Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Chocolateless Halloween

My brother and his Star Wars posse showed up at precisely 4:30pm. We snapped our yearly Halloween photo on the front steps, which looked like a group photo in front of Comicon, then we headed out on our official Trick or Treating route: from our house to Kitty’s house for beers.

Before we hit the first smashed pumpkin porch, we coached Elijah. “Here are your lines: ‘Trick or treat!’ Wait for the candy. Then, ‘Thank you!’ Wave to the audience and move on.”

Eli nodded his comprehension and attacked.

“Trick or treat! I don’t like chocolate!”

This little ad lib took our neighbor completely aback. A four year old who doesn’t like chocolate? Um. Isn’t chocolate the complete point of Halloween? Our neighbor peered into her plastic orange bowl.

“Well, honey. All I think we have is chocolate…”

Elijah looked at the Snickers in his hand and threw it, disgustedly back into the bowl. Life lesson time.

Eli listened intently as we explained Halloween is not a grocery store. If people were nice enough to give out candy and it happened to be chocolate, he was to say, “Thanks anyway!” and either smile and back away from the porch or take the chocolate for dada.

For the rest of the night, I took sick pleasure at watching the expressions on people’s faces when Eli informed them that he was not a fan of chocolate. A few dads rushed back into the house to find a replacement. We’d shout, “Don’t worry about it,” from the street, but some people were determined to find something, anything to give this tiny Star Wars guy. A spoon. A chicken leg. A TV remote.

Eventually, we made it to Kitty’s house.

Now, if you remember from last year, Kitty really does up her place. Spooky music. Bonfire. Hay. And she also had a battery operated zombie that caused Elijah permanent mental damage. This year, I thought, “He’s 4. He can handle a little zombie action. Hell, he’s seen countless dudes get murdered on Star Wars. What’s a little bloody grey guy?”

Um, no. As soon as Eli caught sight of the zombie, his memories from last year came flooding back and he began screaming hysterically. Spilling his non chocolate treats all over the grass.

I scooped him up and shout-whispered in his ear, “He can’t hurt you. He can’t hurt you. He can’t hurt you.”

But Eli wouldn’t listen. He shrieked until we got him safely inside Kitty’s, where I could calm myself with a Bud Light.

We asked Kitty to keep the zombie every year until Eli comes to grips with his fear. Then we will allow him to smash it with a baseball bat. That doesn’t seem like psychological abuse at all.

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