We usually lay pretty low on Halloween day. The evening festivities are exciting enough, and so keep the stimuli to a minumum until it gets dark enough to go trick-or-treating. We generally skip any parties leading up to Halloween too, mostly because of the candy involved, and how most of it turns Esmé into something we’d all rather avoid, including her. Plus, Halloween itself is Big Deal enough.
We had a spooky candle-lit breakfast, with ghost milk, jack-o-lantern oranges and clown wigs. I worked in my office while Jack took the kids and Charlie to the beach. We watched a few Halloween shows on Netflix. We had an early supper, and then — after much anticipation — it was finally time for the kids to get into their costumes.
Esmé was a vampire bat. Hawk was a lemur. Esmé made a map of the route she wanted to take through the neighbourhood, and then we set out, with plans for me to hang back with Hawk if he started lagging. He didn’t really. He was so excited to go up to each door alongside Esmé and say, “Trick or treat” that he lasted a lot longer than I thought he would.
They each only had a couple of pieces of chocolate while we were out, thanks to the precedent we set with Esme’s first Halloween, of trading her candy in for a new toy. By the time we got home, both kids were exhausted. We told Esmé we’d set aside a few treats that she could have, and put the rest in a bag to trade in for something at Dilly Dally. They had a quick bath and went to bed. Nicely done. No drama. Mellow, for the most part.
The next day we took the rest (LOADS) to Dilly Dally, where Esmé wandered around, deciding what to buy. She’s not much into toys, but eventually (and not surprisingly) chose a human body model and body science book. Hawk chose a backhoe, but it broke when we left the store. He was so disappointed when we returned it that he wanted to choose something else entirely. He decided on a family of little bunnies.
Out of the candy we kept for Esmé, one of the bags of jubjube said “made from fruit juice” and didn’t have the ingredients listed. It was from a company which I figured would be okay. Mostly we kept the clearly organic, no-colour stuff with the ingredients listed (thanks to the neighbours who hand out good stuff!), but this package slipped through. Esmé ate it, and then started literally bouncing off the walls, to the point where she ended up with a black eye and a fat lip. When I looked up the candy, sure enough, it was made with fruit juice. AND artificial colour. Dang. (She told Jack all about her ‘owees’ in a note.)
Halloween is one of Esmé’s favourite holidays, second only to Christmas. Thankfully, she’s more excited about the costumes and the pumpkins and trick-or-treating in the dark than she is about the candy, and is quite happy with our family tradition of trading the candy in for a new toy.
This was Hawk’s first year that he was really into it. And he was REALLY into it. I think he liked being out after dark most of all. And shyly, but proudly, saying “trick-or-treat” at all his neighbours’ houses.
Extreme cuteness warning: When Hawk brought home his family of bunnies, he set aside the little carriage that came with it and asked me to make the baby bunny go “up-up.” So we made him a carrier for his mama bunny! Awwwww.