Devil in disguise

Tricks or treats? My daughters share a moment


So I survived another Halloween, the only candy-infused holiday that condones running down the middle of the street with a grape sucker in your mouth. My daughters, 10 and 14, were happy with their score and there seemed to be more chocolate this year, a welcomed alternative to sweet tarts, gum drop-y things and –  the mother of all bad choices – small, plastic, sugar-free toys. Those are lost in the pumpkin pail faster than a fruitcake at the doorstep.

There were lots of creative costumes this year and others that left you scratching your head about what exactly the kid was thinking. My girls decided to return to the traditional with one daughter as the angel and the other as the devil. Our not so complex attempt at symbolism was lost on most.

My 10-year-old, Caroline,  is a really sweet kid. She makes good grades, loves piano and mostly does what I ask. She’s the most enthusiastic trick-or-treater you’ve ever met. Easily the angel. My 14-year-old, Meredith, however, has almost every difficult trait of an average teenager and she also likes to asks dozens of questions turning trick-or-treating  into an odyssey.

“Where are we going, Mama?”

“Are we going to that house?”

Why can’t we ring that doorbell?”

“I didn’t get any candy.”

As we have done in the past, we are starting our night of candy freeloading in my mother’s neighborhood because she lives on a cove and fewer cars are coming and going. Traffic can be a considerable safety hazard for Meredith. She holds on to me tightly as we begin our trek at dusk hitting the first house that has a few steps down to the front door. Throughout the evening. Meredith spends much of her time watching her feet as she traverses driveways, rocky paths, curbs and uneven steps.

As I watched all the kids running in packs around parked cars and mailboxes and little walls, I saw a lifetime of barriers for Meredith, but I also saw an awfully determined teenager, who desperately wants to be like everyone else.

When we got home, my husband Jim took the girls to a few more houses in our neighborhood  and I waited on the porch to hand out treats. We didn’t have many visitors, but when I saw the flowing red cape and white halo coming back to the house, something hit me about what my daughters might look like in a few years, beyond the costumes. I saw a 10-year-old that was willing to sacrifice trick-0r-treating at a more popular street because it wasn’t safe for her sister. An angel and a devil? Nah. Maybe two superheroes.







Sarah Barnes
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