01 November 2009

Halloween - A Night of Warmth and Laughter and A Fuzzy Penguin

Yesterday, around 5 in the afternoon, I sat with A on our bed, fuzzy penguin costume in hand, and, in keeping with the tradition of the holiday, began begging my daughter to let me put it on her. For some reason, this costume had been a source of anxiety for her (except for last weekend when her Godfather had no trouble at all...maybe it's just me?) and I was met with resistance. "Nnnnnoooo," she said scooting away from me and shoving her head under our pillows.

"But sweetheart," I cajoled, "Don't you want to put this on so you can get chocolate?"

Her father sniggered at me but it worked. She peeked out from under the bright yellow and blue pillows strewen across the head of the bed, eyes wide. "Chock-o-lit?" Suddenly, I had a very pliable, eager to dress toddler sitting in my lap. She even...and this floored me...let me put the hood/penguin head up. She is a reknown anti-hoodie, so this was Monumental.

In a last minute flash of genius, I grabbed her big, beanbag Nemo-fish as we headed out the door. After all, penguins eat fish and no penguin would be complete without his or her dinner at hand as they make their way into the world to beg for sweets.

So it was, fish and penguin and cloth pumpkin candy-tote in hand, that we set out on our adventures last night. The weatther was warm but windy, perfectly spooky and simply perfect too. The leaves were blowing all over, crunching underfoot as we made our way to the houses of people we knew.

Our idea for her first ever night of trick or treating was to simply take her to a few homes. After all, chock-o-lit is so rare in her life that she'd only had it maybe once or twice prior and candy in general just isn't something we give her. So, we decided that there was no need to wear her out walking all over our dense, urban neighborhood and certainly no reason to stockpile the candy that we don't normally give her anyway.

But this child was a quick study. Our first stop was, of course, Nonna and Nonno, downstairs. Because Nonna can't resist putting food of all stripes into someone's tummy, she heaped handfuls of candy into the pumpkin that A was holding out (because we told her to hold it out). Her little eyes lit up and a lightbulb appeared over her head. Suddenly, she knew what the pumpkin was all about and she liked it.

She ran to our next door neighbor whom she saw outside, with candy at the ready. "Tick n teet?" she asked nicely..."'nk oo," when they gave her more candy.

And so it went. We stopped at all of the homes we had on our list, A running ahead of us, dragging a very overloaded candy sack behind her...and several we weren't planning on simply because the sweet dispensers were waiting outside and she was onto this game now.

When she was done, I fed her soup and grilled cheese sandwiches and brought her outside with me. It was our turn to dispense treats to the hordes of kids who were cruising the neighborhood. She seemed as happy to give (a little over-zealous in most cases...she tried giving one kid several handfuls of Twizzlers and caramels but, much to that child's disappointment, I stopped her before she wiped us out) as she had been to receive. We stayed out a while, laughing a lot with Nonna, Nonno and Zio, watching her run in circles and place candy in sacks.

I couldn't help but think of my own mother who recently admitted to me that she has no particular love for the holiday. I wished she was with us last night, to at least partake in the laughter - watching a penguin run through the leaves, seeing her reactions to the other kids and their own creativity and feeling warm in the company of loved ones and the unseasonal mantle of the beautiful night.

For myself, I couldn't remember being so happy on a Halloween since I was a kid. I remembered that I was supposed to have been at a conference in Orlando yesterday, through the week. Part of the reason that I canceled was to be here to witness A's First Trick or Treat. It was worth every last moment and I know that once again, I made the right choice when I chose family time over networking.


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