Although this time, in my defense, I was following Benny’s lead.
Benny’s imagination is in full and colorful flight at the moment. He plays and talks endlessly with his toys and lives in all kinds of interesting and fanciful worlds. I love watching him, hearing him. However, this growing imagination comes with the inevitable flipside. The bad dreams, the sensitivities, the fears of even the smallest, most innocent seeming things.
Although I am very careful about what Benny watches and reads (even “Finding Nemo” is considered too scary in our house), dreams of monsters still wake him up at night. Books with even a vaguely dark or creepy cover are thrown back on the library shelves. Fighting or shouting on television makes Benny immediately snap it off. And even, sometimes, the New York skyline at night looks to Benny like a “huge scary dinosaur.”
I knew, then, the moment the plastic Jack-o-Lanterns started appearing in the stores, Halloween wasn’t going to be Benny’s favorite time of year. And I was right. As soon as he smacked eyes on the lanterns and the creepy costumes in the Halloween store in our neighborhood, he was horrified.
Last week, in the run up to the big night, I thought I better explain in more detail what this whole Halloween thing is all about. (Benny’s not doing the preschool thing, so he doesn’t have a group of excited peers to explain the ins and out of ghouls, ghosts, and trick or treating). When I’d finished with my explanation and asked if he wanted to dress up, he looked at me with a firm gaze and said, “No. I don’t like Halloween. It’s scary.”
So, the other night when Halloween rolled around, Benny and I ducked out of the parties we’d been invited too, ignored the trick or treating knocks on the door, and laid low with not a costume in sight.
Later in the evening we nipped out to the store to get some milk and on our short walk were confronted by numerous concerned people asking Benny “where’s your costume?” “did you get any candy?” “do you want my scary mask?” (cue terrified glances and near-tears from Benny). It occurred to me, as I tried to dodge and escape these well-meaning people, that in not joining in the Halloween-mania, Benny and I were perhaps the biggest, most ghoulish Halloween freaks of all.