For the first two Halloween holidays in Olivia's life we decided not to take her trick-or-treating, because it would have been more about us than her. Sure, having an infant dressed up as Yoda from Star Wars, or a really cute ballerina, would have been easy pickings for us to bank lots of candy off people: "Do you see how cute our daughter is dressed up as Yoda? Of course you do. Now give us some candy and pretend like we're going to give any of it to her." But really, what kind of fun is it to profit off of your innocent offspring? OK who am I kidding here, it's lots of fun.
We knew this year was going to be different and special because it would be the first time Olivia could actively participate in the festivities. For the past several months we grilled her on what she wanted to dress up as. After thinking it over, she narrowed it down to 3 options: 1) Elsa from 'Frozen;' 2) Elsa from 'Frozen;' or, 3) Elsa from 'Frozen.' After careful consideration Jodi and I decided to let her go with option #3, which we felt was both the age appropriate and socially responsible choice for our child. We were worried that many people might not get who she was dressing as, or that she'd be the only kid in a costume from that movie, but then we remembered that pretty much 90% of the world's population of little girls and kittens would also be dressed as Elsa for Halloween.
Once the costume was decided upon we began prepping Olivia for the the big day. We coached her on what to say when we knocked on someone's door or rang their doorbell, showed her how to wield the oversized, pumpkin-shaped bucket that would hold all her loot and we taught her how to get the proper arc while throwing a roll of toilet paper to effectively TP someone's house. On the day of, I rushed home from work to help pick her up from daycare, prep her outfit and bundle her up (it was somewhat chilly, although we didn't get snow like the Midwest did). We headed out the door and Olivia was all smiles and excitement. Jodi and I were also excited at seeing her and the other kids out on the sidewalks, overjoyed to be in their costumes and having fun with their family and friends. Finally we reached the official "Olivia's first ever house to be trick-or-treated," in which a husband and wife team were dressed up and sitting on their stoop waiting for kids to stop by. We prompted Olivia to say those 3 little words that have been uttered by countless other children before her...and she freaked out and hid behind Jodi's leg without saying a thing. We tried to get a picture of her to commemorate the moment...and she freaked and hid behind Jodi's leg.
Eventually after about 3 or 4 more houses, Olivia finally began to warm up to the idea of asking for candy and interacting with people. From then on she was all about pointing out the other costumes we saw, "Look Mommy, Elsa!" "Mommy, Elsa!" Needless to say, most of the people we came up to informed us of how many Elsas they had seen prior to our arrival. Don't get me wrong, there were plenty of ninja turtles, iron men (iron lads?) and even some unlicensed fun stuff out there as well. I saw a guy dressed as bacon. I mean, c'mon that's just win right there. There was a toddler dressed up as a gang member of some sorts, possibly the Baby Bloods since he was sporting a red bandana. Both parents and kids seemed to be having a good time and were in good spirits. At one point I got a little worried that there would be some assholes out as well, considering a mom and her kids cut us in a line for candy and pretended we weren't there. I love when people do that whole not look in your direction thing and then say something out loud to convince themselves and the other people around them that they were there before you. Sorry lady, but no amount of you saying, "We're in line, we're in line," can mask your selfish need to cut in front of a toddler and her dad for 2 pieces of candy. Thankfully she was the only person out that night that felt the need to do anything like that. However, I may or may not have called upon the gods of enamel to smite her teeth with cavities from all the sweets she most likely snuck from her kids once they got home.
One of the highlights of that night for me had to be when we approached a house and saw a younger boy in the window prepping for our arrival. He rushed to turn on a flashing ghost decoration, then promptly answered the door when we rang the bell. As he went to hand Olivia candy his dad came to the door with a huge grin on his face, proudly watching his son pass out goodies and noting how excited he was in performing this task for us. Once that was done the boy held up a finger for us to wait, rushed inside and came back with some sort of cardboard finger puppet. He then proceeded to show Olivia how to use it, wished us a happy Halloween and sent us on our way. I loved both his enthusiasm and eagerness in showing Olivia how to use the finger puppet. It made me not only appreciate the people in our neighborhood, but also how even a holiday like Halloween can help bring people together and be generous to one another. It's like Christmas, but with scares, blood and zombie make-up.
The rest of our time out in the neighborhood went just as well. We hit a house with teal pumpkins out front, which signified that they were giving out non-food treats to be considerate of kids who have food allergies. Another house had a tween age boy "hiding" in a sack in the front yard. His younger sister was handing out candy, then telling people to check out the surprise waiting in the sack. Anyone who got close was treated to a growl and a snap of his teeth. It didn't seem to phase Olivia at all, but I believe I may have peed a little in my boxer briefs. One of the last houses we visited was guarded by a teenager dressed as John Snow from 'Game of Thrones.' Instead of telling him "trick-or-treat" I coached Olivia and had her yell out, "You know nothing, John Snow!" He laughed, handed us some candy, then just brooded at us as we walked away.
By the end of the night Olivia seemed pretty tired, so I ended up carrying her on my shoulders on our way home. She was excited about all the candy she had received, and we were excited about seeing this holiday in a whole new light. That is, once I got her dress out of my face. I haven't celebrated Halloween in many years so it was a treat to experience it again, especially from the perspective of being a parent. I loved seeing Olivia light up when she saw all the other kids dressed up, as well as when the whole trick-or-treating thing finally clicked for her. I'm excited to do it all over again next year, although I'm hoping she'll let me dress up with her this time. In my head I've come up with a ton of different scenarios we could do (Han & Chewie, Calvin & Hobbes, Ponch & John, etc.). I don't want to get my hopes up too high though, because who knows what she'll be into at that time. I could end up having to dress as a My Little Pony or someone from the inevitable 'Frozen' sequel that could come out by then. I guess it's time for me to start subtly dropping hints to her by having movies or cartoons I like showing on the TV. Here's hoping that the next time I write about Halloween, Olivia will be all about Voltron like this girl was. At least there won't be any glitter coming off of a costume like that.