The Halloween collections for the Schulers this year was a bountiful one.
Thanksgiving is only a week and a half away, but I'm still working through a stockpot full of candy.
In many ways, I feel a little like a mob boss when it comes to candy gathered by my 6-year- old son Anthony. I sent him out, he made the "collections" and when he got back, I got my "take," for allowing him the privilege of trick-or-treating.
Actually, I did ask for a candy bar and he happily granted my request. He didn't hand over any of the full sized candy bars, no, I got the "fun size" which was good enough for me. I'm just happy he shared. Plus, when he's not looking I usually swipe a piece here and there.
Being that age must be great. I can remember being excited to go trick-or-treating. I can also remember when I started to lose interest in the whole event and I'm happy to think we've got a few more years of this kind of fun left.
Plus, it's not an expensive holiday for us.
When it comes to costumes, the kid is pretty low budget.
He was 2 years old when he finally gave us some input on what he wanted to wear for a costume. Being a train fanatic, he wanted to be Thomas the Tank Engine. We found such a costume and when Halloween came around, he didn't want to go outside wearing it.
So, we improved at the last minute. He had a rain coat that looked like a a fireman's bunker coat. We put that on him and out the door he went with my wife - dressed as a "fireman" while I passed out the candy to the neighborhood kids - a few adults and some newborns without teeth - and some more kids.
The next year, he wanted to be Thomas again, and this time wore the costume. The year after that, Thomas. Needless to say, we got our monies worth out of that costume.
Last year however, he decided he wanted to mix things up and go as a Jedi - Luke Skywalker to be exact. This year, he decided he wanted to recycle the same costume, which came as no surprise to me. The way I see it, that outfit has at least two more years.
The one thing I was worried about was if it was going to fit. This is a kid that can outgrow clothes on the car ride home. The force was with him however and he was able to fit into it.
I like the costume. I once went as Luke Skywalker, but when I went, my costume was made of plastic. It had a molded plastic mask that was held onto the face with a thin elastic band. I remember it felt funny with two like holes that scratched my eyes. A second pair of hole were found under the nose, as well as a rectangular cutout mouth hole to allow us to breathe.
I had several costumes like that. A Batman costume, a Darth Vader and a Storm Trooper (Star Wars, not Nazi) all made up the collection.
We also had some really cool homemade costumes too, stitched with love by my grandmother. The store bought one's are only made with an artificial love substitute which isn't as good.
The best one was a convict outfit. It had the classic black and white stripes with a cap. A ball and chain accompanied the outfit. The chain was made from construction paper and the ball was a plastic toy bowling ball that was painted black.
To up the ante, my mom put a little shoe polish or some other black substance that acted as make-up on my face that made me look like I had a 5 o'clock shadow. That costume won me a third place award in my grade school's Halloween costume contest.
Eventually, the desire to go trick-or-treating faded. When I was about 12 or 13, on Halloween night my best friend invited me to go over to Wheeling Jesuit to see his brothers play soccer. A little part of me might have wanted to go and collect candy, but it really wasn't a tough decision and I chose to go to the game.
Lucky, Anthony is at the perfect age to enjoy Halloween and his excitement was enough to make me excited about it because I figure, I got another five or six years of stealing some of his trick-or-treat loot.
Shoe can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org