Smelly Socks: Halloween: Trick and treat

Charlie and Adam all dressed up as knights.



City Life

I've never been a big fan of Halloween. So of course it is fitting that my children absolutely love it. And every year the countdown to Halloween begins earlier and earlier.

First it is the costumes. Some years it is a clear winner, others not so much. The year after both of my boys turned 1, they were pumpkins - or as I like to call it "plumpkins" a roly poly orange piece of felt with cutouts for their legs that resembled a pumpkin but that require stuffing of one Sunday newspaper to fill them out.

It was a hand-me-down from Aunt Sabrina, who's own two children, Jack and Grace, also wore "the plumpkin." The second year of Adam's life he went as a Landscaper. I made a sandwich board sign that said "Adam's Landscaping" and he dressed up in a one piece jumpsuit and brought his beloved lawnmower with him out for trick or treating. Everyone loved the "original" (read: cheap and homemade) costume.

When Adam was 3, it was difficult one for figuring out a costume. I had just given birth to Charlie and had been in the hospital for quite a while, so we had to improvise. He was a fireman that year - he already had the yellow rain jacket, yellow rain boots and a red fireman hat he kept from a fire station tour that we took earlier that year.

Year 4 of Adam's life, we couldn't decide what he would be, so at the last minute we decided on drumroll ... the fireman again. But this time it was Charlie's turn to be "the plumpkin." It was a year of recycling, what can I say? Year 5 of Adam's life and year 2 of Charlie's, the boys were full on into the cowboy idea. We already had the checkered shirts, the cowboy hats (thank you Johanna's mom) the cowboy boots and jeans. Holsters and orange guns completed the look.

This year, however, was quite the dilemma. Charlie had no idea what he wanted to be. When asked, he'd shrug his shoulders and defer to Adam. Adam kept trying to decide between a pirate, a ninja or a knight. Either way, I'd get stuck actually having to buy a costume. Something I've never done before.

Finally two weeks before Halloween, he decided he wanted to be a knight. So I went online and ordered two different knight costumes. One for Charlie and one for Adam. I won't even start on the battle that ensued when one came with a sword and a crown and the other didn't.

Second, it's the battle for decorations. My idea for decorating for Halloween is putting out candy for the trick or treaters and changing our doorbell to that of a woman screaming. But Adam and Charlie's idea is a graveyard in the front yard, ghosts flitting around on string from the front tree to the front door and a decapitated hulk of a man stuffed with newspaper and straw sitting on a lawn chair on my front lawn.

The day of Halloween finally arrives. It's supposed to be a high of 40 degrees. I told the boys we'd go to a few houses, since we'd been battling bronchitis/flu with Adam since the Friday before. He hadn't been to school in four days.

He's been on an antibiotic since two days before Halloween, yet he whines when I tell him he has to wear a jacket. "But they won't see my costume!" he cries. "Do you think the people giving out candy are really going to be concerned that they can't see your costume?" I ask. Shoulders shrug.

So Halloween came and went and they got some good candy. Not as much as last year, but enough to satiate them.

When we get home after they've laid out their loot, Adam asks, "How come we don't decorate for Halloween?" Oh no, not this question. But I know as the years go on, I'll probably have to "decorate" a little bit. I don't go for the blood and gore of Halloween decorating, but a nice black cat stake in the grass along with some floating ghost around the front door entrance might not be so bad. So where was I the next day?

At Party City with the rest of the Halloween revelers getting what's left of the Halloween decorations at 75 percent off to decorate for next year. Why? To make my boys happy.

Anita lives in Chicagoland with her husband, two boys and two dogs one of which is a girl. Email Johanna Bloom or Anita Spisak at smellysocks@vicad.com.