Monday, November 2, 2009


Halloween began with Primo up at 5:45 am, and by “up” I mean bouncing off the walls and raring to go.

“Let’s go trick of treating RIGHT NOW!!!!” he shouted.

I took two Tylenol and put on the television.

By 10:30am we were all in costume, in agreement with Primo’s Grand Plan of Halloween 2009

Primo – Count Dracula in black velveteen cape, burgundy vest, purple medallion, vampire wig and several variety of fangs. This is the first year he got a store-bought costume and I have to say, I think we could have bought four costumes for the price of this get-up.

Daddy – Frankenstein, with green stitches that Primo drew on his cheeks with my eyeliner (the could could work at a makeup counter) and bolts applied to his neck with Bandaids

Mommy – Bride of Frankenstein, with a show-stopping wig and bridal gown made from one old white sheet and three dozen safety pins (Project Runway, here I come!)

Seconda – Max, from Where the Wild Things Are. Primo’s original plan had her as a werewolf, which she was jazzed for, but when we couldn’t find faux fur and my grandmother unearthed Primo’s old Max costume, we shuffled things around a bit and went from werewolf to boy in a wolf suit. Timed rather well with the recent release of the film, no? Besides, I’ve never seen any child in a costume that better suited their personality. My daughter should always wear the wolf suit. Every time we turned around, she had peeled off the hood part, taken off her shoes and socks and was getting into some new naughtiness with a huge, impish grin on her face.

It took us approximately four hours to get into costume but the great thing about waking up before 6am is even when it takes four hours to get into costume you are still fully by 10am when all other normal people are just squinting their eyes open on Saturday morning.

Once costumed, we walked over to Boo at the Zoo. Or should I say, began the un-ending trek which left me feeling like we were in some weird Halloween-version of Grapes of Wrath. Turns out the zoo, which was a do-able, if tiring, walk from our old apartment in North Slope is now impossibly far away. So far away that no matter how long we walked, we never got appreciably closer. It was like being on a tread mill -- with a five year old riding piggyback. But we Joads weren’t going to give up – couldn’t really, since we were meeting friends there -- so we just slung the tired children over our bodies, shedding wigs and extraneous costume parts as we went along. And by noon we had made it to the zoo.

The zoo was about as much fun as it can be to a grown-up whose been there four zillion times this year. Haunted barn was a high point. Kids loved the spooky carousel although the combination of hearing “WHO YOU GONNA CALL? GHOSTBUSTERS!!!!” on repeat play at excruciating decibel levels while being whipped around in circles made me dangerously close to upchucking.

By 3:30pm, we were home – just in time to start Halloween for real.

Thought I felt like the only candy that could help me was the variety celebs put into their nose, I rallied and we all went bravely into that good night of trick-or-treating.

And a good night it was, indeed. Primo ran from stoop to stoop, shouting over his shoulder to me, ‘I ASKED THEM FOR CANDY AND IT REALLY WORKED!!!! THEY GAVE IT TO ME!!!!” with so much wonder and marvel that I couldn’t help but smile, old Halloween-Scrooge that I am. Seconda didn’t waste time saying anything, she just ripped open candy packages as fast as she could, cramming the chocolate into her mouth.

The parade was amazing, with bagpipes and huge, towering puppets and an amazing stroller decked out like R2D2 and a girl dressed as a toilet bowl and all sorts of cleverness. Then Primo said, “Can we be in the parade, too?” so we all jumped into the stream of people walking and waved to the crowd.

By 8:30, the children had retired their still-bulging candy bags and were slumbering soundly. Running around begging strangers for candy tires a person out, it would appear.

Halloween highlights, readers? Great costumes? Moments to remember?