Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Missing the Point of Trick-or-Treating

We had not originally planned to take LO trick-or-treating this evening. J and I are homebodies who appreciate the fact that the neighborhood comes to us at least one night per year, so we're content to sit on the porch and hand out candy while we field comments about the flaming pumpkin in the front yard:
What happens when your husband decides that your Jack-o-Lantern would be improved by the addition of a kerosene-soaked roll of toilet paper.
But just as the festivities were getting underway, LO started pulling on our hands and pointing at the front door. The open road to the park beckoned to the young man, and it was clear that the only thing that would cure his itchy feet was a walk with Mama and Daddy.

"Well," we decided, "now's as good a time as ever to introduce him to the bizarre ritual that is trick-or-treating."

So, once the dog was leashed, the camera loaded, and the young Felix Baumgartner's boots affixed, we were off.

Imagine his confusion when instead of resolutely heading straight for the park, we stopped at the house next door. I knocked and coached him on the necessary Halloween blackmail-phrase, not that I had any illusions about his using it. When the lady of the house answered with a bowl full of candy, LO was still befuddled, but he certainly perked up at the sight of the candy. Even a 2-year-old is savvy enough to understand that a bowl of things wrapped in brightly colored packages means something delicious is inside. Our neighbor placed a handful of candy in LO's bag.

LO immediately grabbed it back out again. He had never seen such a collection of candy, and he was hardly going to allow it to be placed in a bag that Mama might then take away from him.

I was able to convince him to put some of the candy back in his trick-or-treat bag, but LO managed to double-fist a couple of lollipops for the rest of the jaunt.

They're really going to let me have these?
After leaving the first house, LO seemed content to continue on his normal route to the park. He was quite surprised when we knocked on the door of the next house down. When they answered the door with a bowl of candy, you could see the slowly dawning realization that there was free candy to be had at multiple locations within the neighborhood.

Even so, we apparently have not given him a true sense of abundance in his short life, because at each stop he kept choosing fun-size morsels to grasp to his chest alongside the original Tootsie Pops, as if to make clear to the candy how much it meant to him.
At a certain point, however, he became reluctant to choose a new piece of candy at each subsequent house, as if he had trouble believing that all of this incredible sugar wealth could now be his. (He was correct in that supposition. As a diligent mom, I had to check all of the chocolate candy for potential hazards when we arrived home. They were fine. Urp.)

As it grew closer to LO's normal witching hour, it became clear that the allure of candy was not nearly as attractive as the pull of the Sandman. Still clutching his Halloween booty to his chest, LO allowed himself to be carried back to the house, where a single fun-size package of Skittles was consumed, immediately converted into a manic energy that put bedtime off for another half hour, and then run off in a return trip around the block. Once we'd completed that Halloween ritual, the child nodded off to sleep more easily than he has done in weeks.

As much as I might hope that he'll conclude that tonight's activities were nothing more than a lovely and impossible dream, I have a sneaking suspicion that the young man will ask to knock on doors during our daily post-dinner walk tomorrow evening.

1 comment:

  1. Heee. Mine certainly got up this morning and told me that we were going trick or treating tonight.
    good luck, buddy.