So, we had a plan to take Paolo trick-or-treating on the downtown square. Sam was to fetch him from school and bring him to my office around 3:30. Instead, I got a frantic phone call from home; there were complications. Sam had walked into Paolo's classroom to find Paolo wearing just his costume head, frosting smeared around his mouth, with glazed and red-rimmed eyes from skipping his nap again. The teacher explained that Paolo had spilled a full cup of apple juice on his costume, so they'd taken it off and stuffed it in a plastic bag. Thank you, yes, that is just what you should have done. Because we won't need that later.
Sam threw the costume in the dryer, gave Paolo a snack to break up all the sugar in his system, and we got to the square 15 minutes before trick-or-treating ended, with a damp, smelly and cranky Super Tiger Boy. It was cold and windy, and the parents were marching their kids around like sheep, in a line snaking for blocks. That is the stupidest way to trick-or-treat I have ever witnessed. Why, oh, why this fixation with forming a line? We, however, are not raising a mindless follower. We are raising a rogue free-thinker who will CHOOSE when and where he begs for candy. I may be making too much of this.
Before every candy stop, we reminded Paolo to say "trick or treat" and "thank you," but he kept screwing it up. At the very last place giving out candy, though, he nailed it, and we were finally having fun. As we walked back to the car, Paolo happily chanted, "Trick or Treat," and I thought it seemed a shame to call an end to Halloween just when he'd figured it out. Then, a light clicked on in his head, and he began to sing, Trick or treat, smell my feet, give me something good to eat. Nope, this is the perfect time to pack it in.
Still and all, it was a marked improvement over last Halloween for a number of reasons:
- Paolo didn't suffer from the delusion that any of his extremities had gone missing.
- We avoided Mall-o-ween, also known as The March of Lost Souls.
- Nobody threw up.