They continued the next morning, when most of the monsters were still snug in their beds, in between dribbling bites of Trix cereal.
“Can I have a piece of candy?” Jellybean asked with the kind of grin that signaled she knew the answer but figured her cuteness just might win out. “P-L-EEEEEEEEEASE?”
This was Jellybean’s first official Halloween. She’d made out like a fiend.
In years past, we’d let her dress up and dance around the house, squeal at all the creepy things I’d hung up and watch a few episodes of “Buffy the Vampire Slayer.” Meanwhile, we’d turn out the lights and hide from the trick-or-treaters stalking our neighborhood.
Jellybean didn’t know Halloween had anything to do with candy. She thought it was the one night of the year when grown-ups hid from the dreaded Doorbell Monster.
Don’t get me wrong. Halloween is by far my favorite holiday. It should be celebrated all month long — like Hanukkah — plus it’s easier to spell, plus it’s the only time of year when we tell kids that it’s OK to take candy from strangers. But Halloween also makes adults lose their minds in ways that have nothing to do with dressing up like a Naughty Nurse or a Knocked-up Nun.
Until now, we’ve said “no thank you” to lugging a toddler through dark streets (no matter how cute she may look dressed up like a pirate, a Tootsie Roll or even Scooby-Doo), while fighting crowds of crazies (Dude, could you please put away your iPhone and stub out your Marlboro long enough to make sure your Teeny-Weeny Tinkerbell doesn’t get squished by the minivan of too-old-for-trick-or-treating teenagers all hopped up on Milk Duds and Red Bull?).
But this year, we figured Jellybean was old enough to fend for herself. It was totally worth it.
She was a Vampire Princess … in tap shoes. Needless to say, they saw us coming.
Fortunately, the tap shoes were eventually abandoned for a more sensible pair of black Nikes, but the effect was just the same … utterly precious. The only way I could have been more proud was if she’d taken my suggestion and had her face painted like any Dynasty-era KISS member.
My baby girl owned that neighborhood. While the other kids were all rude and snatching, Jellybean gave a verbal courtesy when she said, “Trick or treat,” just above a whisper. She always said, “Thank you.” Her manners were rewarded with only top-shelf candy: Sweet-Tarts, Snickers, Kit-Kat, Nerds, Starburst and Milky Way. There wasn’t a single box of raisins, a pencil and eraser, can of clam chowder or the nastiest candy ever invented — Circus Peanuts, which look like something kids would get if they went trick-or-treating in Chernobyl.
The streets were packed. I’ve seen more order and calm during the final chase scene of “Texas Chainsaw Massacre,” but Jellybean weaved through it all like a pro. To cap the night off, she got to go for a second lap with her big sister.
For Jellybean, that was better than all the M&M’s in the world.
Contact Brett Buckner at firstname.lastname@example.org.