What’s in My Bucket

I am starting to warm up to Halloween.  Not so much the Holiday itself, but because my family enjoys it so much.  The costumes and candy are great, but just a chance to spend a few hours with my family in the middle of a week without worrying about dinner or baths or school work is special.  I appreciate Halloween for providing that.

An added bonus was the weather was less dastardly cold than in most years.  I won’t say it was actually warm because 18 Fahrenheit doesn’t pass for warm in most places.  However it is much warmer than the typical below zero weather.  You could actually see the boys costumes.  Eli’s monkey costume kept him warm, but even Charlie was comfortable in his Ninja costume, provided he could jump in the car between houses.

Charlie is a veteran of several Halloweens, but this is Eli’s first out in the field.  He was a quick study and diligently followed his big brother’s lead.  There were a few rookie mistakes.

He had trouble with spacial relationships.  Specifically he couldn’t grasp the fact that most outer doors can’t be opened when your face is pressed against the glass.  Eli, ever the performance artist, used this opportunity to rub his lips and nose against the glass.  In one instance he pushed his mouth against the glass and inflated his cheeks, giving the homeowner’s family a clear view of the inside of his mouth.  I choose not to think about the glass cleanliness issue.

At the first few houses, once Eli allowed the door to open, he felt as though he was being invited inside.  He trudged inside, announced that he was a monkey, showed them his banana (Part of the costume sewn on to resemble a banana sticking out of the back pocket that all monkeys possess) and kicked snow off his boots.  After a brief discussion on trick or treat etiquette we were back on track.

At the first house, I took the boys up the driveway and let them go up to the door on their own.  I was so proud.  Eli removed his face from the door and allowed the nice lady to put candy in their buckets in response to their hearty cries of “Trick of Treat!”  They both said thank you.  Well Charlie said thank you.  Eli’s thank you sounded more like you are welcome, or more specifically just welcome.  With him you can tell if it is thank you or you’re welcome based on context.  If you give him something the word means thank you.  If he is giving you something it means you are welcome.

After his first ever piece of Halloween candy was dropped into his plastic pumpkin he smiled that beautiful Eli smile, said thank you (kind of), turned around and sat down on the deck and stuck his hand in his bucket and tried unwrap and eat the candy.  Charlie quickly explained that it was bad  form to eat the candy while the giver was standing behind you.  Eli figured it out and we moved on.

We also had a minor issue with Eli critiquing the giver’s treat selections while still looking into the face of the giver.  One lady gave each of them a bag of pretzels.  Eli looked in his bucket, looked at the lady, looked back in his bucket.

“No prezzels,” he said.  “Candy!”  The lady looked at him.  Eli held up his bucket and said slowly.  “Um, candy.”  Charlie stepped in, said thank you and brought Eli to me.  What could I say?  I thought pretzels were lame too.  I explained we could only talk trash about the candy once were safely inside the car.  He seemed to understand.

I was impressed by the different costumes this year.  With so many kids and such a limited selection of costumes here in Fairbanks, I thought it was amazing that there were few repeats.  I was particularly impressed with the Scooby Doo costume.  I am a fan.

I think costumes should be recognizable.  A Facebook friend posted a picture of him in his Fred Flintstone costume.  As somebody who bears a passing resemblance to Barny Rubble, I appreciate the costume.  I am ok with certain nonspecific costumes like a pirate, a vampire or a witch.  You start to lose me when you go abstract.  Sorry, but your mismatched clothes,  bloody-knife-stuck-in-the-back prop, wild hair wig and “The Scream” mask doesn’t say “scary” to me.  It says “lack of focus” and “inability to commit”.

Still abstract shows some imagination.  The same can’t be said for the unfortunate kids that have to spend Halloween as a baseball player or a football player.  That is akin to me putting shorts and a damp tee shirt and going out as “Fat Guy on a Treadmill.”  I know that I don’t have a treadmill for the costume but Mickey Mantle from last night wasn’t in center field, he was on your doorstep.

My wife’s friends have shown great imagination in their costumes.  I have two favorites.  First is six people dressed as different types of popular beer and formed into a six-pack.  The other is a friend who went to a party with a small table that you might see next to bed fixed on her person.  She was costumed as “A One Night Stand”.  Get it?  One-night stand?  I will let you use your imagination regarding the finer details on the costume.

We saw a few costumed families.  I don’t get it personally.  They seemed to be enjoying the time with their kids and that is always a good thing.  I enjoyed myself and I didn’t dress up.  To each his own.  With the exception of the family in the Teletubby costumes.  That was just a bit unnerving.

I got in the car as Tinky-Winky, LaLa and Po crossed in front of us. So I know the Teletubbys.  What of it?  Don’t judge.  My wife has been throwing the idea of family costumes around.  I looked at her as I buckled up.

“No,” I said.

“No,” she said.

I didn’t see any tricks last night, just treats.  I am starting to think that the younger generation doesn’t fully understand the actual meaning of the phrase “Trick Or Treat.”  As those of us born deep in the previous century know it, means that if adequate treating doesn’t happen at a particular location that tricks will be played.  The classic tricks involve toilet paper and eggs.

If kids did fully understand the implied ultimatum behind “Trick Or Treat” pretzel lady’s house would have been TPed hard last night.  As far as I know, she was spared.

One nice elderly gentleman tried to give Charlie a hint regarding the trick thing, but he couldn’t quite grasp it.

“Trick or Treaters!” he exclaimed as he answered the door.  “What are you going to do if I don’t give you any candy?”

Charlie thought for a moment.  “Ask again?”  Let’s hope he keeps that innocence.

The boys aren’t hard-core trick-or-treaters yet.  The night ended early for us.  We gave the them relatively small buckets and once they were full they were happy.

On the way home we talked about how fun it was and what we wanted to be next year.  “Dad,” said Charlie excitedly, “Did you see the people dressed as the Teletubby’s?”


Thanks for reading and thanks for all the “likes” on the Facebook page.  See you soon on This Side of the Diaper.






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