Monday, November 1, 2010

Notes from a Halloween.

I buy the usual large bags of Halloween candy from the supermarket, miniature versions of well-known candy bars.

"'Fun-size,'" Primus cynically reads off the packet, as I decant the contents into a purple bucket to leave outside the door while we're out trick-or-treating. "They're a quarter the size of the normal bars. How is that fun?"

Primus and Secundus have each joined his own pack of marauding schoolfriends, and I'm left to accompany seven-year-old Tertius on his solo attempt to corner the world's candy supply. He's a biker skeleton. I'm a friar.

"Now what do you say when you knock on the door?" I rehearse.

"Trick or treat!" he replies.

"And what do you say when you get candy?"

"Thank you!"

"And if you don't get candy, you say . . . ?"

I trail off, the joke having been made (although this doesn't prevent the knee-jerk reproof from his nearby mother, which is what I was going for). But Tertius continues merrily:

"Well, I know the b-word, and the f-word, and . . ."

I'm talking to my friend and fellow-author and fellow-mother Annabel (plug for her book -- click here) about the costumes at Party City for grown-ups. Everything for women seems to be a sexy variation on a kid's classic, such as "Sexy Pirate," "Sexy Nurse," "Sexy Vampire."* But I lament that I never actually get to see these in the, er, flesh. Annabel informs me I'm clearly not getting invited to the right sort of party. Of course not. I have three small children, and I go to bed at ten o'clock.

Clearly not in Kansas anymore
But after an hour of chaperoning an avid trick-or-treater in temperatures that have dipped into the 40s and with a chill breeze blowing around my sandaled feet and up my friar's robe, I know why the young mothers of Rye prefer to cover up on Halloween. About the only tolerable costume would be "Mildly Risque Polar Bear."

This year, eleven-year-old Primus cashes in on his shoulder-length hair and decides to go out disguised as a girl. Wearing a pink top that he made me buy at Kohl's and with his mother's help to braid the hair and sweep it into a pony-tail, he's utterly convincing.

I applaud his courage. And as a father, I'm quite okay about it. Really, I am. No, really.

*That picture is a genuine 2010 Halloween costume downloaded from Party City's website. In researching it -- I suffer for you, Dear Reader -- I also found similarly skimpy versions for adult women of Hermione from Harry Potter, Wednesday Addams, and -- the horror! the horror! -- Big Bird and Elmo from "Sesame Street." (I knew Katy Perry's cleavage was the thin end of the wedge.) But the worst is a "sexy Betty Rubble." What a sacrilege! As if you anyone could make Betty Rubble any sexier than she is already.

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