Thursday, November 1, 2012

Halloween in the blink of an eye

This year: Batman & a ninja
It was Halloween yesterday, a holiday that is usually a high point of our year. Jake starts talking about it over the summer. By September it comes up nearly every day. Jake loves pumpkins and Jack O' Lanterns and all things Halloween in that passionate and obsessive way that autistic kids can love things.

For Ethan it's about the costume and the candy (the CANDY!!!!!) and the fun with friends. But for Jake it's so much more. It's something really recognizable that helps him figure out the passage of time. Halloween time comes around every year, and every year it is more or less the same.

He loves seeing his superhero friends come to life and walk all around town. He loves ghosts and witches and black cats. "Oooooh scary!" he'll say, not the least bit scared.

Jacob IS Batman

Jake loves the decorated buildings, the Halloween pop-ups that sprout in empty storefronts; is disappointed when they disappear in a sudden poof come November 1st.

But this year? I must admit that Halloween 2012 was a bit of a wash. Between the tragedy last week and then the storm, with the fear and preparations; and then the destruction all around us, I admit I was in a bit of a daze, hardly entering the holiday spirit at all.

Jake & me, in my annual "throw on a hat & call myself a witch" costume
For years now I have been obsessively making Ethan's costumes by hand (I would have done so for Jake too, but he dearly loves the store-bought ones) but this year I just knew I didn't have it in me.

Between the pressures of caring for my mother in Long Island, being in the thick of the intense middle school application process for Ethan, it having taken a month to get Jake's schoolbus straightened out and being in the midst of our legal process to get his school paid for, plus about a dozen other things I'm not even going to go into, I am worn quite thin right now, stretched to near breaking point.

Something had to give, and that was the handmade costume. So be it.

And then there was Sandy.

We live in uptown Manhattan in New York City, which means on high, high ground, well above the surge and North of the dark zone, the blackout line. We live in the land of heat and light and screens and open stores and restaurants. But all around us are those in cold and darkness.


So our building held its annual Halloween party, for who could deny our children their fun, their pizza and candy, their rides in the spookily decorated elevators run by the Hulk and Blackbeard.


But it felt strange to be celebrating amidst so much destruction and tragedy.


And now it's over. Jake was so sad to come to the lobby today and find the decorations all taken down. "Where did Halloween go?" he asked. Where, indeed?

Hope your Halloweens were full of less mitigated fun and joy. (And now I'm going to steel another mini Heath Bar from Ethan's stash and call it a night)


  1. This post made me miss New York. I lived on the Upper West Side for eight years -- Sophie was born there (Roosevelt Hospital) and when we moved in 1998, we lived on 104th and West End. The Halloween party in the lobby was so much fun!

    1. I wish I had known you then! I have a lot of friends on WEA at and around 104th. We are not far - about 15 blocks from there. This is the boys 10th lobby party, yes, we love them!

  2. I'm glad the boys had fun. It's so hard to do these things when the world around you is falling apart but so important not to punish the children for it. Next stop Thanksgiving?

  3. Your kiddos are awesome. I'm glad you're okay. I've been thinking of you.

  4. This is where I'm envious of city dwellers and lobby parties. SO much warmer than trick or treating, sometimes in the cold and rain. I talked the boys out of it this year. I'm trying to make going out to dinner a yearly thing now since our youngest was dx'd with several severe food allergies. I admit my motives are purely selfish and driven my my need to be warm.

  5. You have so much going on. October, even without the drama and tragedy of a presidential campaign and record-breaking storm, often feels heavy to me. I don't love the "dark" side of Halloween and I don't enjoy costume parties for adults but I do love giving out candy to smiling children.


I am so sorry to have to turn word verification back on, but the spam-bots have found me - yikes!