought a costume.
I rocked it.
Because while there is nothing like trick-or-treating as a child, there is something even more magical about trick-or-treating with my children.
The high octane energy of my four and half year old realizing trick-or-treating is imminent so he nearly strikes out on his own because the lure is so great.
This greatly hinders capturing a good family photo or one with all of the kids.
Watching my two year old daughter brave the scary monster for candy while the normally fearless big brother keeps his distance.
Getting the first taste of the new era where trick-or-treating moves into sprint mode as he learns from the older kids walking is such a three year old thing to do.
Viewing the Halloween decorations through their eyes and the delight it brings them.
Hearing my daughter learn the magical words “tick-or-teat” to say at each house then following it with either a “pease”, “tank you”, or “you welcome”. Or all of the above.
Seeing her eyes light up as she realizes her bag contains CANDY!
Waving good-bye to many of my friends, their kids, my four and half year old, and my husband as they splinter off in the warp speed group.
Reveling in the quiet of just me, one friend, and my daughter as I walk further than I ever had in previous years with my son.
Smiling as she charms so many people they keep saying, “You’re so cute and polite I just have to give you some more candy.”
Shock in realizing she out-trick-or-treated her big brother by adhering to the plan of “Slow and Steady and Following the Well-Lit Path Mommy Chooses Gathers the Most Candy”.
Seriously, she only had to be carried the last four houses on the way back to my friend’s house. I was amazed.
The night was helped by the most perfect 75 degree, dry air imaginable. Until the sun went down it was even a little warm.
I definitely wasn’t in Iowa anymore.
Here’s hoping next year is just as fabulous.
Which costume persona of mine to you prefer? Pirate or zombie?