Usually, 3pm is reserved for a park play date, a toasted baguette with butter found in a too small cafe, or even the ice man. 3pm is their recovery from a day of school and play school, and it is when I half attempt to read a favorite book in the park or hold a proper conversation with another parent. Halloween this year happened to be on a Monday, so this 3pm was a little different.
I picked Oak up first, gathering his cape and confiscating his candy with a kiss upon my arrival. I wiped his face of the remaining strawberry juice and combed his hair with my fingertips. We made it barely a block and he was out like a light, exhausted from the events of his day. River was next, she had a bag or two as well. She traded them in for a hopefull basket of goodies that would picked up at bodegas, restaurants, and even donated by a few kind teenagers on the platform at West 4th Street. When we got home from school, we traded in their knits for faux minks, leather jackets and corduroy blazers. Oak’s bell bottoms broke at the waste, and I tied them with an bright pink ribbon we had reserved for a birthday party gift sometime in the near future.
Up until that weekend, River had requested to be Sofia the 1st. She’d requested we all be the family, and I obliged.. until she changed her mind. Her costume came in the mail and all seemed fine until she had to wear it to her third party on Sunday. The tulle was itchy, the neck too tight, the length–too short. None of this seemed obvious to me, but was to her. So on Monday I grabbed her leggings and a long-sleeved thermal and ripped off the top layer of the dress–making sure not to pull too hard. She quickly became Sofia (Donna Summer unbeknownst to her) and Oak became Jimi Hendrix, leaving Tina Turner’s bright static do for yours truly to fulfill. It was perfect.
This was the first year we abandoned our neighborhood activities, leaving them for the hundreds who visit to partake. We hopped on the C and headed to the West Village to catch what we could of the children’s parade. By the time we arrived, the parade was still lingering, but the kid’s baskets were empty and River grew tired of waiting for candy. So on we went, following the footsteps of the already gamed big kids who busted through glass store fronts screeching “Trick or Treat!”
I have to admit, I was intimidated the kids would get turned down a few times, so I went in with them. Whispering; “Do you have any candy?” before River timidly asked or Oak went digging behind the register. Seems as if almost everyone was participating. Even the old-school man at the record store, who stood at the doorway chanting “Happy Halloween!” When we got to the doorway, he yelled back to the guy at the register who was standing amongst a stack of records in the yellow-tinted store with narrow aisles; “Yo, Jimi is here!” The man at the register yelled back at Oak, “Jimiiii!” And of course, Oak had no idea who Jimi Hendrix was, or that he was him for the afternoon, or even the kind of mark a set of characters like us leave in a record store like that, but it made me smile ear to ear nonetheless.
When the vision of children grew less and less and adults started to storm the streets, and sergeants started barricading Sixth Avenue, we grabbed a slice of pizza with my friend, and headed to the park to eat dinner as one last hurrah. Oak, who already consumed six pieces of candy at this point (he never eats candy) was all hopped up on a sugar and thought it best to dance in the dark amongst strangers and one single rollerblader who slid around him as Oak shimmied.
When we finally arrived back home in Brooklyn, Peter greeted us, and our neighborhood was still alive. Kids were running door to door and Peter, my sister (and her son), walked a few blocks with River and Oak for final pieces to add to their overwhleming collection.
All in all, Halloween 2016 was one for the books. Over and out.