Willem had been begging for several weeks to be a skeleton, and Nels wanted to be a Star Wars character. Good old Darth was the only Star Wars character available whose integrity had not been compromised by the prequels. I do have some standards.
I'm not sure what I was thinking when I agreed to let the boys go downtown for trick-or-treating on the Wednesday before Halloween. My plan was to ignore the event, but Nels's school really talked it up (thanks a lot, teach) and I momentarily took leave of my senses and said, "OK, let's go!"
Our downtown is REALLY SMALL, with only one main drag, and the place was wall-to-wall children. It was enough to make my chest tighten with anxiety even without my accompanying foot-dragging mouth-breathers. We had to stand in lines on the sidewalk just to get to the next store where I would have to tell my boys for the millionth time to hold out their buckets already. I won't say any more about it except to say NEVER AGAIN. NEVER. EVER. AGAIN. Next year I'll take them out for an ice-cream sundae instead.
On Halloween proper we got serious and Shaun and the boys carved the perfect pumpkin that Grandma brought us from her garden.
My boys really love Halloween. But wow, I'd never realized how much socialization is required for a proper trick-or-treating outing. Every little step I'd always taken for granted needed to be gone over in explicit detail. Over. And over. And over. And over.
We briefed the boys before every house, and still they had to be prompted through each interaction. They would truly just stand in the open doorway and stare as though they were wishing to be hugged and then invited in and then adopted forever.
OK, walk up to the door. Ring the doorbell. Stand back! You're too close, they won't be able to open the door! Say 'trick-or treat'! Oh PLEASE stop staring and say 'trick or treat'! Now what do you say? Thank you! Say thank you. OK, guys, turn away from the door. Turn away. Stop staring. Turn around. Time to head out. Really, guys, stop staring.
I'll leave it up to you to imagine how much of that we actually had to say out loud. More of it than you might think.