I suppose if I asked Madison “Which do you like better? Halloween or Christmas?” she would reply “I like Halloween and Christmas!” She does this from time to time whenever I ask her opinion on something but she misconstrues my intent. I think she thinks that I am making her chose and that her choice will be binding. I once asked her “What do you like more? Grilled cheese sandwich or Grandpa’s beard?” “What?” she said. Atta girl.
I got caught in that snarling traffic on my way home yesterday. Based on the posts I read on Facebook – which raged from “mildly annoyed” to “apoplectic” – many of my friends and family members got stuck in it, too. It took me a solid two hours to get home yesterday, including an incredible half-an-hour to get from the airport to Radford. When I crept up the stairway into my living room, Abby was waiting for me. Lynnette and Madison were already eating dinner. Madison was already in her costume.
We left the house as darkness overtook the sky. Coincidentally, our doorbell rang as soon as we got to the bottom of the stairs. We passed out Halloween tattoos – yeah, we’re that family – and headed out for our own candy-grabbing adventure.
As you already know, the epic saga of Madison’s Costume 2012 culminated in a fourth and final costume – the one that wasn’t returned. The entire ordeal stretched out longer and less comfortably than the last twenty minutes of Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King. Mad added two accessories to her outfit, her necklace with a little vial of fairy dust and a glow-in-the-dark wand.
I don’t know if glow-in-the dark wands have some kind of “use by” date, but we did pick it up some time ago. When we opened the package and snapped the internal capsule, nothing happened. I took it from Madison and went centimeter by centimeter attempting to find some hidden, unbroken capsule that would light it up. I shook the holy hell out of it. Nothing. I felt so bad for Madison. She was a great sport, though. And it did lead to the exchange of the night:
Phil: I’m so sorry, Mad. I guess it’s just old.
Madison: That’s okay, I can still work it, dad.
Phil: Just like your mom (winks at Lynnette)
Two years ago, our little subdivision was bumping on Halloween. It’s been dead this year and the last because everyone takes their kids up the road to the houses in the adjacent neighborhood. The cul-de-sacs and larger areas allow for what appeared to be Halloween block parties. I suppose because many people in Mauka are affluent, they go all out. Many of the houses in the area had yard decorations, lights, pumpkins, etc. that looked more like Christmas than anything else. Madison loved it. She wanted to take pictures will all of the cool exhibits like this one.
There were young parents pulling their young children around in wagons, dads pulling coolers around while violating Hawaii’s open beverage container laws. It was pretty awesome. Teenagers in the area led to a philosophical debate between Lynnette and I regarding the age limit for trick-or-treating. Lynnette’s belief was that if you’re in high school, you’re too old to trick-or-treat. I wasn’t quite that extreme. I subscribe to the school of thought that says if you’re a high school student, you’ve got to put a little something extra into your costume. Don’t come to my house in a t-shirt and shorts carrying a Nerf baseball bat. I will only begrudgingly give you candy. Do a little something. Cardboard, make up – just a genuine costume. Impress me, you know?
On Tuesday I asked Madison “Are you excited for Halloween next week?” “HALLOWEEN IS TOMORROW, DAD!” she shouted. “Whaaaaaat?!” I said, with false shock. “I thought it was next Wednesday!” I continued. “No! Halloween is tomorrow and we’re going trick-or-treating!” she said. And I promised I would play with her emotions less. It’s a work in progress.
She was so pumped up by the time we hit the sidewalks that she’d scurry to the door to get candy, briskly walk back to us, then point at the next house and say “Let’s go there!” She did this for the first six houses or so before I stopped her dead in her tracks. “Mad. Calm. Down. We’re going to go to all the houses. Don’t worry,” “Okay, okay, okay…” she said.
I brought along a backpack so she could dump her candy into it whenever her beloved Disney Princess bag became too heavy. The first time we poured her treasure into my backpack she was edgy, perhaps thinking that we would go home. “We can still go trick-or-treating, right?” she asked as Lynnette emptied out her bag into mine.” “Yes, Mad,” I said. “We don’t have to go home yet,” she said. “No, Mad, we’re not going home yet,” I said.
Halloween during the work week sucks. It makes it difficult to prepare for and recover from. Halloween will fall on a Friday in 2014. Madison will be 6-years old and who knows what she’ll be into. My hope? Leia. Then I can be Anakin and Lynnette can be Amidala. We have two years, Lynnette. That’s enough time for me to grow out my hair and for you to… turn into Natalie Portman. Let’s do this!