“Is Cole too old to trick or treat now?”
Mama’s question came out of the blue and kind of knocked the wind out of me.
Too old to trick or treat? Was there such a thing?
“I don’t think so,” I said.
“Is he going this year?” Mama asked.
I wasn’t sure.
We haven’t really gone in the last few years.
We tried to go to a church event last year but it was so cold, we breezed through the parking lot of the trunk-or-treat and went and bought some candy instead.
The year before, I can’t even remember what we did.
And there was one year we went to a haunted house that was supposed to be ‘kid friendly’ and I was the one who ended up having an existential breakdown.
“There was a room full of doll’s heads hanging from the ceiling. Dolls. You know how I feel about dolls. They are the illegitimate first cousin to clowns,” I explained.
Mama was aware of my feelings about dolls.
That was actually the last time we really did anything to celebrate Halloween.
I was shocked and a little saddened.
Halloween is my favorite holiday.
But, I had lost my Halloween spirit.
How did this happen?
Maybe it was because my beloved skulls and macabre décor were sandwiched between turkeys and Christmas lights on store shelves.
It was hard to feel a need for spookiness when you were bombarded with wreaths.
Part of me wondered if my child thought he was too old.
He hadn’t mentioned a costume in a few years, and it was something we always enjoyed planning.
Did he think he had outgrown trick or treating?
Some people get angry when they see teens and tweens partaking in the holiday.
It is not something that ever bothered me.
To me, it kind of speaks to an innocence.
We have so many monsters out there in the world, it is nice to have a night we can pretend to be witches, warlocks, and dragon slayers.
I say let them be kids as long as they want.
Was he maybe over the day I had hyped up since his birth?
He still gets excited when the bags of candy fill the aisles and we had grabbed up new decorations earlier this month.
He still wanted to watch marathons of our favorite horror movies and just recently got his own copy of The Shining, the only Jack Nicholson movie he likes.
Had I maybe killed the joy of Halloween for him?
Had I forced a frivolity upon him that he didn’t want or enjoy?
Sometimes, too much of a good thing can be bad; just like eating Reese’s can have its limits.
If he has outgrown trick or treating, he is officially ‘grown’ in some regards. Too old to make believe, too old to pretend in the magic of the night and to have fun in simple frights.
My little twisted heart was heavy for many reasons.
And then -- “Am I going trick or treating this year?” Cole asked.
“What should I go as?” he pondered. “Are you going to dress up?”
Am I going to dress up? What kind of question was that?
“I thought about Bart Curlish,” I began. “Or maybe – wait for it – the Queen. Then I would have to get a corgi. Or, Velma. I always liked her better than Daphne, you know?”
My list ran on and on.
You’re never too old.