H.o.p. drew the face. I carved the pumpkin, which was a tough one. H.o.p. talked about the smell of the pumpkin, how it was the smell of Halloween. “Nostalgia,” he said. I was unable to find the bag that holds our few Halloween decorations but he was determined and finally dug it out of a closet. We spread spider webs around the apartment and hung up fat bats in the doorways. He carefully laid out plastic skeletons in our chairs up front. No one can see them from the street but they are there.
Halloween night the weather was rainy and chilly. We drove to the old Decatur neighborhood, as we always do, as it turned into a great place to trick-or-treat our last year there and has remained so. One of the houses goes all out with gargantuan decorations, some mechanized, and that’s the house H.o.p. always hits first.
H.o.p.’s costume this year wasn’t one really for photographing. The costume last year was for photographing. This year his was rather simple and it was the performance aspect that he made the most of. He had it all planned out. A plain black hood mask with a torn shirt. “Trick or treat!” He gets his candy. And then the twist! For as he bowed and solemnly said, “Happy Halloween!”, he would take off his mask revealing a skull mask underneath.
He had a grand time. His interest, as ever, is not the candy but the performance and people hopefully enjoying it and then chatting them up afterward, because he always likes to talk to people afterward, for which reason he takes three times as long trick-or-treating as others. Most kids hit the door, get the candy and run. H.o.p. has never done this. H.o.p. instead wants to chat. Performance gives him an opportunity to chat. People generally start to talk when he does his thing and conversation is struck up.
In the car, on the way home, H.o.p. enjoyed running his hands through his candy. “Mmmm,” he said, “the smell of Halloween.”