the Mammal Chronicles: November 2008

when it comes right down to it, ya lactate or ya don't.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Halloween Craziness

This was our daughter's first real halloween. Oh sure, year one we dressed her up as Maggie Simpson, but I can't say she was really into the experience. Year two, I got her fairy wings and a flower petal tutu, but she wouldn't wear it. This year however, she has been talking about dressing up as Lisa Simpson for weeks: "We go Halloween?" "We say Trick or Treat?" "I be Lisa Simpson?" Yes, yes, all in due time.

And finally it was. We decided to leave a note on our door for any early trick or treaters and take her out for a block or two together. I'd long heard of the crowds two blocks away on Jefferson, but had never seen it. Not many kids come by our quiet block. It's easy to see why they flock to Jefferson: It was like Disneyland. Lawns were decked out in orange twinkly lights, fog machines, headless horsemen, and tombstones. At one house, the entire front porch had been transformed into a fortune-teller's puppet stage; each time a kid walked up a puppet appeared and threw candy in the air as if from a Mardi Gras float.

Unfortunately I only lasted halfway down the block at which point I was so dazed by the display I walked right into my own dog's fresh pile of poop. I was feeling guilty anyway that we'd left our house unmanned, so I walked home. I had no reason to worry. It was quite a while before what few kids were venturing out our way came by. Still, the event had my brain working overtime:

I was torn between identities: should I give in to my folklorist's instinct to document this annual event/competition on Jefferson? Should I listen to my mother's instinct to want to hold my daughter's hand for as many years as possible, tagging along with her as she went trick or treating? Should I heed my own competitive/artistic desire to outdo them all? I had plenty of time to think.

In the end, I think I'll mostly hold my daughter's hand; childhood is more fleeting and precious than even the transience of festive events, and I'm too busy to really outdo anyone. Nonetheless, I did go to Target the next day and stock up on a few things at 50% off. Gotta keep up with the Boneses.