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Thursday, November 02, 2006  

Trick-or-Treat, Part II

M. Small's second year of trick-or-treating went better than his first. In part because it started on Saturday morning.

That's when the shops in our neighborhood opened up their doors to trick-or-treaters and their parents. We zipped M. Small into his Tigger costume and the three of us started going door-to-door. M. Small would hold up his little plastic pumpkin and be amazed that people he's never met before would just drop stuff into it. "Thank you, thank you!" he'd cry out.

Getting him to say "Trick or treat" took a little more prompting, but eventually he got the hang of it. And not like last year, where he managed to utter one hesitant "Ktgdeekhx" at the end of Halloween evening. Meanwhile, Trash learned a little something too. Going into all these clothing boutiques that she'd never entered before, she remarked, "A lot of these stores have really nice clothes. I'm totally coming back here."

"Why do you think they do it?" I responded. Another little piece of her childlike innocence died at that moment. But she's still going back.

One of our last stops was the grocery store, where instead of handing out candy they were giving apples, cheese-and-cracker snacks, and little containers of milk. M. Small was barely out the door before he put down his pumpkin and reached into it for the first time that day, in order to retrieve the apple and start chowing down on it right there.

That was the most forceful reminder that he's adopted I've ever experienced.

Tuesday night, Halloween proper, was windy and cold. But M. Small was up for it. Bundled up in two pairs of pants, two pairs of socks, three shirts and a stocking cap under what amounts to a hooded fur coverall, he was eager to get going. "Go outside!" he insisted.

We started at the next-door neighbors' house, but they weren't home yet. While we waited for no on to answer the door, I coached M. Small on the "Trick or treat" aspect of the procedure. After a minute or so of waiting, we turned and headed to the next house.

No joy there, either. Or the next one after that. I began to wonder if maybe 5:45 in the evening wasn't a bit early. On the fourth house, we rang the doorbell. M. Small waited a minute, then turned to leave all on his own. He must have figured this is what trick-or-treating is; you go to people's houses, ring the doorbell or knock, wait a minute, and then leave. It probably made about as much sense to him as two-thirds of what goes on in his life.

By the time we decided to go inside to warm up, we'd successfully gotten answers at three houses. But unlike last year, when he was pretty much a passenger, I held his hand and let him walk. This meant that three houses took approximately sixteen hours.

We made one more quick trip out, to visit a house across the street and up the block where they'd specifically asked us to be sure to stop by, and when we came home, my niece Deniece was there, along with one of her cousins and both of their moms. The little party headed back out to hit the next block down, and I think what M. Small really needed to learn how to trick-or-treat was a role model.

Because by the time we finished up for the night, he had gotten the hang of it in a big way. He was running so fast he overshot houses entirely. He made me carry his pumpkin of candy between houses and only asked for it back when mounting stoops, like I was his caddy or something. He called out "My turn!" about ringing doorbells. He bellowed "Trick or treat!" at every neighbor who opened up. At one point, upon finding himself on the wrong side of an outwardly swinging door and blocked from direct access by the two older girls, he simply reached the hand with the pumpkin around the edge of the door so candy could be dropped in. Somebody had mastered the concept.

Now he has to master the concept that Halloween is over, and I think it's kind of a struggle. He hasn't been asking to wear his Tigger costume any more, but when I dropped him off at day care, he looked up at where the Halloween decorations had been sitting for weeks and demanded, "Where's the pumpkin?"

Fortunately, his dad is quite lazy and slow when it comes to taking down Halloween decorations at home. That should soften the transition.

posted by M. Giant 9:00 PM 5 comments

5 Comments:

The first time my oldest son went trick or treating,he was 2 1/2 and at every house he would lift up his Casper (the Friendly Ghost) mask and say "I'm not really Casper, I'm Nathan". He's 28 now and its still one of my most charming memorys of Halloween.

By Anonymous Anonymous, at November 3, 2006 at 4:40 AM  

Ah yes, the Halloween letdown... My kiddo has been pleading to go Trick or Treating every day since Tuesday, and when I tell her no, she sits forlornly by the front window clutching her plastic ToTing pumpkin, mumbling "There's my jack o'lantern, though" to herself. (Yeah, we haven't taken down the Halloween stuff here yet either.)

She kicks it up a notch though, by insisting on wearing her Curious George costume - I've had Curious George accompany me to the library, grocery store, Sam's Club, carwash and gas station this week.

At least all the stores around here already have their holiday decorations up, so we can work on getting her back into her annual Santa obsession and then the CG costume can disappear in the dark of night...

By Blogger Heather, at November 3, 2006 at 5:03 AM  

In St. Louis, it is customary not only to yell the obligatory, "Trick or Treat!" but also to tell a joke. You have to *work* for that candy. Having a shy 6 year old and a 3 year old, this was the first year we really got the joke part down. However, for the 3 year old, I had to play the straight man and deliver the joke, then my son would chime in for the punchline. I would lead off, "Hey, Elek! What's a cow's favorite thing to do on a Saturday night?" And he would chime in, his face all excited, "Go to the Mooo-vies!" Of course, it was adorable and we scored copious amounts of candy. We make a great comedy team.

By Blogger shallahb, at November 3, 2006 at 6:35 AM  

I don't understand how you post about Halloween and you don't include a picture of M. Small in his costume. What's up with that?

By Anonymous Michelle, at November 4, 2006 at 12:08 PM  

Seriously! I was all set to actually SEE the Tigger-ness, and then ... nuthin'. Sheesh.

By Blogger ~ courtney ~, at November 11, 2006 at 7:43 PM  

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