Traditionally we'd always gone to Princess' grandma's house. She likes to make spaghetti, garlic bread and salad. I once asked her why she always made spaghetti for Halloween. She told me that it was just the easiest thing to make for her kids and grandkids to come and go as they pleased on this special night. After we trick-or-treated in her neighborhood, she'd load us up with popcorn balls, caramel apples and giant chocolate chip cookies she called monster cookies. Yep I hit the jackpot when I married my husband.
Up until Princess was eight years old this was the only Halloween she had ever known. Even though our family wanted to stick with tradition, Princess was not ready to go that far away from her behavior hospital so we were forced to figure something else out. My husband and I decided to take Princess out to dinner at her favorite restaurant, Soup Plantation, a soup and salad buffet. I had previously looked up where some local malls were and what time they had special activities for that evening. I had everything planned out to a T. Or so I thought.
When October 31st arrived, we ran into one snafu after another. First unbeknownst to me, the behavior hospital had a parade. Then they let the kids trick-or-treat a little. Princess was upset with me because she didn't have her Pocahontas costume. Her dad was bringing it down later. At the time, he was living at our house during the weekdays and coming down during the weekends. He was coaching and was needed closer to home. I held down the fort at a hotel we'd found. It worked for us for six weeks but boy was I happy when it was time to come home. But I digress.
After Princess' program ended for the day, my husband and I picked her up. Then we went to find a Soup Plantation. Thank God for Yelp. We just put in the name of the restaurant and Boom! we were give several different options. That was a little snafuish as well since we didn't know our way around town but we eventually found one that worked for us.
Princess ate her fill then got dressed in her costume. I have no shame. I let her get dressed in the restaurant restroom. We were not near our hotel room so it would not have been convenient to go there. Once everything was in it's place, we were ready to roll. Except the shopping centers that had festivities were not close by. We arrived at one mall just as they were shutting things down. This wasn't even late but I wasn't in charge so I had no say in the matter. Finally my husband just started driving around aimlessly. We had no idea what to do or where to go. I'm not sure who suggested it but we decided to look for a safe neighborhood, park the car and go door to door with Princess. I mean no one would know right? It worked like magic especially since I have the politest and most outgoing child on the planet. We'd walk up, she'd ring the doorbell, a friendly person would open the door, Princess would say the obligatory, "Trick-or-treat", & candy would be deposited in her grocery bag that we'd picked up somewhere along the way. The icing on the cake was that these random people would get a compliment from my child in addition to her thank you. It was a win-win situation for everyone. When we'd gone to most houses in a neighborhood, we'd get in the car and drive to another one. We really made some darn good lemonade that night. It was surreal but it worked. Princess was satisfied as were we.
So as you open your door to costumed children who you don't recognize, keep in mind they may be out of their comfort zone. They may be in your neighborhood for reasons you'd never guess.
Treat all of your doorbell ringers with kindness and love. They may need it more than you'll ever know.
This is a picture of my Jedi Warrior Princess when she was seven.