It Was a Dark and Stormy Night…

It was a dark and stormy night.

No, really. It was!

Halloween night turned out to be dark, rainy, windy and spooky. Just as it should be.

Grandma, a fellow Tolkien fan, came bearing green Frankenstein cupcakes as we were suiting up. She wanted to check out our pieced-together Lord of the Rings costumes (all thrift store finds) before we hit the road.

We had a hobbit (almost-3-year-old Jed), Lady Galadriel (5-year-old Adelaide), Arwen the elf princess (8-year-old Josie reminded us “I’m not the fancy one, I’m the one where she has a sword and she saves Frodo!”), and 9-year-old Sadie was a fairy. I know, I know, Lord of the Rings doesn’t have any fairies (that I know of, anyway), but hey, it kinda fit in with our theme.

(I’m hoping this isn’t the last year they’ll go along with my themes!)

My husband, aka Dad, was in the car first – Halloween has always been his favorite holiday, so he was ready to roll. Our first stop was at the library, where they had set up four little trick-or-treat stations throughout the building. In case you didn’t know, librarians love kids dressed as literary characters. The kids got candy, finger puppets, stickers, and creepy eyeball-shaped gum. “No thank you to that one!” Adelaide told the clown who was manning the eyeball-giving circulation desk.

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When we came out of the library, the rain was really coming down. Luckily, the kids all wore rain boots that sort of blended in with their costumes – and Jed brought along a floppy felt hat that looked sort of “hobbity.” My husband brought the car around and we buckled up (which is hard to do when you have on wings, a long blond wig, a long sword, and/or a hobbit hat) and set off for Grammie’s and Grampie’s house.

Judging from the weather situation, we thought that their house might be the only place we went to trick or treat, since all the other houses might be closed for business. But we were surprised to see that this particular neighborhood was creepy, foggy, Halloween Central.

There were kids in costumes everywhere, braving the fat raindrops that splashed us as we jumped in and out of the car. It was wet and muddy, but at least it wasn’t super cold.

The wind blew the smoke from the smoke machines across the slick black road. The flashing orange and purple lights strung throughout the trees reflected in the puddles on the sidewalks. It was creepy. And dark. It made me want to be a costume-wearing, loot-collecting kid again.

It was fun to watch our kids running, one after the other, with the girls in age order and their little brother always a few steps behind. “Hey! Guys! Wait for me!” The girls would remember to help him up and down porch steps whenever he held out his little hand to them.

We all liked looking for the cool designs people carved into their pumpkins. Sadie and I especially liked one jack-o-lantern that had the shape of a kid’s hands carved next to a heart for the light to shine through.

At one house, they had really outdone themselves. There were skulls, witches, giant spiderwebs, cauldrons, a zombie, freaky Halloween music, a live scarecrow, and a VERY creepy guy in a grotesque mask standing very still in the trees right next to the sidewalk.

Sadie, Josie, and Jed marched right up past the freakiness to the lady/witch of the house and said “Trick or treat!” “Tick or tweet!” and “Happy Halloween!” But Adelaide froze at the side of the driveway, with a deer-in-the-headlights look. She refused to budge and then started to cry. “Don’t worry Adelaide,” said Josie. “I’ll get some candy for you!” She asked the lady, “Um, excuse me… Could I get some candy for my scared sister? That’s her crying over there.”

Jed, who started out looking like a mini-hobbit, had gotten thoroughly damp from splashing in every puddle he could find. This caused somewhat of a metamorphosis involving his hat and his cloak. With his squished little hobbit hat, he looked more like the outlaw Josey Wales than Frodo. But he was still offended when a man giving out Kit-Kats said, “Hey, now, look at the little cowboy!”

Jed ceased putting his candy into his bag and looked up at the man and said, very slowly:

“I. a. HOBBIT.”

Once back inside the warm, dry car, we headed for home. “Wow! I didn’t think we’d get anything and we got a LOT!” said Sadie. “I can’t wait to get home and get this sorted out!”

Sure enough, once we got home and everyone had changed into dry clothes, piles of candy materialized from various pillow cases and the sorting and stacking began. Dad and I exacted our “candy tax” in the form of some Snickers and an Oh Henry! and enjoyed watching the rest of the bargaining and exchanging.

“Who has gummies? I’ll trade you these M&Ms for those Starburst! Like it. Don’t like it. Like it. Ew, what’s a Heath?”

Then I heard Adelaide ask, “Hey, what would you trade me for?”

Her dad, basking on the couch in his post-Halloween-with-little-kids glory, said through a mouthful of Swedish Fish:

“Oh, I wouldn’t trade you guys for anything.”

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