Another Halloween has come and gone, and I have to say that this year was one of the better ones that I’ve had with my Little Man Dev.
For the past 13 years he’s been apathetic about this strange day when everyone dresses either strange, cute or scary as hell. He’s never been scared of the gruesome ghouls and ghosties that he’s laid witness to. He’s just sort of very blasé about it all.
Every year as this magical night approaches we try to get the Little Man into the spirit of the night. “What do you want to be for Halloween?” becomes a mantra that we all chant at the kid, followed by us rapid firing various selections of Halloween costumes.
In the past he’s gone as Elmo, Mickey Mouse, a police officer, a lion, mad scientist, and a pirate have been some of Dev’s previous Halloween costumes and each one was met with the same amount of mediocre excitement. Some of them prompted splash of glee when we prompted him. “Are you______?” And he’d smile a bit more for us.
Then on top of Dev’s mild interest in Halloween, there is our private hell of the actual act of Trick or Treating.
We live in Toronto, Canada so the weather for October 31st can be as wild and varied as the costumes. We’ve had beautiful warm weather where the kids are clad in just their costumes and perhaps sweaters, then we’ve had rain to snow and freezing temperatures that require hats, mitts and winter coats.
For a kid with no insulating body fat, those frigid temperatures are hellish and to make the night pure torture instead of fun, add onto that the sheer joy of taking a child in a wheel chair door to door, where obviously nobody has their homes pimped out disabled style, in other words no ramps. Which of course they wouldn’t, I’m not saying they should, because why would they invest that insane amount of money if they had no need.
But what our family has figured out to do is have 2 of us go door to door, one pushes Dev around in his chair and hangs out at the bottom of stairs or on the sidewalk depending on accessability and the other person carries Dev’s treat bag and actually knocks on the doors or rings the for bells and cries out “Trick or Treat for the little fellow”. And fools give us funny looks, wondering why 40 year old woman is still trick or treating? I’ve even had people tell me in lucky I can use my son as an excuse to get free candy from them. IRS like getting punched in the stomach when someone says something like that, it hurts when someone acts like my child could never actually appreciate the holiday.
Then most times Dev doesn’t get to eat the treats because of his issues with chewing, so he only gets the chocolate bars that melt in your mouth and require no chewing. Nothing with nuts, hard caramel bits, etc.
We only go to about 10 or 12 houses, so it’s not like we’re greedily filling bags upon bags of candy to pug out on. It’s about the experience for Dev.
But it’s no wonder that Dev feels a sense of disconnect to this holiday, since he is only able to participate in a minimal way.
Now I tell you all of this, not so that you can feel bad for Dev, but so you can understand how awesome this Halloween was for us, because Dev was actually excited about Halloween this year, with no prompting from us.
One morning he woke up squealing and laughing and actually bouncing with joy. We could not figure out what brought on this sudden abundance of happy.
Dev went to school and his teacher managed to find out that Dev was excited about Halloween.
This was last week, October 22nd. We asked Dev what he wanted to be and we got no response, but I think honestly that he just didn’t know what to be.
Then on Friday, Dad put on the Superman movie and Dev was enraptured. He loved watching Superman save the world, battling the bad guys and charming Lois Lane.
From that point on there was no doubt that Dev would be Superman for Halloween.
The evening if October 30th, we cut open 2 pumpkins that Dev brought home from school, his class had gone on a field trip to a pumpkin farm and he’s picked the pumpkins out himself.
We cut those pumpkins open, pulled out their guts, or as Dev loved, the pumpkins brains. He loved ‘stabbing’ the pumpkins and carved out since pretty great looking pumpkin faces. Spooky!
We got a set of battery operated pumpkin lights and hooked it up to a switch so Dev could operate them, and he did. At each house he’d flash his lights we attached to the tray of his wheel chair. As each for opened those pumpkin lights would flash a greeting to the home owners. A sort of trick or treat for a non-verbal child.
It was raining last night, just a drizzle, but it didn’t dampen Dev’s Halloween spirit. And because Dev was enjoying his Halloween so much, the first time in 14 years, I enjoyed it as much, if not more!