Our five and a half year old wants to go to school. Some school. Any school. Alright. But we’ve always homeschooled so this was not at the top of my priority list when he began his official kindergarten year this past August. What WAS on my priority list was making sure Captain Cragen of SVU was cleared of all wrong doing concerning last season’s high reaching prostitution ring, and going to Costco when my friend Julie did. To get the cheap wine.
He has persisted. His teen siblings do a one day a week thing, and his next up brother was enrolled in Montessori last winter. So what does a little man in a 5T skinnies in our house want more than anything? To have to get up, get dressed, pack a lunch, and be forced grumpily out the door to make it on time to school.
I offered a run through. A placebo, if you will. I was all dude. We’ll get up with the rest of them, do the drill, I’ll fuss at you about not moving fast enough, and tell you your teeth aren’t really clean when you blow in my face, pack the lunch, rush to the car, but then? BAM. We’ll crawl back in bed for two hours and pretend the day starts anew at ten. I’ll even let you play on my iPhone while I “rest” some more. Win/win.
As if to prove he was serious, he has upped the annoyance hijinks seven fold this fall, and has taken to talking nonstop, all day, every day with insistence on agreement of his assertions, or explanation therewith if something he posits should be wrong.
I found a sweet little two day a week program, which is hard to do for kindergarden, because most kindergardner’s parents are way smarter than I, and actually have admitted to themselves they want those little cretins out of the house. I? I am a ridiculous holdout. Like I get some sort of crown or something? Well, if I do, I want pink crystals. Big ones. And teardrop swinging things, like on chandeliers.
Well, this is a church program. A fact I happen to love and loathe. Church programs do neat things like talk about Jesus, and that you shouldn’t wipe your boogers on your table buddy because Jesus wouldn’t, and they plant cute little plants in pumpkins at fall time and tell children sweet stories about God’s sunshine and rain.
Church programs also do un-neat things like hold an entire Halloween event in the parking lot and not call it Halloween. Nor will they use any of the associated jargon. Well, not all of it, just parts of it. This little event was a Trunk and Treat. A Trunk. And. Treat. Keep the treat, drop the trick. Bring in and, drop or. No options, just trunk and treat unity. I guess tricks are more ghoulish, less Jesus-y. Trunks are good. Jesus likes trunks. Or is divisive. And is inclusive. Inclusive is nice. This thing was complete will all the candy, the burgers, those big pink, fat hot dogs, miles of soda, cupcakes, a vat of Dean’s french onion dip with what I think was a kamikaze fly, and tins upon tins of chili and baked beans. There were scary looking big sibling kids with fake blood dripping down their chins, witches, goblins, and seventeen varieties of princesses and Hermiones. There was an awesome tin foil over cardboard with dryer duct arms robot, and his mom, a vision in white, with a white hair piece or hat of some sort, floating along under a clear umbrella adorned with pink and white streamers. I thought she was some enchanted fairy in such a costume as I had never seen. I was enraptured. Blake said she was a jellyfish and it was totally common. Huh.
Most of our time was spent making sure Hart didn’t slip in the vomit we were sure was coming in the gigantic Clifford the Big Red Dog bouncy thing, and then making sure he didn’t fall off the hay ride. You know, the bigger than you ever see in real life pick up pulling the extra long trailer loaded down with hay. And gooey chunks of reconsidered candy. And now sweaty half costumed kids gorked out of their minds on sugar. Because there should never be a gathering for kids where the first ingredient isn’t sugar.
For a little while we seriously considered running back to the house for a flask. But
when I got in the house, I realized we were out of hard liquor and there wasn’t enough wine to make any difference thought better of it.
We were one hour and forty seven minutes in, after declaring that thirty one minutes was our TOP time for attendance, when they’d yet to unveil these trunks with candy I assumed the kids would plunder to finally reach the official sugar coma state that would allow us to pour them into car seats, and then would be sticky sheets and covers within the hour.
It is then that I realized, as parents and organizers who were wiser than I began to align minivan after minivan, that there were no trunks. There were trunks. Like the back of cars, decorated with little lights, and orange streamers. Awkward plastic skeletons, glow sticks, and tired looking adults.
I revealed my naivete to my sweet spouse, who bent over in guffaws and not quietly pointed out my stupidity. Trunks?!? Like pirates? Like pillaging and treasure and ahoy matey, yo ho ho and bottle of rum?!?
What would I know of these “trunk and treats”? We were Methodist, man. Mainstream liberals who got to hang in the ‘hoods with our pagan neighbors and do exactly every single thing this church party was doing except dig candy out of the back of cars while chanting trunk and treat!!! We at least got the exercise of walking door to door for a couple hours to burn off the brownies! What is this faux Halloween?!
Look. Love it or hate it, or be somewhere in the middle. I don’t care. But call a spade a spade, and a Halloween a Halloween.
And can we just admit yelling trunk and treat!!! at beleaguered adults perched on backs of minivans doesn’t really get one out of participating in Halloween, should one be opposed to such.
For our part, when I realized the madness that was about to ensue, the onslaught of high pitched, glazed over, sugared up kids about to hit one small stretch of the entire parking lot in apocalyptic unison, I spun into a fevered bribery plan.
In under two minutes, I had Hart convinced his Minecraft costume would not sustain the threat of so many little hands and feet, and he’d likely be mauled by the hoard of trunk or treaters. AND he’d not even get his favorite candies, as we all know those group things get the big cheap bags of Bit O Honey, candy corn, and those weird orange things that are a cross between marshmallow and Tootsie Rolls. They have to. Economies of scale, and all. So the best bet any of us had was hitting up Publix on the way home. There, in the relative safety of optimal (if not harsh) lighting, wide aisles, and a pleasant colored cardboard display of seasonal goodies, we’d have our pick of Almond Joys, Kit Kats, Snickers and Charms Blow Pops. And several nice Chardonnays. And a couple of frozen pizzas (hey, Freschetta Inspiration Flavors) for us snobs not enticed by extra plump frankfurters.
We got him off the ceiling, hosed down, and strapped into bed by nine thirty, then watched the last two episodes of Nashville. All in all, a very happy Trunk or Treat indeed. Happy Whatever You Want To Call It, or not. But fall is a damn fine season, and I love it.