Remember: Pillage First, Then Burn

How much longer until it’s Hallowe’en?


I think Cameron asks me this just about as often as he asks how much longer until Christmas, and until his birthday. He spent the months, then the weeks, then the days leading up to the big day waffling about what exactly he was going to dress up as. A ghost! Batman! A knight again! A dragon – ohmammaIwannabeadragon! A bat. A fairie. A soldier. A jellyfish.


Finally, he settled on a magician. I have fabric to make his cape – black with silver spiderwebs all over it. It’s still sitting in its bag, because …


Yeah! Mama, can I be a Viking?


Truth? It’s what I was aiming for all along. I just didn’t expect it to work so well. Which is why I let him switch costumes despite warning him that once I’d bought the fabric he couldn’t change his mind.


So Thursday night I didn’t post here because by the time Cameron and I had finished his costume I was so worn out I just had nothing left in me. The costume had to be ready – at least the basics of it – for his daycare party on Friday. Some kids wore costumes on Thursday too, and some then switched to wear alternate costumes on Friday. How these families manage to put together not just one but multiple costumes per kid I’ll never understand. In case you’re curious, the hat was purchased, the vest is a cut-up little-kid bunny costume, and the cape was a decorative throw pillow. My leather belt held the sword slung across his shoulders.



Finally, Sunday was here, and Cameron could barely believe it. I don’t even think it sank in until we were carving the pumpkins. We had dinner upstairs, and then in a rush, a Viking, a ladybug, and a waddling elephant hit the streets. Cameron really didn’t ‘get’ the advice given to him, “Remember, pillage first, then burn! Pillage, then burn. Not the other way around.”


He totally knew what he was doing this year. There was no point of wonder, of wow, that really did work! He knew from the get-go that yes, all he had to do was say “Trick or treat,” and candy would be dropped in his bucket. Gleefully, he and Grace (the ladybug – incidentally, Kate was also a ladybug, but was with her mother this year) ran from door to door, and little Beth hung out with her grandpa at a more waddle-elephant pace. At one point I reminded the kids to say thank you , with hilarious results. “Please can I please have a trick or treat please?” Most polite viking ever.


I’d had some concern about the neighbourhood for Halloween. You see, I’d been spoiled, living where we did before now. Our old neighbourhood was one of the ones that people truck their kids in to, where houses are decorated to the max, performers do their thing in the street,  and there’s a ‘party in the street’ atmosphere for all.  I did kind of miss that level of festivities, but the new ‘hood didn’t disappoint. It was missing the big party shindig feeling, but there were plenty of houses and yards decked out, and parents socialized and exchanged greetings as they accompanied kids on their spooking rounds.


Cameron did great, despite it being the end of a very busy and full weekend. And then, the fireworks came out. This has to be my favourite part of Halloween here. Sparklers, screamers, hilarious glowing-green lights that buzz around on the street then disappear in the burst of sparkle-crackling explosions (new this year I think, wow I loved those). Once upon a time, Cameron loved them to. And I hope he will again. But now? They were cause for a premature return to the house. My little one had pillaged enough, he was d-o-n-e  done. Quiet, teary, cuddly, unhappy, he took a little while to find his balance again while he helped us give out candy upstairs.


I was concerned that maybe my little love had been scared enough to not enjoy the memory of Halloween this year. I thought perhaps that the memory of being scared of the fireworks that kept crackling and booming well past his bedtime (keeping him awake this year) would be what he held on to.


I should’ve known better. This is Cameron.


This morning he crawled into bed with me, all sleepy and dreamy, and snaked his arms around my neck.


Mama? How much longer until Halloween? Next Halloween, I want to be a soldier. Can I be a soldier?

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