Halloween 1999!

In the first photo, the kids & I admire Joanne's Jack-o-lantern. In the second, we are about to go forth into the neighborhood for treats. In the front row are Chiara dressed as Madeline (a childrens book heroine), Angelina dressed as Snow White, and between them is Angelina's friend Kaitlin. In the back row are George (Kaitlin's dad), Joanne in a Cat outfit, and me. I donned green & black & red face paint for the occasion. I wanted to be the Grim Reaper, but couldn't find a scythe as a prop. So, garden shovel in hand, I became a grave digger. The third shot is a close-up of Joanne & I. Missing from the picture are Emma (Kaitlin's sister and Chiara's friend) and Karin (Kaitlin's Mom), but the eight of us went out while Grandma stayed behind to distribute candy.

The kids are old enough now to really start to appreciate the holidays. At 2 1/2, Chiara seemed to be most impressed with Halloween this year, although not quite familiar with the routine. Indeed, as we approached each house in the neighborhood for treats, Kaitlin and Angelina would have a footrace to see who would ring the doorbell. Meanwhile Chiara would ask every time "Is this our house?" She did not appear to be tired, cold or afraid of the costumes of the other neighborhood kids, so I puzzled over her obvious desire to be back home. Finally I asked, and the explanation revealed her pragmatism. Why should she walk from house to house for a single small piece of candy when she knew that we had a large bowl full of candy sitting on the table by the front door of our own house!

And for quite a while afterwards, the kids, especially Chiara, delighted in telling haunted stories at the dinner table each night. These usually involved witches, skeletons, and ghosts emerging from dark rooms and dungeons. Sometimes embellished with wolves, goblins or other monsters. To illustrate Chiara's fixation on these ideas as she tried to sort out what was real and what wasn't, here is an amusing incident from the grocery store two months later. Chiara & I were shopping for New Years party items and I was lamenting aloud the fact that the produce dept. ran out of scallions. "Scallions" was apparently a new word for Chiara. She puzzled over what I had said and then asked with a hint of real concern in her voice "Dad, ....Mom wants skeletons?"