With about a hundred Trick O’ Treaters, (neighbors closer to the elaborately decorated “Halloween House” down the street get many times this number) and candy tossed to some cleverly-dressed parents, a few costumed kids jump to the top of my memory.

But for starters, I am saddened to say we didn’t get one single toddler who insisted on marching into our living room, believing he would be visiting with us for the evening. Last year, this kid was inconsolable. He had completed the requisite dressing up with parents fussing over him at home, had taken the nice long walk, (I’m guessing that to a toddler, a short block or two is enough), arrived at the door, and rang the bell via mommy-help. We hadn’t met before, but even the dog was happy to see him. Why wouldn’t he want to settle on the perfect height of a chair, the bottom stair in our house, and remove his wrap? From there he could relax, see everybody and easily pet the dog. This little kid really understood the rules of hospitality.

Think about it. Would you want to spend the money and time to buy or make a new outfit, then linger over looking your best, walk or drive to your friend’s house, anticipate the wafts of a fabulous meal as you ring the bell, only to be greeted by a smiling host, who, upon opening the door, shakes your hand, thrusts a doggie bag in your clutches, and bellows, “You look great! See you next year!”?

The only way we could get the toddler to make his next call, (and of course we told his parents they were more than welcome to stay and visit), was for me to leash the dog and accompany them to our neighbors’ house. The tears stopped flowing when we all took a friendly walk together; the little guy even held the leash. And once again, he rang the bell via mommy-help, and my neighbors opened the door and smiled and greeted him. The toddler marched into their living room and made himself comfortable. I didn’t wait around to see what happened next.

This year, lots of kids really fussed with make-up (or their parents fussed), to spectacular results. One little girl modeled a Dia de los Muertos costume. Her colorful and ornate dress was handmade, and her make-up was less skeletal, prettier. She looked beautiful. I can’t imagine how much time and patience it took for this team to achieve these expert results. Then there was the kid with a zipper realistically applied to his face. The zipper was open, and I could have sworn it could be zipped shut. Chilling and amazing!

But the kid who wins my Candy Corn award for embodying the spirit of their character (an award I just now devised) goes to a hobgoblin whose costume was quite popular this year. While I greeted kids one-by-one in a large group who all happened upon my door at the same time, I heard this familiar little tune from somewhere in the crowd: “Da-da dada dada dada, Da-da dada dada dada, Da-da dada dada, dada….” Each princess and ninja and devil and kitty cat and zombie and candy corn and tree and cell phone and Star Wars character (sadly, no Minions this year) selected a piece of sugary goodness from the bowl. The singing continued. Da-da dada dada dada…. He was last in the group, and when I looked up, I saw that one dad alone remained in the driveway. With great confidence, Batman selected a treat, still singing his theme song, and gazed up at me with a serious look on his face, and shouted, “Thank you, citizen!” He turned, ran down the steps, with his cape billowing as he ran, and joined his father, who was laughing even harder than I. Looking at the dad quizzically, I wondered if his boy had rehearsed this routine. The dad shook his head to answer my unspoken question, and exclaimed, “I had no idea!”

Runner-up goes to this very little guy who smiled when I remarked that I liked his magician costume, with cape and all. While he selected a treat, I asked him if he could provide me with a trick. He happily obliged. Removing his top hat, he waved his wand over it. Very quietly, he whispered something close to “Abracadabra” and reached inside the hat. He had a little trouble maneuvering a fabric panel, but moved it enough for me to see that a plush bunny was hidden inside. After a few more minutes of struggle, his mom helped him to extricate the rabbit, and he held it high. Pretty impressive! This kid was beaming. I tossed him a second candy as he turned to go. He earned it!

Kathy Galgano

November 4, 2013


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