Sunday, November 01, 2009

Everyone Thought He Was a Farmer,
Which Is Probably Just as Well

This year the kiddo went as Huckleberry Finn to his school's fall festival, then on to trick-or-treating at the mall. I don't think he's ever trick-or-treated in a regular neighborhood, except when he was a baby and I carried him up and down my parents' street. These days we happen to live on a street that's mostly condos and apartments and a field and a lake, so it just makes things easier to go to the mall for Halloween.

When I picked up the kiddo from his dad's house yesterday, he'd had only a sweet roll and crackers-and-milk (a tradition passed down from his paternal grandmother, who mashed the crackers into the milk and ate the concoction with a spoon), so he was a little underfortified for a day of running around and candy acquisition. Also, he was a tad cranky. We stopped at home to Huck Finn the kid up, then headed for the school. I'd signed up to work at the balloon dart booth for an hour, so the kiddo came along to help.

He wasn't that thrilled with being told what to do (imagine that!), so I was relieved to see his dad show up for a bit to take the kiddo around and play games. They ate a little food while they were away from the booth, so the kiddo eventually returned to me in a better mood. I however, hadn't eaten anything yet for the day and it was already 1:30 in the afternoon, so I was wilting. However, when I opened my checkbook to buy tickets for food, I discovered I was out of checks. We dashed home for checks, returned to the school so I could scarf down a hot dog and chips, played a couple of games, then returned to work at the dart booth for a while. In the meantime, the kiddo was begging me to go into the haunted house with him.

He'd been in the haunted house last year with his dad and had a great time, but haunted houses aren't really my thing, so I encouraged the kiddo to find a buddy to go with. The few kids he asked didn't want to go, so I finally agreed to go with him. The haunted house was basically one of the mobile classrooms all decked out with black plastic draping on the outside and who-knows-what on the inside. The dad in charge was letting in groups of four, so when it was our turn, the kiddo made me promise to hold his hand. Good thing.

As we entered, we were met with a rapid strobe light, more black plastic draping and plenty of skulls painted with glow-in-the-dark paint. Then everything went to hell when a little girl dressed as a corpse (she was part of the haunted house) screamed at the top of her lungs and other people dressed as monsters walked slowly toward us. The kiddo started panicking and saying he wanted to get out, and I couldn't find our way out. Seriously, he was hyperventilating and yelling, "Help me, Mommy! Help me, Mommy!" After a couple of seconds, a monster told us to go around the corner, and we were out.

After we were safely out the door, the kiddo told me he was going to wait until we were away from the haunted house and the crowd of waiting kids so he could cry. And cry he did, poor thing. I just hugged him, had him drink some water, and decided to move on to the mall for tick-or-treating. On our way to the car, we ran into a couple of boys the kiddo knows, and he asked them if they'd gone in the haunted house. "Yeah," they said, looking at us sideways, "it wasn't very scary." The kiddo agreed.

When we were safely out of earshot, the kiddo laughed nervously and took my hand again. "Okay, I lied."