Sweet Boy declared about a month ago that he was not going to do Halloween this year. Hmph, thought we, his perplexed parents. No dress-up? No trick-or-treat? No parade and party at school? Nope, nope, and nope.
For about two weeks we tried to talk him into it -- brainstorming costume ideas (SpongeBob, Peter Pan, Superman, robot, ghost, puppy, anything!), discussing favorite candies, talking about the difference between make-believe and real. Nope. He didn't want to do it. And there's something I'm learning about my son: When he sets his mind to something, that's it.
So we finally let it go. We told him he didn't have to do Halloween, but ew made it clear he couldn't decide at the last minute that he wanted a costume and send us scrambling. We made sure he understood he would miss out on the preschool parade and party, and he wouldn't get any candy from trick-or-treating. That's ok, Mom and Dad, I don't like Halloween. Hmph, again said we.
I was nervous about it all month, of course: worried that he'd be picked on at school, or he'd be disappointed when trick-or-treat time came---or worse, that he'd feel pressured by the world around him to do something he really didn't want to do. But we did a few Halloweenish things together, to show him that it doesn't have to be all about creepy animatronic witches and gory face paint.
We picked pumpkins and carved them into the faces Sweet Boy drew; he helped me pick out the candy we'd give out to trick-or-treaters; he sang all the Halloween songs he learned at school. When Halloween morning arrived, and I woke him up with a "Boo!" my silly little boy smiled enormously and said, "Why didn't you tell me it's Halloween today?!" He scrambled out of bed to put on his new Darth Vader winter hat, picked out a black t-shirt and sweat pants, said "What kind of shoes does Darth Hayden wear?" as he put on his sneakers, and grabbed his toy Lightsaber. Darth Hayden partied all day in his own Halloweenie way, looking more like a rapper than an ubervillain, but he wore a smile on his face the entire time.
When trick-or-treat came around, it was drizzling, then pouring (and I was thanking my lucky stars to have the only kid on the planet who didn't want to troll for candy this year). We three sat in the driveway with our candlelit jack-o-lanterns and our bowl full of goodies, and Sweet Boy put candy in every child's bag. He sprinkled them with "Ooh, I like your costume!" and "Are you Batman? I love Batman!" and "Look, Daddy, it's Yoda!" He didn't flinch when the grizzly zombie masked boy arrived (Mommy averted her eyes), and he didn't seem to even notice the horrible sound effects coming from the haunted house on the corner. As the rain came down harder, he happily ate his special swirly lollipop in the tailgate of Daddy's car, and when the last trick-or-treater had come and gone, we snuggled into bed to read a book as usual. He looked up at me with those wide hazel eyes and said, "Mom, I had a really fun time today."
And there you have it: Once again I worried too much for no reason. Once again I have seen that when my kid makes up his mind, that's it. (By the way, I am proud that he stuck to his guns on this Halloween issue.) And once again I learned from him that sometimes the best holidays are the ones you do differently.