As an adult, there are few better places to celebrate Halloween than New York City.
The available activities are incredibly diverse and there's usually something to cater to every type of personality. Over the course of the evening, you can watch the amazing puppets and costumed freaks at the Village Halloween Parade, run the Spooky Costume Race at Grand Central, attend the Procession of Ghouls at St. John the Divine, take in a scary book reading at the NY Public Library, or take a quick visit to the world's scariest Haunted House.
However, as a little kid, Halloween in the city is even better! None of this walking from house to house in order to go trick-or-treating. Hell, that would take forever!
Back in the day when I would go trick-or-treating, my friends and I would draw up strategic plans the night before. We'd figure out who lived in the biggest apartment building and then we'd map out our route. Our prime objective was to find a building that housed over 250-300 units.
In NYC, you can't just go around and knock on random doors. You might end up waking up a serial killer or running into an underground meth lab. No, there's a certain system that's evolved over the years. Usually, there are two ways to figure out who in the building is welcoming trick-or-treaters and giving out candy. People either put a little pumpkin sticker on their door or there would be a master list in the building lobby stating each unit that would be doling out goodies that night. Normally, we'd start on the top floor and work our way down the building. On a good night, we'd EACH haul in several enormous shopping bags of candy within an hour. Man, sometimes that candy lasted me for a whole year.
These days, as New York has become more gentrified, various neighborhoods around the city close off their streets so families can safely walk around and collect candy from various shopkeepers. Our neighborhood in Tribeca has become one of the more common areas for kids to trick-or-treat so it's always a great place to check out kids in their costumes. Since the Peanut is still a little too young, we thought we'd play it mellow and just go over to a friend's restaurant and watch people walk by.
Of course, we had to dress Peanut in costume. And due to her undying love for all things Elmo, we bought her a cute little Elmo costume, thinking that she'd absolutely love it. As usual, we couldn't have been more wrong.
The Elmo costume freaked the crap out of her and she wanted no part of it. Total and utter meltdown ensued. I'm talking tears, screams, wails and kicks.
Perhaps it was the shock of seeing an amorphously hollow Elmo with both his skin and head peeled off? Maybe she was scared because whatever sucked the skeletal corpus out of Elmo might do the same to her?
Personally, I like to think that the idea of putting on an Elmo costume raised too many existential questions in her tiny little head. Who am I? Am I Elmo? Are Elmo and I a singular being? Where do I end and where does Elmo begin? How did I enter this world?
Anyway, it's a good thing that my brilliant and beautiful wife suspected this might happen and bought a cheap back-up costume...