Bumblebees buzzed about my feet as I zipped down Damen Avenue on my post-work, 8.5-mile jaunt. This Halloween so many small children were dressed in bee costumes, in fact, I felt like I was navigating through a congregation of tots recruited to stage a living advertisement for the new Jerry Seinfeld movie. And every last one of them was adorable.
Seemingly every front porch and stoop and every inch of sidewalk was cluttered with kids in costumes followed closely by parents buzzing to snap photo after photo. Every one of them seeking to create a perfect record of the night their child looked like a snap pea, and every one having more fun than the slightly confused, sugar-buzzed kid waddling in front of them.
I smiled at each family I encountered with the same buried angst attached to a southern woman’s “bless your heart” when her real sentiment is something far more sinister. They were all inordinately cute, the world felt brisk and celebratory, and I was wholly jealous. I weaseled my way into the ball and quickly discovered I did not fit in with the elite in attendance. This little piggy ran very, very quickly all the way home.
Our new condo brought no candy hunters, which gave me relief from my green streak and justified the severe lack of sweets in my home. Instead, in an act of anti-Halloween defiance I watched the new R.E.M. Live DVD instead. Three songs in, however, the buzzer zinged me to life and into a panic. I ignored it, at first, because there simply was no candy to dispense. On the second buzz, however, I peeked out the window and saw my friend, Kyle.
“Is it cool if Holly and I bring the kids up?” he asked.
“Sure, just let me put the dogs away,” I said. Helena is an amazing kid, and I’m sure her brother, Avery, will be too once he’s no longer a newborn lump of goodness. For some reason, random kids provoke unwanted feelings that the ones I know do not, and when I saw Helena bobbing toward me in a giant apple costume, my night became perfect, shedding the bittersweet remnants of my run.
It was pathetic, but the best I could do was give her a full-sized, organic 72% dark chocolate bar, which she seemed to admire if only for it’s size alone. Kyle, Helena and I toured the condo, and she demanded to get her apple-covered body into the Eames rocker in our office. Sitting upright was nearly impossible, so she then made her way to our bedroom to hold an imaginary conversation with her father on our faux-classic phone.
Later, we sat on my kitchen floor and drank small glasses of milk in the first of hopefully many meetings of Matt and Helena’s Milk Club. She was adamant that I drink from a glass that was proportional to my size, but I promised her if she came over and made cutout sugar cookies for Christmas with me, we could make a huge mess and I would drink more milk. She agreed, right before dribbling half of the milk down her front.
I got the Halloween I wanted after all, just with someone else’s kid. And once Helena started screaming during the comedown from her sugar rush and had to go home, I was OK with that dose for this year.