Trick or treating

On Saturday we took Namine trick or treating. She had a lot of fun!

Namine knew for sure that she wanted to be Elsa (from Frozen) for Halloween. She even has not one, but two different Elsa dresses (both are the ice dress, but that seems to be the more popular costume). But then somebody got her a whole bunch of Batman stuff, and then she wanted to be Batman. Then she decided to combine the best of both worlds: she was going to be Bat-Elsa.

It was only a couple days before we went trick or treating when Namine sprung it on us that she’d changed her mind again — now she wanted to be a ghost. Okay, but what happened to being Elsa? Or Batman? Or Bat-Elsa? I don’t know. My mom likes to say that it is a woman’s prerogative to change her mind.

We gave Namine the choice: drape a sheet of some kind over her head, or have me paint her face. She opted for the face painting (as I suspected she would). We did still get a pillowcase, cut some holes in it and fit it over her torso. A sheet, even one for child’s bed (if you could find one that was plain white, which we couldn’t), would have been too large. But a pillowcase for a body pillow was just the right length, still allowing it to dangle a bit as the ghost’s “tail.”

I already had some face paints (which I plan to use later this week, for my work’s Halloween dress-up day), so it was a simple matter to paint Namine’s face white. To add a splash of color, I painted around her lips red and around her eyes black. When she saw her reflection, she was thrilled.

Jessica and I both agree that we much prefer this kind of trick or treating to going door to door in a neighborhood. It was in the city, in the middle of the afternoon — and it just so happened that the weather was fantastic! — and we walked from store to store asking for candy. Every business that was participating in the trick or treat event had a bundle of orange and black balloons outside their entrances, and we never encountered an unenthusiastic candy-giver.

More than a few of the businesses had a step up into their stores, but I only had to pick Namine’s wheelchair up once. For the most part, people were more than willing to step outside their stores in order to accommodate her.

It’s not uncommon for people to stare at Namine when we’re out. I wish that weren’t so, but it is. It does not go past notice for her, either; she will sometimes turn to me and ask why kids keep staring at her. (It’s not even just kids, either. It’s adults, too. Haven’t we moved past this yet, as a society?)

But this time, the stares were expected — and not only that, but pleasing to Namine. She was, after all, a ghost. And I must have done my part well, because she received compliment after compliment on how ghostly she looked. This was a good attention, with the focus on her costume. It was a world of difference from the unsolicited stares (but never attempted conversations, which she and I would welcome) of children and adults alike.

Of all the times we said “trick or treat” that afternoon, only once did we hear an adult opt for the trick, instead of the treat. We were in a trick or treat line inside a bookstore, and ahead of us, the employee handing out candy said in response, “I’ll take the trick!”

The child who’d said “Trick or treat” was at a loss. It was not, after all, a serious question, and I doubt many children, especially young ones, truly understand the threat implied with the original phrase. It was just something you said on Halloween, because that’s what everybody said. There was simply no context.

The employee realized this and quickly gave the child some candy, and moved the line along.

The ghost in front of me turned her head and said, “Daddy.” I looked down and asked what’s up. “If he asks me for the trick, I’ll say BOO!” I smiled at her and said that was a great idea. Unfortunately, the employee never asked us for the trick. I think he didn’t want to embarrass any more children.

Well, he wouldn’t have embarrassed Namine. She’d have fully embraced her inner ghost and given him her heartiest “BOO!”