Thinking Halloween tonight. Estimating how many trick or treaters will ring our doorbell this year, how much candy to buy, or whether to turn out the lights and pretend we’re not home.
Halloween always brings back a legendary memory in our household. It would never had happened if it wasn’t for the fact that Macho Guy always had all the fun on Halloween. Every year, he was the one who took the kids around the neighborhood trick or treating. Meanwhile, I stayed home to dole out the candy. ::yawn::
That changed the first year MG and Firstborn took three-year-old Little Brother out trick or treating with them. An old white pillow case with eyeholes cut out transformed Little Brother into a mini-ghost, and off they went.
As soon as they left, I put my secret plan into action. I was going to have some Halloween fun of my own for once. I scampered back to my bedroom and dressed all in black. I dusted my face with powder, smeared dark eyeshadow beneath my eyes, and slathered on bright red lipstick that ghoulishly trailed from the edges of my lips down to my chin. The final touch was the fake vampire fangs I popped into my mouth. I found a length of chain in the basement that I could rattle, and lighted a candle to hold under my chin when I went to the door.
I looked darned scary if I do say so myself, but I decided to do a milk run to test the effect.
I sneaked across the backyard to my neighbor Nancy’s side door. I knocked. She turned. I hissed. She screamed. I laughed. She laughed too when she realized it was me, and then she gave me a candy apple in appreciation for my willingness to make a complete ass of myself.
I rushed home in time to great my first trick or treater, a cute little girl with blonde ringlets who was dressed as a princess. I rattled the chain, opened the door, and hissed. The little princess took one look at me and froze. Her mom, who was around front and couldn’t see the doorway–or me–kept urging her to say ‘trick or treat.’ Princess didn’t budge and never took her eyes off me. I’m sure she never even blinked. I gave her points for not crying. Finally, her mom peered around the front wall, saw me, sighed, and in a world-weary voice said, “Oh.” Translation: “Thanks a lot. My little girl will probably have nightmares tonight.” I held out my bucket of candy. Princess wouldn’t take the bait. She continued to imitate a statue. Her mom kept saying, “Take the candy, sweetheart.” Finally, Princess lurched at the bucket, grabbed a handful of candy and ran like the hounds of hell were after her. She may still be running for all I know.
Okay, I felt badly for scaring the little princess. She wasn’t from our neighborhood and so didn’t recognize me. As hard as I tried not to laugh, I couldn’t help it. The expression on the princess’s face was priceless.
The trick or treaters from our neighborhood all recognized me and laughed themselves silly. As a result, I solidified my status as the crazy mom in the neighborhood. They all thought I was crazy to begin with, me being a writer and all, but that Halloween stunt put me over the top.
MG, Firstborn, and Little Brother returned home with their loot at last. I couldn’t wait to see their reaction when I greeted them at the door with fangs bared, hissing, and chain rattling. MG and Firstborn cracked up, but Little Brother burst into tears, and ran terrified past me into the living room. I spit out the fangs and trotted after him saying, “Don’t be afraid. It’s me, Mommy. See?” He didn’t stop crying or running, and his big brother didn’t stop rolling on the floor laughing. I followed on our little guy’s heels into the kitchen and rubbed off the red lipstick with a paper towel. “Look, sweetie. It’s Mommy. Don’t cry.” He kept going like the Energizer Bunny and finally MG caught up with him. Little Brother, still frightened, hid from me behind MG’s legs and kept crying. I felt like dirt. Actually, I felt like the grime beneath the dirt. I rubbed off the shadow and pleaded with him. “Look, it’s me, Mommy. I dressed up for Halloween like you.” He didn’t buy it.
MG managed to calm our baby boy down eventually, but the kid eyed me suspiciously for days as though he wasn’t completely convinced. My mom, the vampire. At that point, I knew exactly how the little princess’s mom felt, and what griped me is that I brought it on myself.
The following year I went back to handing out the candy without complaint. Trick or Treat, anyone?