The days grow shorter and colder and all of a sudden pumpkins and ghouls pop up everywhere. People start to ask each other what they want to be for Halloween and start storing up bright bags filled with fun size candy bars. You and I know what it’s all about, we’ve done Halloween a few, OK fine, many times. But for toddlers who are already constantly trying to make heads or tails of the madness that is the grown-up world, Halloween is just a little more craziness that just makes no sense.
364 days a year they aren’t allowed to talk to strangers, but one night a year they get to speak to every grown-up they meet. Every other day they are absolutely not allowed to take candy from strangers, but one night a year they not only get to take candy, but they’re supposed to ask for it. And even stranger, one night a year, instead of getting tucked up safe and sound in their snug little beds, we dress them up in itchy uncomfortable costumes and we parade them out in the streets past their bed times to go collect candy that they probably won’t get to eat anyway.
I learned my lesson two years ago. Halloween is not fun for a toddler who craves order and normalcy. We took C out trick-or-treating because we thought it would be fun and we paid the price for days. She refused to go to sleep on her own and had horrible nightmares that woke her up at all times of the night. The following year we were much more cautious and this year, even though all she talks about is dressing up and going out to trick-or-treat, we’re still going to be careful.
Little L is at the same age as C was when she had her terrible reaction, and frankly, I think C is all talk. When push comes to shove, or rather trick comes to treat, I don’t think she’s going to be as brave as she thinks and I don’t think I can relive the post-Halloween nightmare week. So we’re going to dress up our little chicken and tiny clown and before dark we’re going to go knock on a couple neighbor’s doors, then we’ll come home and wait for the ghouls, cats, witches, transformers, and all other little changelings to come out of the dark to ring the bell and sing out TRICK-OR-TREAT as they wait with eager faces for us to fill their smiling pumpkin buckets. After that, hopefully the world will change back to normal, or what passes for normal to a toddler at least.