Readying for Halloween


“Mama look! Blippi Glasses!” He slides the orange frames onto his face, “Hi! I Blippi!”

I giggle at his enthusiasm. His Halloween costume arrived yesterday, and though we’re still a ways out from Trick-or-Treat, he hasn’t been able to stop wearing his costume.

“Hi Blippi!” I say, playing along, “Are you going to play on an excavator?”

He pulls the glasses off and smiles. “Hi! Now I Okkar!”

“Oh, Hi Oscar! Did you know Blippi was just here?” We’ve been playing this game a lot, and I love watching him try on new identities as he plays dress-up.

“Yeah!” somehow he turns this into a two-syllable word.

“Hey! Mama!” He runs to the library book box. “Want read book a-me?”

“Sure!” He runs to me carrying a book with jack-o’lanterns on the cover and climbs onto the couch.

“It Halloween book! We do Halloween? We go trick-or-treat? HEY! We have pumpkins!” He pauses to draw a breath and I laugh again. Halloween is a big deal when you’re two-and-a-half.

“We do bud! Should we paint them?”

“Later. Let’s read.” He’s solemn and he reaches to open the book sitting before us.

“Okay!” The dust jacket crackles. “This book is called Halloween Eye, what do you think it’s about?”

“Ummm. Pumpkins. Halloween. Trick-or-Treat.” He curls into my lap and I begin to read a sweet rhyme about Halloween and costumes, witches and wizards, trick-or-treat and monster feet.

We pause each page to look at the dark blue, black, and golden illustrations. I can almost feel the cool autumn air, though it hasn’t been much like autumn in my part of Texas. Not for long, at least.

“Look mama! Pumpkins! They smile?” He points to the page we turn to with orange smiling jack o’lanterns grinning at us.

“They do! Do we have pumpkins like that?” We do, and they’re sitting on our porch, waiting for the sun to go down so we can turn on their lights.

“Yeah. They’re not scary.” He shakes his head.

“They’re not.” We go back to the book and clap its rhythm together until we finish the tale. The plastic wrapping on the book crackles as the cover closes with a quiet thump. Before I can ask about another book, Oscar is off and digging in the toy box, talking about costumes and the upcoming fall holiday.

I pause and think about what it was like to trick-or-treat as a child back east, surrounded by trees brightly colored in reds, oranges, and golden yellows. The air smelled like dry leaves and frost and the ground crackled and swooshed beneath our feet as we went door-to-door clad in our costumes. One year I went as a bunch of grapes in a purple sweatsuit covered in balloons, my hair sprayed green. Another I was the night sky, clad all in black and covered in silver star stickers. I hoped for my pillowcase of candy to be laden with more chocolate than not, and tried so very hard to ration the chocolate. I rarely succeeded.

Halloween was mysterious and fun, a night to be as you’re not, and I’m excited to see my son enjoy the idea of dressing as something else for just a few hours one night and go door-to-door for candy. His favorite right now is lollipops, closely followed by chocolate bars, and I selfishly hope that he doesn’t find the stash of candy I’ve begun to gather for the wall of trick-or-treaters that will venture down our street on Halloween night.

“Mama!” Oscar runs to me, “Let’s play with the pumpkins! Let make smile pumpkins!”

He runs to the entryway, where our carving pumpkins are waiting for a coat of paint before they join the plastic decor already on the porch.

I smile. “Sure buddy. Want to paint them?”

“Yeah! Make them look like in the book?”

“Of course!”

As I pull out the paint and lay down paper, I can’t help but think how for him, the magic of Halloween is only just beginning.