Trick or treat

Seeing as how another Halloween has given up the ghost, perhaps its time for some (ghost) stories it inspired.

The Ladybug takes her Halloween costumes seriously.   Last year she agonized for a month between being a Disney Princess or a Butterfly before eventually deciding on Tinker Bell.   This year, she’d made an early call to go as a Disney Princess, but spent most of October weighing their various advantages and disadvantages to determine the optimal princess, such as

  • Aurora — the Ladybug had the requisite pink dress and matching shoes, but Aurora was so seven months ago.   (It was the princess she went as at her birthday party.)
  • Ariel — the Ladybug is always ready to get a new Disney princess dress, but being crammed into a fish suit would therefore make it difficult to walk around and thereby hinder optimal trick-or-treat candy collection.
  • Mulan — is a Chinese princess.   “But I’m already Chinese,” the Ladybug pointed out, “so it’s not like I’m really putting on a costume.”

Just like last year, however, the decision was made when the Ladybug’s grandmother sent her a Halloween costume — this time a bright blue dress belonging to Cinderella.   And by bright, I mean electric: the gown had a number of blue and white fiber optic stands weaved into the dress, which meant that when a small button on the bodice was pressed, the entire gown lit up like a neon sign.   In addition, the shoes that came with the gown flashed bright blue whenever they made contact with the ground, which meant that the Ladybug looked less like animated royalty than an ambulatory rave.

I was less worried that a night-time driver would fail to see Ladybug in the dark than that they suffered a brief epileptic episode when they did.

It turns out that the electrical technicolor experience of her dress was furthered complemented by several blue glow-stick bracelets and necklaces that the Queen B had previously picked up from the store, the end result of which was that the Ladybug hit the streets looking like an extra from a Disney Princess / Tron crossover special.

The Ladybug and I had spent some time in the days before Halloween reminding her of the basic etiquette of pseudo-Satanic sweets solicitation, namely, that she was supposed to say “Trick or treat!” to initiate the transfer of candy, and then “Thank you!” or “Happy Halloween” upon its successful completion.

Of course, the Ladybug’s mind being as scatterbrained as it is meant that she completely blanked on these formalities for the first several houses.   A typical interaction at the first few doors would go along the lines of:

[ Door opens ]

Ladybug: Um… um… um…

Candy-giver: Oh, aren’t you adorable!

Ladybug: Um… um… um…

Candy-giver: Do you want some candy?

Ladybug: Um… um… um…

Candy-giver: Here you go!

[ Drops several candies in the Ladybug’s pumpkin ]

Ladybug: Um… um… um…

Candy-giver: Happy Halloween!

[ Door closes ]

Ladybug: Um… um… um… Trick-or-treat!

Which isn’t to say that the Ladybug didn’t get into the swing of things eventually, and was soon demanding her tricks or treats as authoritatively as an other three-year-old out there.   In fact, by the end of the night she was striking up conversations with the folks at the door, telling them about her favorite candies, the current contents of her candy pumpkin, and asking to turn their TV to the Disney Channel to see if Phineas and Ferb was on.   At one house, an elderly gentlemen came to the door and paused for a moment to size up the little girl in her flashing neon glory.

“My oh my,” he said as he dropped a Tootsie Roll in her bucket,   “you have to the absolute prettiest princess I’ve seen come by here all night.”

The Ladybug smiled at him.   “I know,” she said, and then happily skipped off to the next house.

My sister-in-law and her family live in Florida within a Catholic university community.   Consequently, each Halloween the children are officially forbade from wearing costumes that may be construed as satanic, suggestive, or of insufficient moral fiber… which essentially means anything fun.

As a result, at school the kids are only allowed to dress up as various Catholic patron saints.   (I’m not sure if they get to bring a dashboard to stand upon and bobble their heads, but I suspect no.)   However, at night, without the nuns to impose rigid order, several parents let their kids modify their saint costumes with a little modern flare here and there before going out trick-or-treating.

Or as my mother-in-law described it, “it was like trick-or-treating with   Saint Superman and Saint Spiderman and Reverend Mother Snow White.”

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