Wednesday, October 31, 2012

How Not to Prepare for Halloween

I've been living in apartments for the last six years (or so), and the same has been true for Tom. As apartment-dwellers, we didn't get a whole lot of trick-or-treaters (ToTs). Some years, we got exactly zero. In the last apartment that we lived in, I believe that we were out for the evening the first year that we lived there, though I can't remember why, and the second year, we didn't expect to get anyone, so we had nothing in the apartment but Trader Joe's cereal bars, of which we ended up giving perhaps eight away.

This year would be our first in a real house, in a real neighborhood, since we moved out of our parents' homes some years ago. I wanted to be prepared, and I reminded Tom several times before he left on his grocery trip today that he must get us Halloween candy for the neighborhood kids. I should know by now that there are times that absolute specificity is required, and this was one of them. Not only could I apparently not trust Tom to get "good stuff," I couldn't trust him to get a satisfactory amount.

He did some research- I'll grant him that. He talked to our right-hand neighbor, who reported that the Halloween traffic around here was generally "light." I would have taken that to mean perhaps 30 ToTs. Tom took that to mean less than 16. I mean, he must have, since he seemed to think that two eight-packs of Reese's Peanut Butter Cups would be sufficient for the night. (Tom admitted to me later, however, that this same neighbor claimed to "hide out" from the ToTs, as a rule, and indeed, was one of the "dark" houses on the block that night, so there's no way he could have made an accurate judgement of what to expect...)

We ran out in the first 35 minutes, and had to first borrow some candy from our new neighbor-friends to the left of us, and then run out (well, Tom did) down the street to get some more to tide us over. The very closest place was the Latin grocer (though CVS wasn't terribly much farther, but Tom often forgets that, and perhaps he would have run into lines there, anyway). Unfortunately, Americana Grocery did not have fun-size variety packs, just full-sized bars of candy. So, Tom loaded up a bagful and rushed home just in time to relieve me as I ran out of our back-up, "borrowed," stash in the midst of a crowd of eager children.

So, we ended up being that house. You know- the one with the awesomely full-sized candy bars. Here's hoping we haven't set any expectations in the neighborhood for next year.

This probably all sounds like a terrible bash on Tom, but I don't mean it to. I'll admit to some anger, frustration, and outright panic in the couple of moments where I stood behind the door watching costumed youngsters approach and had nothing to offer them, but for the most part, I find the whole thing utterly hilarious, and will enjoy telling the story for years to come (much to Tom's chagrin, I'm sure). And it's a well-earned win, anyway. Tom is so often right about everything that I must wait for most of the year to find that one occasion that I can deem "Tom was wrong, 20__." I think that this one definitely applies.

But, on to Abby's side of the story.

I had been considering having Tom take her to just a handful of houses, but both she and Michael have come down with something in the last couple of days, and I didn't want to send her out in the cold while she was under the weather, so, when the time came, I planned not to. However, I kept Abby in the living room with me while our visitors began to appear, and I now have filed away amongst my surprise happy memories the instant in which she saw the first set of ToTs appear, and her eyes lit up in genuine excitement. It helped that the very head of the group was a little girl that she knows pretty well; half of Abby's excitement was getting to see her so unexpectedly. It was the second set that she really went wild for, however; a couple of young teenaged girls, one of whom was dressed as a bee (I've already forgotten the costume of the other). Abby squealed and jumped, and danced around my legs in glee as I opened the door to hand out candy.

After that, Abby seemed to pay less and less attention to the commotion at the front door, but she did notice her Minnie costume draped over the sofa, and, likely inspired by the other children she'd seen (and because she just loves wearing it, anyway) she asked us to put it on her. Tom slipped it on over her pink footed pajamas.

At that point, I decided that I really wanted Abby to have at least a little bit of the Halloween experience, and having been outside myself, I determined that it wasn't so cold, after all. Plus, she was all set to go now, in her costume! I had Tom carry her to the house of our left-hand neighbor friends, where she received not one, not two, but three pieces of candy, one of which was a Ghirardelli chocolate that our friend procured from his "special stash."

It was the only house that Abby visited, but she was thrilled just to be able to hold her little basket and watch as gifts were laid out in it, just for her.

When she got home, she spent several minutes looking over her winnings.

Abby, apparently, is a true connoisseur of chocolate, and picked out the Ghirardelli for me to open, pleading, "Chocolate?" I was in a dilemma. I hadn't actually planned to let her eat any candy, because she gets uncontrollable on too much sugar, but I also didn't really think she'd know what it was or be that interested in it. I've decided that I will let her try it, but I wasn't brave enough to do so just before bedtime. Ultimately, we compromised. I offered her some semi-sweet chocolate chips, and she jumped at the opportunity. I've promised her the Ghirardelli as a lunchtime treat tomorrow, so we'll see how she likes it then.

This was the only picture I could get of her looking up at me, focused as she was on her basket and candy.

You can see how boogery she is. Poor little thing. Her mood hasn't seemed to suffer for it, but for the sake of my sanity, and my tissue supply, I hope that both of my monkeys get over their sniffles soon. Certainly, little Abby will be able to taste her chocolate better that way, no?

Oh, and for the record, we got about 50-60 ToTs, and gave away every single piece of our candy. I'd like to think that next year, we'll have it all planned out just right. And, of course, we'll be giving Abby the Full Experience. I know she'll be melting hearts all over town.