Lone Wolf

For ten years, I shared photos on this blog of two boys in Halloween costumes. For a majority of those years, I chose the costumes and those two boys happily wore whatever I chose.

Then those years came during which they chose their costumes. They didn’t match. They didn’t show their faces. But they were happy, so I was happy.

And now it’s 2018. They’re just a couple of weeks away from turning 13 and 11. We’ve entered a new phase. 

The near-teenager decided he didn’t want to trick-or-treat. It was not forced upon him as I am fully in the Teenagers Trick-or-Treating Is A-Okay camp. Extending childhood in an age in which we force so much on our children feels like a good choice to me. Plus, if they’re asking me for candy, they’re not engaging in any number of other bad choices Generation X made on Halloween. So yes, I was for him heading out on Halloween in some kind of costume.

He just didn’t want to.

I fear this may be genetically my fault. While I did trick-or-treat as a seventh grader, I lack a certain amount of whimsy. Or basically, I lack any amount of whimsy. I am anti-whimsical. It’s a fault of mine that I acknowledge. So maybe he gets it from me. 

Whatever the case, he didn’t want to don a costume and hit the neighborhood. Fine. He wanted to hand out candy with my husband as it was his year to stand on the porch and my year to walk. This felt like an okay transition. Our older son is amazing with kids, especially young kids. It turns out he had a blast handing out candy—or, in our case, chips—to the kiddos. This makes my heart happy.

But I had a couple of hard moments walking through our neighborhood with my mother-in-law and just one of my sons. What do you mean that we’re down to one trick-or-treater? That older kid was just born yesterday or at least very recently and was a lion and a pumpkin in the same year because I couldn’t choose and then a firefighter and Sebastian and Buzz Lightyear and Waldo and Mario and some kind of Star Wars bad guy and freaking CALVIN and Spiderman and a ninja and some other kind of something I couldn’t see his face and now he’s nearly 13 leaving me to walk our candy route with a lone wolf.

That statement is funnier if you know the story of how my husband and I met as well as his username in 2001. 

Anyway, it was a lovely Halloween, 2018. The rain stopped just in time to head out for candy and stayed away until after we finished the chili and cornbread I made for dinner. My trick-or-treater had a great time even if he couldn’t really see where he was going and truly struggled at houses that wanted him to “pick his own candy.” I soft yelled, “He can’t see,” from my spot at the end of each driveway. Another memory, another heart pocket.

I am thankful that we were able to share a fun evening with my mother-in-law, for a safe place to beg neighbors for candy, for these people whom I love so very, very much. But so many giggles at the lone wolf concept.


Halloween Will Always Be Halloween

I sent my husband, my mother-in-law, and my sons off down the road last night as I sat on the porch, candy bucket in hand. Last year I walked the boys around our neighborhood, so it was his turn this year. I watched them walk away, squinting into the setting sun, and sighed.

My mom-friends with sixth grade children, specifically boys, lamented this being their sons’ last year trick-or-treating. My husband can’t remember if his last year was in sixth or seventh grade. Anectdotally, the only seventh grade boy in the neighborhood did not trick-or-treat this year.

I filled candy bags and pumpkins and pillow cases with some of my favorite candies as the sun dipped lower and the air got colder. Elsa. Some unicorns. A gum ball machine. Lots of super heroes—and specifically, lots of Wonder Woman. A flower. A very small It clown, which nope. Two gorillas. Two fire puppies. A lumberjack.

I loved them all, big and small, candy-grabbing and thanking. There’s really nothing more purely childhood than Halloween trick-or-treating.

The boys returned to the house, stole some of the candy from my bowl, and went inside. They asked to watch scary movies (no) and eat candy (yes). I continued handing out candy and a feeling settled over me.

He may not want to dress up and traipse around the neighborhood with his brother next year. He might though. I’m not going to lead his decision either way. It’s his. Just like it was the younger kid’s decision to be Indiana Jones and the older kid’s to be some kind of Skull solider thing. I used to be able to dress them as I wanted for Halloween. Those days are over.

Halloween 2017

And it’s okay. They make good choices that fit them well. I wish them that in all aspects of their lives.