It’s so annoying how Halloween trick or treating looks weird after you turn to a teenager. You join the kids in their fairy costumes, toilet paper wrap, and tiny pumpkins and the whole neighborhood would be so fond of them because they’re little, so they get more candy. Meanwhile, when you see a 14-year-old dressed as a fairy, mummy, or pumpkin, the neighborhood would give you side eyes for “not dressing like your age.” But like, really, mummies are hundreds of years old, pumpkins are symbol for Halloween, and come on, you adults claim that fairies don’t exist but enjoy seeing a 5-year-old girl dressed like one.
It’s been a few months since I started a babysitting job. I’m seventeen now and a junior now in high school, getting ready for college. They say babysitting is only a summer job, well, hello? Parents work all the time and not get summer breaks so they need to have someone to watch over their children, and I will work for them to have at least a little piece of what they worked for.
The family I babysit for is the Suites Family, like, the big hotel rooms. Mr. and Mrs. Suites have two children, Ed and Emily. Emily, or Em, just started kindergarten this year and she’s really sweet to everyone. While Ed, oh boy, he’s nice too… sometimes. Well, this kid, he’s 10 years old, very active, moves around a lot, heavily spoiled.
Mr. Suites works in a technology company, kinda like Tony Stark while Mrs. Suites works in an accounting firm. I see them as those work is greater than time with my kids type of parents. I mean, I wouldn’t be here if they weren’t. I even sometimes get Saturdays with them because they’re just so busy.
It’s Saturday, October 31st, and my friends are off to a high school Halloween party at this senior’s house where his parents are gone. Meanwhile, I’m here at the Suites residence because Mr. and Mrs. Suites are out of town for a business meeting.
“Candy! Candy! Candy!” Em calls me as she stood from her tiny chair.
“Em, I told you, that’s not my name. It’s Candace” I say, correcting her.
“No!” she shakes her head. “I want candy!” she taps my lap.
“Oh? But why?” I ask, and that little smile grows bigger
“It’s my birthday today” she says and her eyes are shining.
“Oh what?” I am confused, her parents didn’t tell me anything. “It is?”
“Yeah!” she giggles and twirls her curly blonde hair.
“Wait here, okay?” I tell her and she sits back and continues her coloring.
I look at the clock and it’s just four pm. I need to confirm if it really is her birthday because I think it really isn’t right for parents to leave their kid on their birthday. Even though I hate it, I had to ask Ed and hope he answers me right.
“Hey buddy” I tell him as I knock into his room. It’s messy and you can see a trail of where he walked around.
“Hi Can of sardice” he says, trying to be funny. I need to hold in my urge to roll my eyes.
“I just wanted to ask if it really is Em’s birthday today” I say trying to sound sweet.
“What day is it today?” he asks and looks to his iPad.
“It’s October 31st, Halloween day” I say
“Hmm…” he thinks and at this point, I really am getting hopeless with this kid. “What’s Halloween?” he asks and this is the first time he had a look of curiosity.
“Is it really Em’s birthday today?” I ask again to avoid answering that
“I’ll tell you if you tell me what a Halloween is” he says
My god, this child. “Okay, deal” I offer my hand out and he shakes. “Halloween is the day you can be whoever you want without anyone telling you it’s wrong.”
“So” he scratches his head, “I can be a zombie-astronaut-basketball player?” he says
That honestly took me aback, I didn’t know he had such high dreams. But then again, it is Halloween, who am I to judge.
“Yeah, or you can be a man from the cleaning services and fix your room” I tell him
“No, I don’t want to fix my room, it will just get dirty” he argues
“Then don’t eat if you’ll just poop it out” I try to argue him back. “My end of the deal, is it Emily’s birthday or not?”
“I think? The last time we had a birthday party was in school, my classmate Bobby turned 10 too, like me” he says
“How bout you, when did you turn 10?” I ask
“Hmm…” he thinks again. “April 13th, there were a lot of eggs lying around that day”
That’s cute. Their birthdays are both on holidays. I leave his room and dial up my cellphone. I hope their parents aren’t too busy to answer my call to ask if it’s Em’s birthday. It rings a few times but on the fourth ring, I get sent straight to voicemail. Great. I got back to Em and she asks me if I were to give her candies. I have a better idea.
Em is chubby and super sweet. What’s chubby and super sweet? Marshmallows. I went to their storage room and saw an old sewing machine and white cloth. I hope they don’t mind. I’ll just replace it. I called my friend and asked her to buy me a bag of cotton.
Soon enough, the cotton arrives and I start measuring Em’s body. I lay down the measurements on the cloth and start sewing. I need four holes, for her face, arms, and body. I check to see if the sewing machine still works and it does. I feel good about this. I sew the white cloth, making cuts and adjustments.
I turn to the clock and it’s five thirty pm. Just in time for the neighborhood Halloween party. I smoothen the edges of my mallow costume and fluff it to be poofy as hell. I put it on Em and she’s so happy about it.
“Is this your gift to me??” she exclaims as she rubs herself, “I’m a marshmallow!”
“Not just yet, we’re going trick or treating” I say
“Trick or what?” she says
“You’ll get lots and lots of candies, trust me” I say and she’s very excited.
I head to Ed’s room and tell him we’re going out. He’s 10, he’s old enough to be left alone in the house for about an hour. He asks where we’re going and I kept it vague but he insists on knowing.
“If you don’t tell me, I have to come with you” he threatens
“You can’t go, you’re not dressed properly” I say
“What? What’s wrong with my pajamas?” he asks and sees Em peek behind me. “Why is she like that? Is she a supposed to be marshmallow?”
“Yes, she is a marshmallow” I say, “Can you promise to not to burn the house down?”
“Why are you going out when she’s dressed like that? Everyone will laugh at her” he says
“They won’t because it’s Halloween today” I try to stay calm cause boy, everything is a bargain with him
“It is??” he gasps and rambles back to his room trying to find stuff.
“What are you doing?” I ask him
“I’m going to Halloween! You can’t stop me!” he quickly puts on his basketball jersey and shorts, and his astronaut helmet.
“So you’re going as an astronaut-basketball player?” I say
“No, I’m going as a zombie-astronaut-basketball player” he says, “Quick, hand me the ketchup”
I look at him in confusion. Ketchup won’t work. But I think this is the perfect time to ask him around to do something. I grin. “I can turn you into a zombie” I say
“It’s just ketchup for the blood, I can do it by myself” he says. Still stubborn
“Ketchup attracts flies and flies can carry sickness. You don’t want that do you?” I try to persuade
“No, I don’t want to be sick” he says then thinks. “Okay fine, let’s do it your way”
I grab my makeup kit and he looks at me hesitantly. I reassure him and apply foundation on his face. With my red lip liner and eyebrow pencil, I draw cuts and rotten stuff on his face. I put dark circles around his eyes and I’ve never seen him more still. I take my lip tint to mimic that fake blood and I put a black lipstick on him. He’s so eager to look like one that he’s willing to let me do it. That’s something.
It’s almost six pm and I just finished his arms and legs. He looks like an amazing zombie. I put on his astronaut helmet and put the screen up. He is awesome. He tries to scare Em but she just laughs it off.
I take two orange shopping bags and draw a pumpkin face with washable ink. I do a quick skull face makeup with my white powder and eyebrow pencil and we’re good to go. We head outside and all the other kids are already there. We begin trick or treating and they were having a lot of fun.
As the teenager I am, I occasionally stole candies from their bags. I put some effort here, give me some credit. I deserve the candy I stole. Everyone loved Em’s costume, the parents are obsessed with my last minute costume idea and okay, marshmallow isn’t really a unique costume but our marshmallow version is authentic. It’s for real soft and chubby, just not edible.
Ed looks around and finds his friends. He’s old enough so I let him go on his own with them. Everyone had amazing costumes and we pass by my friend’s house. What do I do? I’m attending a Halloween for kids instead of those wannabe adults and their liquor. Okay, you know what, I should be proud I’m in this Halloween party. It’s safe and not boring.
By seven thirty, we head back inside the house and I had to hide the candies first or else they’ll sugar rush. I ordered some KFC for dinner and all of us ate. While in the parade of kids earlier, I enjoyed taking too much pictures that I forgot about whether or not it’s Em’s birthday today. I feel my phone vibrate and it’s Mrs. Suites. She finally decided to call me back.
“Hello? Candace? What’s happening? Are they okay?” she answers, her voice worried.
“Hi Mrs. Suites” I reply, “Everything’s doing real good here, don’t worry. I just called to ask if it’s Emily’s birthday today”
“Oh my god, is it the 31st?” she says. I say yes. “I’m so sorry, I lost time, it was just all this work going on and everything’s pressuring right n-” I cut her off.
“Mrs. Suites, Emily’s having fun right now” I say. “We’re having dinner right now, actually”
“You are? What did Em say? Is she sad we’re not there for her birthday?” she says
“She’s the opposite of sad really, there’s really nothing to be worried about” I say cheerfully
“That’s good. Thank you so much, Candace, you’re really doing our family a favor.” She says
“I’m more than happy to help” I say and she regards me to put them both to bed by nine. Lame.
It’s not a birthday celebration without a cake. I ordered us cake to celebrate Emily’s 6th birthday. It’s a candy themed cake because she loves candies. She blows her cake and makes a wish. Ed made a wish too.
“I wish Candy, our babysitter, would stay for Halloween every year” they both say. That made my heart melt quicker than a popsicle in the summer.
It’s their first Halloween and my first Halloween taking them out. It’s so cute and touching for them to remember me like that. Just in a year, I’m moving out and that’s sad. I’ll make every single day that I work with them meaningful.
I look in my Instagram and my friends are posting the party pictures. Their captions be “#makingmostofmyyouth” and honestly, that’s kinda crappy. Youth isn’t about drinking and breaking the rules, climbing the social status in school, or dating the hottest boy.
Making most of my youth is really more about having the confidence you had as a child, no matter how big your dreams are, you don’t care about what other people think, you just go for it. Ed taught me that. Screw the adult wannabes, you all will end up like Mr. and Mrs. Suites soon enough. I’m happy being with these kids because I, myself, am still a kid.