Snow flurries came down on the afternoon of Halloween, and many were quick to wonder if the minor weather inconvenience might ruin the holiday.
At our household, the unreasonably early winter precipitation seemed very fitting. I watched the snow out of my office window and tried to imagine the smile on my 4-year-old son Cale’s face while waiting in anticipation of the night’s activities.
Cale’s fifth Halloween turned out to be easily the best.
Over the summer, we gave him the option to pick out his costume, and he chose a real doozy. Cale wanted to be the “cartoon Grinch,” a very important distinction to his young mind.
Already a big fan of Christmas movies, Cale watches both the original Dr. Seuss cartoon with Boris Karloff narrating and Ron Howard’s 2000 “live action” adaptation starring Jim Carrey. We’ve probably watched them about 100 times each — no exaggeration — during the past few years.
Making his costume idea a reality proved a little more difficult, but mom rustled up some green tights and a small Santa Claus suit plus some makeup. We didn’t want to disappoint, although apprehension crept in with little ability to practice the look.
With the snow coming down, I received a message from Cale.
“Daddy, it’s snowing, just like in the cartoon Grinch!” he exclaimed. “This is perfect. Do you think it will snow a lot?”
Well, I couldn’t make that promise, but when your kid believes the weather turned just for his benefit, you go with it as much as you can.
No kid has ever been more excited to be the cartoon Grinch. The makeup was challenging and a different color of green than the tights, but no one could tell Cale to be disappointed.
I can’t ever remember being that excited about a Halloween costume in my life, maybe the time I went as a skeleton-masked grim reaper — complete with large scythe — when my grandma let us pick out a professional number from a real store. Still don’t think it compared.
I soured on Halloween the older I got, rarely choosing to participate in college or at themed parties in young adulthood.
Having this experience last week might have changed my mind on the holiday. I might need to get more involved, if only to try and share the joy with my family.
Cale received plenty of compliments at his first trick or treating stop — an event at his aunt Rita’s school in St. Joseph. Some even asked for pictures of the little Grinch, along with his cousin Kyndall dressed as Cindy Lou Who.
The real test came later in the neighborhood with the cold weather having taken hold, even after the snow flurries stopped.
Cale remained undeterred and went up and down a couple of blocks to collect more candy. He showed full appreciation for trick or treating for the first time in his life and gave me another reminder of what makes being a parent so special.
We did limit the walking time due to the cold, went back for a late dinner and let him get out of his costume.
On the ride back to Platte City, we started to talk to him about next year to see what he might have in store for Halloween 2018. I should’ve known what he would say, but Cale has always kept me guessing.
After some quiet reflection, “… Maybe I’ll just be the real Grinch!”
Whatever you want, kid. Whatever. You. Want.
Ross Martin is publisher of The Citizen. He may be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter: @Citizen_Ross.