Halloween Is Scary? Hang Out With A Toddler!


Halloween is here — hooray! It’s time to scare your friends by donning a scary mask, leaping from a closet and screaming at the top of your lungs.

And Halloween is fun for kids, too.

They get to eat cupcakes all day and candy all night. The house is draped in orange and black, and mom serves them Kool-Aid with plastic spiders entrapped in the ice cubes. On this holiday, everyone gets to dress as their alter-ego, and people say all sorts of things they wouldn’t dare say if they weren’t embracing their dark side. It’s the most liberating of holidays!

But if you want to be really scared — so scared you almost have a heart attack for real — share your daily life with a two year old. The chills never stop. From toddling out into traffic to running with scissors, these little monsters are blissfully unaware of danger. In fact, they are so adamant that it doesn’t exist, they will fight you to the death for the right to play in the knife drawer.

My daughter Jen has one of these creatures. Her two-year-old son, Skippy, is both the light of her life and the source of her deepest fears. Welcome to parenthood.

Last weekend, she packed him up and took him to the Mother Earth News Fair where her husband, a farmer of microgreens and builder of movable greenhouses, had rented three booths in which to display his wares. He was surrounded by craftspeople, tool-makers and other farmers. There was a lot to see and a lot to learn. In addition to people wanting to become more self-sufficient, the event also attracted plenty of “preppers, Doomsdayers and hippies,” in Jen’s words.

Oh, Skippy had a ball. In the first place, Greg’s booths were right next to a tractor display. It was like an indoor playground — with blades! In the second place, both parents were somewhat distracted. Freedom!

They found him playing hide-and-go-seek with six year olds, climbing threshing machines and trying to eat things off the floor. Yet the day went fairly well, so Jen, toting Skippy, his infant sister and all the support paraphernalia needed, managed to get everybody back to the hotel to rest up for day two.

It was when she brought Skippy out into the hallway to show him how the ice machine worked that things turned grim. In short, he was gone.

Frantic, Jen searched the hallways and stairwell to no avail. (Insert movie-grade scream here.)

He couldn’t have taken an elevator, could he? He could. But which one?

Jen raced inside, went up a floor, down a floor, up two floors and down two floors, all the while trying not to think about lonely, misguided or depraved people who think they want a two year old.

By now a perspiring nervous wreck, she finally found him in the lobby, making polite two-word conversation with the girl at the front desk.

On the bright side, he hadn’t pressed the alarm button… and ended up safe at home in time to go trick-or-treating.