“Why can’t I go with my friends, Daddy?” she asked innocently. “It is more fun alone dear, it is more scary with fewer people. That is what halloween is about isn’t it?” She thought for a bit and then asked me why I was going with her then. She is a smart girl. I told her that she might need help carrying everything back. She was skeptical but agreed. There was truth to my statement though, it was very creepy with fewer people around this year. Our cul de sac was usually lit with lanterns, glowing pumpkins and laser displays, with speakers blasting scary sounds. The silence this year made it actually scary, as opposed to the gothic appeal of typical Halloweens past. It was her first time, so it was unfortunate that she couldn’t get to experience that lively environment. Perhaps in years to come she would.
Necessity forces us to adapt. My daughter is an expert at that. When I told her she needed to wear a mask, she just replied calmly, “Maybe I’ll be a stormtrooper, daddy? Don’t worry, I loved watching Star Wars with you.” It was perfect. Sometimes I wondered if my little stormtrooper was actually my Jedi. If it was her that took care of me. I asked her once and she said simply, “I am more of a Princess Leah, personally. But she doesn’t wear a mask much” She was unusually intelligent for her age. She was a rebel, and she tried to do the right thing. Whoever thought a young kid would integrate pandemic safety protocols into her costume. The costume was a full body suit, there was no virus that would make it through. I was indeed a happy father. I bought one in my size too.
As we set out that night, walking towards the first house, there was no child or parent outside it. We walked on and found the porch light on, so decided to proceed. There was no table outside, so we rang the bell. We heard a window creak open, my little trooper turned her blaster towards it. A cannon appeared. A blast and then a dull thud. A small pack landed on the porch behind us. “It’s a trap!” I yelled. “Don’t worry daddy, I’ll save you!” she exclaimed and ran to the packed, pulled out her blaster and sprayed all over it. “It has been disarmed, we should inspect it now.” I replied. A full size Kit Kat and a full Hershey’s bar. It was turning out to be a fun night. The disinfectant blaster had been a good idea. “Onto the next mission!”
The next house had a light too on the porch, so we proceeded. Again no humans, aliens or monsters to be seen. We rang the bell again, “Trick or treat!” No window opened. The porch light turned off. My little stormtrooper looked at me through her helmet. “Maybe we should get out of here. It is a sign of trouble” I whispered. Suddenly the light turned on again. The little mail slot in the door opened and out came a small packer. The disinfectant blaster was set in motion again, and we were pleased to discover a bag of Chocolate Pretzel M&Ms. Onto the next quest then.
Now our next planet was an odd one. While still void of any sign on life, it appeared to have some construction. Like a factory. Several lights were on. There was a slide leading up to a window. At the bottom of the slide, was a small box. As we stepped forward, we were about the bell. Suddenly a light flashed. “They know we are here!” she exclaimed. “Uh oh. Time to run?” She looked back, and replied, “No way. We came here for a reason. We will find that treasure.” Something slid off the slide and landed in the box below. The disarming protocol was followed, the bounty safely stored in the trooper pack.
As we reached the next destination, we saw that there were already some visitors ahead of us. We decided to maintain safe attacking distance in case they were foes. We saw them quietly walk up to a platform in front of them. It had an assortment of treasures on it. They took one of their choosing. They turned towards us. We had been spotted. “Hello there dear friends, we are here on a mission to find some life saving candy.” I said. They were two witches. One of them sneered, “Well Mr. Trooper, that is no problem. There is plenty of life saving potion here to go around. But only two people may enter the cave at once. You must wait for us to leave. As soon as they left, we entered the cave, claimed one portion of the life saving candy and moved on. This was turning out to be quite the adventure. My little trooper was showing signs of hunger and fatigue. “Shall we head back to the mothership?” I asked. She nodded.
As we returned home, we were greeted outside with our own Captain Trooper. The captain sprayed us with our disinfectant, lest we bring in any alien viruses. After that she gave us a trooper hug, our customary welcome and then we proceeded to enter the mothership, to inspect and account for all the bounty. Captain rooper greeted us with a private greeting, a kiss one each of our cheeks and a hug after we had disrobed from our uniforms. She then served us our onboard meal of hot tomato soup and served us warm grilled cheese sandwiches.
As we gathered that evening in front of the fire, I was thankful to see how we had evolved as a community. Even in times of unprecedented peril, we came together to alight and create a unique world for ourselves and our kids. So much so that all traditional halloween of the past now seemed tame and dull in contrast. It is truly a miracle how society evolves, with grace and compassion in times of need, and how despite terrifying times, we can still see that life is beautiful. One day in the near future, we hope there will actually be some life saving candy to save us from the COVID Aliens and we can wear suits and masks, because we want to, and not because we have to. Until then though, we will continue to entertain ourselves with fantasies from a distance. Stay safe and have fun this halloween you all.