My son Samuel just turned three. This is his first Halloween of any consequence.
Samuel does not talk much, so we are never sure what he "gets" and what he doesn't. But, they must have been teaching him about Halloween at pre-school because he came home last Thursday (the 29th and his last day of school that week) with a small paper bag stapled closed. He carried that bag, still stapled, around the house saying "trick of trick ... trick or trick." Finally, he brought me the bag and said, "bag off." Off, on, open, close ... interchangeable to him.
I opened the bag to find two lolly pops and a plastic spider. (The teacher might tell you that she also put a "fun sized" Three Muskateer bar in there, but I will deny to my dying day that I ever ate, er, saw it.) "Lolly pop ... lolly pop." He had learned another new word. So, I unwrapped the lolly pop and gave it to him. He did not eat it of course. He carried it around the house. "Trick or trick ... trick or trick." It was sweet. Then mildly amusing. Then I was easily distracted by some bit of housework.
"Hey, Mommy." Sam had learned a new trick (or trick). The old lolly pop in the ear gag. Silly boy.
He dressed as a cowboy this year. We took him to Trick-or-Trunk at Jonah's school. He was very cute. He had a trick-or-trick and a thank you for every trunk. Then he looked around, saw the costumes, realized the grown-ups had lost their minds, and was ready to go home. We got him out of there just in the nick of time. He was about to lose it.
When the day itself arrived, he was very excited to get back in his cowboy costume. We made a brief stop at a party hosted by Abby, the best babysitter in the world. We got there early. The crowd was not huge. There were cupcakes and treats. Sam glanced around in a daze. It takes him awhile to decide if he is going to like a new situation, but this was a new level of uncertainty. He didn't even eat his treat. Though he may be saving it for later. There is still a nutter-butter covered in white chocolate and decorated to look like a ghost (with one bite missing) somewhere in our garage.
The next day, when he got up, he had a lot to say (very rare for him) and it went like this...
Get up. Get up, get dressed. Get dressed, cowboy. Get dressed, cowboy, Abby. Cowboy, Abby, cupcake. Cupcake. Cupcake. Cowboy, Abby, cupcake.
Poor kid. He's only three. What cold I say to him by way of explanation? Too little, too late. That ship has sailed. Next time, seize the day, live in the moment, get with the program while the program is still on. Three year olds don't speak cliche. There was nothing I could say. So, I gave him a hug and a kiss, and another lolly pop to stick in his ear.