When big sister was in kindergarten (just a few years ago) I experienced the worst Halloween ever. She wanted to go as Doc McStuffins (a Disney character who is a veterinarian-ish with magical powers where her toys come to life and she operates on them to fix things like run-down-batteritis). At the time Doc McStuffins was pretty new and there wasn’t a commercial costume for her. So over the course of a few days I pieced together an outfit taking care to glue glitter and sequins on a child sized white lab coat and procuring the perfect leggings and headband that would mimic Doc (for the record they now have such a thing in a package at Target for about $20.00). Little sister at this point was in the terrible twos and went as a witch – a costume she was somewhat reluctant to keep on. It should also be noted that the day before Halloween I had purchased brand-new car seats for both children.
On Halloween I installed both car seats – a process that requires the patience of a saint – in the back of my car. When I picked big sister up from school she mentioned casually that she had “eating candy all day”. I should’ve paid closer attention to this piece of information but chalked it up to the fact that I had a five-year-old and she did not have much experience with candy – anything more than one piece would’ve seemed excessive to her. The next few hours were spent running around getting odds and ends done. I made the unfortunate choice of making meatloaf for dinner an idea that haunts me still. In my defense I was thinking of a good, hearty, nutritious meal that would stick with them and discourage massive amounts of candy intake. Sadly it was too late for good sense.
This is was in a time before I realized how smart it was to stay in our own neighborhood. We had plans to meet up with friends to go trick-or-treating in their neighborhood just on the other side of town. By the time I had both children dressed and the dishes cleared, big sister was looking a little green. She assured me she was just excited about trick-or-treating and I foolishly went along with that.
We left the house and drove over to our friends’ house stopping halfway because I couldn’t be certain that I had locked the front door. I pulled a U-turn and drove home inspiring groans from the car’s passengers (including my husband – who claimed to be carsick by my insane driving). For the record I had locked the door the first time we left.
After we pulled into a parking spot right by our friends’ driveway my husband exited the car and got little sister out of her car seat. I opened the door to big sisters side just in time to watch her projectile vomit a combination of meatloaf, garlic mashed potatoes and what I assume were skittles.
Cascades of tears quickly followed as she urged me to close all the doors so that no one could see her. My husband, unaware of the situation it was unfolding, called out to us to please come inside with the rest of the group. I used what can only be described as my interpretation of sign language to fill him in as to what had transpired in the backseat. It was not a clear message. I then had to mime by way of communicating and luckily he caught on. I drove home to pleas of being allowed to take a quick shower and rejoin the group while Big sister asserted that she felt surprisingly better and that she didn’t much care for skittles.
We arrived back home, I loaded her into the shower and quickly stripped the brand-new car seats of all of their coverings getting them into the wash immediately. (Yes, the second seat had been collateral damage). Luckily I had not yet discarded the other car seats and after a quick wet vac of my car I reinstalled them both. This was all done with me simultaneously and quickly jetting into the house and making sure big sister was okay in the shower, while also seriously trying to dodge on coming trick-or-treaters. Because we had not anticipated being home I had not purchased candy to give out relying on the fact that a small table with chips and pretzels and encouraging note would suffice. That was not the case.
As we rummaged through the dress up bin (sidebar everyone should have one of these especially if you have children) the doorbell was continually wrung with children calling out” trick-or-treat” and “Happy Halloween”. I thought very much so “tricked” and not at all “happy”.
In the end we made it back to the house before the whole group had left rejoining little sister and my husband in a costume that had taken me no time or effort to put on big sister. The neighborhood was newly constructed and as such had massive amounts of mosquitoes buzzing about (although this was before Zika out was a serious concern). It was so bad that at one house a family was handing out mosquito repellent wipes alongside candy. However at the end of the night the kids did not remember the vomit or the skittles or the 10,000 mosquito bites we all had. They remembered being together with their family and their friends and ringing doorbells and getting candy.
Much later when I had fully cleaned the car and the car seat linens were clean and dried and reinstalled I thought about how it would take a very very long time for me to ever be able to laugh about the entire situation. It turns out it only took me three years and I look back on it lovingly. Here is to only happy memories of Halloween from here on out!