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A Very Hula Bambino Halloween

Beatrix kept calling her halo a hula. She complained about her falling hula. Her hula wouldn’t stay on! Her hula was grabbing her hair. What is a hula, anyway? Why do angels have hulas?

Archie kept calling his bandana a bambino. Tie my bambino! What is a bambino? Did cowboys really wear bambinos?

These sweet moments of persistent misunderstanding made me smile. They were welcome reminders that as my older kids are leaving trick-or-treating behind, I still have a troop of little ones who are eager to offer their little chins up to an old mascara wand. I painted beards and mustaches on my little boys’ faces. I stuffed Ollie into the same duck costume Tommy, Joel, Beatrix, Archie, and Teddy wore. All the big brothers and sisters cooed over him. They were once that small, too.

Beatrix is at the height of her princess-dressy-twirling glory. She adored being an angel and it fit her as she’s inherently a sweetie pie. But in the photos, she was worried about dog poo she saw in the yard and I couldn’t get her to smile. She was convinced she’d step in it, so all her photos came out looking rather solemn.

I made Joel’s Toad costume out of a Hobby Lobby t-shirt, another shirt from Goodwill, and a chef’s hat. He was skeptical and sure nobody would know who he was, but they did. At the high school trick-or-treat street we invaded, he got many shout-outs. He was relieved and so was I.

Aidan helped at the high school’s trick-or-treat street, which was held on October 30th. She came up with her Girl Mario costume at the last minute, literally. Five minutes before we left, she was raging around, decrying her lack of planning and then inspiration struck. She looked adorable, although later, at school she removed the mustache because it kept sneaking up her nose.

Ryley and Sam, my teenaged dudes, weren’t interested in trick-or-treating at all. Ryley helped at the high school as well, but his idea of looking festive was wearing an orange t-shirt. On Halloween night, he opted to stay home with Aidan and hand out candy. Sam said he had too much homework, so go without him. There wasn’t a hint of sadness.

Once upon a time, the guy with all the homework dressed as Luke Skywalker. He rang the doorbell on the first house we visited that year, said “trick-or-treat” and watched as the lady of the house dropped candy in his bag. He said, “But, do you have any doughnuts?”

Now Archie has taken over that role. At more than one house, he said, “They gave me PEANUTS!” as he walked away from the door. I guess we forgot the lecture about being candy critics. Everyone knows that’s supposed to wait until you’re home and you’ve dumped your haul on the kitchen table. That’s the proper time to try to trade away Werther’s Original.

Halloween 2013 was a mix. I was caught up in the joy, cuteness, and bewilderment of my little ones. It was Teddy’s first trick-or-treating experience and I think he believed it was all a glorious, odd dream. I had to contend with skeptical, emotional tweens. And then I had to navigate allowing my teens to celebrate however they wanted. To them, that meant helping others and maybe not being with us. I don’t think we’ll ever go out on Halloween night as one big family ever again. It’s bittersweet.


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