Inside a mother’s trick-or-treat bag


It may have taken a few tricks to get our boys excited about the hand-me-down costumes we had hanging in the closet, but it was worth it.

Our sons were legitimately excited about dressing up—Leo as a ghost and Daniel as a “spooky beaver.” And I was so happy that we didn’t spend time and money on costumes they rejected later for a better idea.

Naturally, Leo was still coming up with ideas for his costume the day before Halloween—in the post-superstorm aftermath when I’m not even sure our local stores were open. But I was able to remind him that he wanted to be a ghost—and he remembered that he did.

The boys’ plastic pumpkins are stuffed with candy they collected on their trick-or-treat run.

But if you peeked inside my trick-or-treat bag, you’d find plenty of treats. And I’ll remember mine long after the boys’ Nerds and Kit-Kats are gone.

1. Waiting until the night before Halloween to tell the boys that Halloween would be the next day. During the storm, we weren’t sure trick-or-treating would happen this year, so we didn’t mention it. When I finally told them, Leo said, “You mean it will be the real Halloween tomorrow, Mama?” It was almost too good to be true.

2. Seeing our boys in their costumes. They were just beaming. It was Leo’s third Halloween and Daniel’s second, so they felt like professional trick-or-treaters. We even had trial runs the night before so we could practice their lines. But even though it wasn’t the first time, it was still magical.

3. Hearing them say “trick or treat” and “thank you” without prompting. They didn’t always remember, but who wouldn’t be thrown off by a green plastic hand rising out of a candy bowl? And I can’t think of anything cuter than hearing a spooky beaver say “trick or treat” or an almost-5-year-old ghost say, “Happy Halloween!”

4. Spooking the neighbors. At one house, an older couple was waiting to greet the boys. We didn’t know them, but Leo liked them instantly and walked up waving his arms and making eerie ghost noises. The woman laughed and gave Leo some eerie noises right back.

5. Having dinner with family. We like to trick or treat in my parents’ neighborhood so Grandma and Grandpa can see the boys’ costumes. This year my youngest sister—who is about to get married—was there too, and it was especially fun for the boys to have their aunt there so they could show her their costumes and she could pretend to be scared. And we got some real food into the boys before the trick-or-treating began.

6. Feeling scared and brave together. Some houses the boys would deem “too spooky,” or afterward Leo would say, “I knew that was a haunted house.” But you could tell they were feeling brave just to be out trick-or-treating at night.

7. Discovering that Daniel thought trick-or-treating is “neat.” I didn’t even know he knew that word. But he was right.

8. Hearing Leo say, “This was the best Halloween ever.” And it was. Except so was last year’s. And the one the year before that. But I love his abundant joy.

9. Finding out—on our drive home after trick-or-treating—Leo’s plan for his next costume. “I’m going to be a vampire, Mama. I’m going to wear a purple and green shirt and have thick black eyebrows and black hair and a skeleton tie.”

10. Knowing Halloween 2013 is 364 days away. And that Leo has black eyebrows and black hair, so we’re off to a good start. Of course, I will be rooting for a hand-me-down costume—and preferably not a vampire. Or maybe a vampire beaver?

Catholic Review

The Catholic Review is the official publication of the Archdiocese of Baltimore.