Saturday, October 31, 2009

My Treat

Happy Halloween!! As you may know, this is our first Trick-or-Treat night in our new neighborhood and I've got to tell you, I'm a little nervous about it. It's always difficult when Alan and I move into a new community, basically because we don't have children. From what I can see, when my neighbors all moved into their homes, their kids all became immediate friends and spent hour upon hour at each others' houses. Their parents have no choice but to become acquainted. Soon they're all attending PTA meetings and cub scout jamborees together while Alan and I watch from the wings. We are "That Childless Couple," and, to be honest, I'm a little paranoid about it! I always imagine we immediately become the target of everyone's suspicion ("Do they HATE children?") or pity ("She must be barren!").

Either way, because I love nothing more than cute, adorable witches, supermen, ninjas, and werewolves coming to my door, I've always tried to win-over our new neighborhood children and their parents long before October 31st rolls around. As I wrote in an earlier post, my terrier has always been my weapon of choice in previous years. All the kids in my former communities have had absolutely NO idea what my name is, but they all most certainly knew that the crazy, sprinkler-chasing, pool-diving, trick-performing dog that lived with me was named Trixie!! They all eventually learned that if they showed up on my porch Halloween night, not only would they get excellent candy, they'd also get to see Trixie in her pumpkin/bumble bee/lady bug/scary monster costume. Not ONE of them ever wanted to miss that!!

As I think about it today, I guess I'm actually a tiny bit obsessed with the idea of trick-or-treaters! Maybe because I don't have the privilege of dressing-up my own toddlers, I really relish the few minutes I have gazing at all the costumed cuteness at my front door. When we lived in Orlando, in our Avalon Park community, we quickly learned it was the absolute PERFECT trick-or-treat neighborhood. The houses were close together (kids could get LOTS of candy with little walking effort!), the streets were well-lit, and there were children living EVERYWHERE!!! If I was out gardening in the front yard when two kids would ride by on their bikes, I'd always turn, wave, and say, "Do you know what you're going to be for Halloween yet?" They'd usually look at me with a confused expression and reply,

"Um, no. It's June."
"Hey, it's never too early to plan," I'd remind them!

By far, though, my favorite Avalon Park trick-or-treater was a little one year-old girl that moved in with her brother and parents just two doors down from us. To say she was "cherubic" would be making a supreme understatement, the child was beautiful. She had short, curly brown hair that softly framed her round face. Her cute locks perfectly accented her enormous, heavily-lashed blue eyes. The minute I saw her as she walked by one morning with her mom, escorting her brother to school, only one thought entered my mind: "I can't WAIT to see her on Halloween!"

The big night arrived and Trixie, Alan and I began to pass out our Snickers bars to ghosts, mermaids, and pirates. Then the doorbell rang, we opened the door and there she stood with her brother (aka Batman). Our little cherub was dressed in a leopard leotard, complete with tail and spotted-ear headband. On her gorgeous face was drawn a black nose and whiskers. In a word: ADORABLE!! They were both holding up their empty treat bags (we were their first stop!) and her brother happily shouted, "Trick or Treat!" He eagerly accepted his chocolate bar, thanked us, and hopped down our steps to his waiting mom on the sidewalk. His sister, still standing at our door, didn't seem to mind being left, but was also obviously terribly confused by the whole process. "Say 'Trick or Treat,' Honey," her mom encouraged. She glanced at her mother, then turned back to us with brow furrowed and lips pursed. Alan knelt down with the treat bowl, grabbed a Nestles Crunch bar and dropped it in her bag. She looked at him quizzically, then went to reach in her bag for the treasure this stranger had just placed there. "No, no!!" her mom shouted, "Leave it there! Come on, we have to go to the next house!" Obeying her mom but still clearly confused, our leopard descended the porch steps and joined her family. I talked about it for a year!!

The next year, sometime in September, I guess, Alan and I were having lunch at a local restaurant when we looked over and recognized those same neighbors sitting at a nearby table. When we waved and nodded a quick "Hello," our little cherub, almost two now, took this as an invitation, walked over to our table and sat down next to Alan. She removed his sunglasses from his head and placed them on her face, upside down. I think I could actually hear the audible crumbling of Alan's heart! Because I'm a giant goofball, I immediately asked her my stock questions, "What are you going to be for Halloween?" and "You're coming to my house for candy, right?" (That didn't sound creepy and desperate at all, right?) She told us she was going to be a fairy princess. I tried without success to quell my squeal of delight.

They were the first ones to arrive at our door that Halloween night! Actually, it was a little TOO early, as we had just arrived home from work and Alan didn't even have the treat bowl ready! So, I grabbed Trixie and headed to the front while Alan ran to the kitchen to grab the goodies. I opened the door and there she stood next to her brother (aka Spiderman) in all her sparkly-crowned, netted-winged, wand-waving, fairy-princess glory. Priceless. I didn't have much time to gaze upon her loveliness, however, because as soon as I opened the door, she was quickly walking past me, headed towards Alan in the kitchen. "Hello!" said a surprised Alan, but he quickly recovered, knelt down on our kitchen floor and held out the treat bowl to her. She selected a Milky Way and headed back to the porch. Her mother, mortified, apologized profusely. We waved it away instantly, still laughing. "She's just really not grasping the whole "trick-or-treat" concept, is she?" I joked. Mom agreed and called to her daughter, who quickly bonked Spiderman on the head with her glitter-crusted wand and descended the stairs of my porch. I'll always wonder if she ever got the hang of it by the end of the evening!

As I've said, I'm worried about my chances this year. My sweet Trixie has grown older and her sprinkler-chasing, child-entertaining days are far behind her, I'm afraid. Our homes in the new neighborhood are much farther apart, it's very hilly, and the weatherman is predicting rain. I've seen the local kids pass by as I've been out working in the yard, and they've always politely returned my vigorous waves and chipper "Hellos!" to them. But I know they're not real happy with me. The family that used to live in my house had three children, three of their pals. So, basically, I am the lady that moved into the home from which their best friends had to leave. I also didn't provide them with any "replacement playmates." Not cool.

But I have a plan!! I went to the store yesterday and purchased a giant package of FULL-SIZED candy bars!! No "fun size" for MY kids!! The way I see it, if I can get just ONE brave child to ring my doorbell and see the KICK ASS treats that I am distributing tonight, word will quickly spread. Soon, I'll have hundreds of costumed children on my porch! OK, maybe dozens. Actually, I'd be happy with just ONE fairy princess...

Thanks for reading!! Happy Halloween!!


Dana said...

I KNOW EXACTLY (almost exactly since I do have kids) WHAT YOU'RE TALKING ABOUT!! We moved into our neighborhood in July-and met six kids the first day. Come to find out the place is PACKED with kids. I started buying candy in September....only to be told 2 days prior to the big event, kids don't come down into our cul de sac (other than the 6 that live on this street)!!! We got a grand total of about 10 groups of 2 or 3 "seasoned professional" trick-or-treaters, only ONE first-timer. My co-worker regaled us with stories about her ONE HUNDRED AND SEVENTY FIVE candy-grabbers (yes, she counted)...90% of whom were under the age of about 7 and about 70% of whom wore "professional looking" costumes, complete with makeup/face paint.
**I'm going to her house next year!!**

So, how'd it go for you???

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