With left over, dried pieces of food stuck to my hardwood floors, old clothes and sharp metal objects strewn all about the house, I awoke on November 1st, 2013 with blurry vision, a throbbing headache, and achy muscles like that of a young 20-something who partied a little too hard the previous night. (And in case some of you were wondering, I did not consume an ounce of alcohol.) It was from celebrating a euphoric moment with our boys: trick-or-treating, an official first time for Linus.
Piano Man has had years of practice under his belt. But all the unfamiliar nuances, such as saying, “Trick or Teat!” or “Happy Halloween!”, were a new phenomenon to Linus.
Linus’ First Trick-or-Treat
Linus and I attended our usual library time, but last week, the library celebrated Halloween with silly, spooky stories and a little trick-or-treat fest around different stations, greeted by several of the library staff. They passed out a green bag to each child, which Linus opened his up and peeked inside to find it completely empty. (Phenomenon #1: Get free stuff.)
Then Linus watched other kids prepare themselves in a line like that of a preschool student. As a non-preschool student, Linus longingly watches his big brother experience life as a “cool kid” with other “cool kids.” This is especially evident when we volunteer at Piano Man’s school during lunch/recess duty. Linus thinks this is what school is all about, getting in line to play all day with your buddies. No naps. And forget the education and learning part. (Phenomenon #2: Playing with other kids!)
Finally, Linus experienced the best and most confusing part about this year’s special Halloween story time, asking for candy. He twirled this way and that, unsure of what these kids were asking, or picking up in those mysterious plastic bowls. When he arrived at the front of the line, he looked up perplexingly at the librarian staff and just stared at her for a few seconds, as if the librarian would magically hand him the special treat into his green paper bag. I gently instructed him to say, “trick or treat,” and the librarian would then hand him a piece of candy. After receiving his first piece, he suddenly turned into Cookie Monster, desperately wanting to devour it within seconds, not realizing that he had a few more stations to go and say those three magical words: trick-or-treat. (Phenomenon #3: Say “trick-or-treat” = free candy!)
Burning the Midnight Oil
Meanwhile on the costume front, I was furiously working in overdrive on the boys’ costumes. The main pieces – neither the trapezoidal LEGO bodies, nor the Laval/Leonidas’ spikey hats – were even remotely close to completion, which was about 48 hours until H-Day. For over eight weeks, when I first began designing their costumes, I debated and worked between cardboard and foam, completely frustrated that neither of the two were working out. I thought about combining the two, wishing, hoping, and praying that it would make the LEGO body sturdier. But after a mid-way consultation with Piano Man, we opted to go 100% foam and fabric. It made sense since the kids would walking around in cold fall weather, and we would be walking up and down several flights of steps throughout the night. I had imagined that Prof or I would be carrying little Linus at some point, and cardboard seemed like the least likely way to carry a fidgety, independent toddler.
At 4:23 pm on October 31st, 2013, here’s what I completed on the boys’ costumes:
|Legends of Chima hats||✔|
|Legends of Chima chest plates||✔|
Well, you can’t win them all. As I said before, it was a dark and stormy night in the Midwest – the ground soaked through to a muddy mess, so going foam and fabric turned out to be the best design choice of the night. And going without cardboard encrusted LEGO legs/feet turned out to be another wise choice of the night.
In my haste to make a last minute Target run, I forgot to buy the one thing that I needed, black paint for the kids’ noses. Yup. It’s something straight out of a scene from a TV sitcom. I asked Prof to make another run to Target; however, he only found black glitter paint. Well, wouldn’t you know? On the rare occasion I wear black eyeliner for the night, I had a Dr. Gru “lightbulb” moment, and I realized that my simple makeup regimen would hold the pièce de résistance to complete their LEGO lion look for the night.
We dropped off a box of candy outside our front door, with no doubt that a majority (if not all) of it would be snatched up by the next kid who saw an unmanned candy station (Hope his conscience is clear for the rest of the weekend). While others were walking around our neighborhood, we participated in a community event in our city called Light in the Night. This year was a different year as the community event was advertised on local news and on big banners along a busy street. The weather was still drizzling and mildly cold, but the lines moved quickly. We eventually made it through all the apartment buildings, meeting several familiar college student faces, and enjoyed some warmth, good food (Krispy Kreme donuts and popcorn) and drinks, all for donating food items that also helps those in our community in the city.
Each of the college apartments were designed with a special decorative theme from Outer Space (think Wall-E and R2-D2) to Mario Brothers, with boxes taped to the ceiling to bump with your head to open the question box (in the original Super Mario Brothers game on the Nintendo Entertainment System) to Alice in Wonderland and Despicable Me, a personal favorite of the night.
Even college students came and dressed the part. Many were dressed from top to bottom in character according to the theme of their apartment building. Several Alice characters handed out candy in the Alice in Wonderland building. A couple of Mario Brothers roamed around campus, and even a few students slapped on a piece of paper stating, “Poor college student – you can ask me about my checking account.” Some costumes were a true reflection of their real-life personas, as one student informed me.
Now, trick-or-treating at Light in the Night was not an easy task for some families. We’re not talking about an easy stroll around the neighborhood with a few steps here and there. Oh no, people. We’re talking about crowded spaces when walking up and down several flights of stairs, eyeglasses fogging up when you enter into a heated building, and for those families with strollers, they left those along the entrance doors to each building like at an amusement park ride. To our surprise, Linus walked 95% of the way by himself. He repeated this sentence several times throughout the night, “I can do it. I can do it.” So we let him even if it caused a traffic jam up and down staircases and walkways.
And while Linus only wore the LEGO body piece and cape, Piano Man wore the entire get up until the rain started to melt his golden chest plate into what began to look like the Wicked Witch of the West. He was happy to wear his spikey Laval hat because it soaked up the raindrops away from his face.
(Photo Above: “Eating candy is hard work.”)
By the time we were done, night had fallen upon us. We came home past their usual bedtime, and they swiftly dozed off to sweet dreams of candies swirling in their heads and a community of make believe friends playing recess.
My favorite quote of the night had to be from Linus, when he said, “I like uh trick uh treek. I like uh trick uh treek.” And before Piano Man was whisked off to dreamland, he already told me what he wants to be for Halloween next year.
But you’ll have to wait until then to see what he decides to be. Until next time…
From my hometown to yours,