A Visitor on Halloween

Does this man look too young to be their grandpa?

Does this man look too young to be their grandpa?

My father-in-law is visiting from Buffalo, New York. It’s the first time he’s met the baby. He was planning to come last year but he got sick with throat cancer.

He’s much better now. His hair has grown back more thickly since he had chemo. It’s also changed color. He used to have sandy, auburn, mostly straight hair that was flecked with gray. The hair that has grown in is so dark it’s almost black, and now it’s curly.

He has a long scar from his jawline that wraps around part of his neck, where the surgeons cut when they removed the tumor, and he’s waiting for the feeling to come back on the left side of his neck. But he is so healthy now–he goes running every day, lifts weights, does push ups.

“No way!” my friend Janet said when she met my father-in-law at the Co-op yesterday. “You’re way too young to be anyone’s grandfather!”

As we walked away, Jim, Sr. nudged me, “Yeah, what she doesn’t know is that I can’t hear in one ear from the chemo, and that my eyesight’s going too…”

Last year I was miserably pregnant in the Halloween parade, wondering if the baby would be fully grown before making an appearance. It was already a few days past the due date, but I’d still have four more days to go.

This year I walked in the parade with Baby Leone on my back … for about three steps. Leone was so squirmy and unhappy that we turned back. We sat on the grass by the library and nursed. She was a lion, I an African lion hunter (wearing a Nigerian agbada and a man’s hat, wielding my deadly cloth sword.)

Leone fell asleep for the night before it was time to trick-or-treat. For the first time my oldest daughter, who’s 11, trick-or-treated with her friends, leaving her younger sister and brother to fend for themselves. An eyeball and a tree, they raced from house to house, filling their bags with candy.

Etani the Eyeball

Etani the Eyeball

The African Lion Hunter with her Baby Lion

The African Lion Hunter with her Baby Lion

Athena (a tree) and Etani after marching in the parade and trick-or-treating downtown

Athena (a tree) and Etani after marching in the parade and trick-or-treating downtown

What did you and your family do on Halloween?

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16 thoughts on “A Visitor on Halloween”

  1. So many changes from last year! It was fun to see the kids in and out of costume. Missed the eldest’s costume.

    Baby lions need their milk!

  2. For maybe the first time, I seriously enjoyed Halloween this year. We had mild weather. My daughter was finally old enough to walk the whole way without wanting to be carried. We hung out with another family that I really like. It was just laid back and blissful–and I’ve been nibbling on the proceeds ever since.
    .-= Alisa Bowman´s last blog ..Me Naked in Front of a Crowd- Part 2 =-.

  3. Halloween isn’t the done thing in New Zealand. We did have two uncostumed kids show up, but that was it.
    .-= Melanie @ Frugal Kiwi´s last blog ..Emerging =-.

  4. Our oldest went to a party and stayed overnight, so she was gone. Our youngest went trick or treating with a friend, without us. So we stayed home alone. Our doorbell rang only once. So the husband and I had a quiet dinner and then watched TV. Pretty boring. Love your kids’ costumes!

  5. Great pictures! We celebrated our Halloween all day Friday–class parties, work parties, church parties. A constant sugar buzz. Since Halloween fell on Sunday this year, we decided not to go trick-or-treating. Frankly, we had so much candy already we didn’t really need anymore.
    .-= Kristen´s last blog ..Getting kids to try new ingredients

  6. This is the first year we didn’t take the kids trick-or-treating (wah – they’re 13 and 16 now). Actually, the 13-year-old went with her friends (she was Dorothy, the rest were the Wizard of Oz gang), and the 16-year-old walked around downtown with his buddies, then we picked him up and he watched ‘The Addams Family’ marathon with my mom.

    I told my husband how cool it was that our 16-year-old son would hang with his friends AND his grammy on Halloween Night!

    As for my husband and I, we took our annual walk through our sleepy little village and walked through the woods to an old Indian cemetery. The woods was deathly quiet (not kidding on that), and there was a weird thing stalking us in the woods. We think it was a bat, but … you never know. Might have been ghostly spirits……

    Then we stopped by our friend’s annual Halloween bonfire and get this — the bonfire was going, there were chairs around the fire and cars in the driveway, but not a soul around! So we stole some candy, sat around the fire for a few minutes and continued on our way. Then came home and watched Ghost Hunter shows. It was a pretty perfect Halloween.
    .-= Jane Boursaw´s last blog ..Film Gecko Poll &amp Giveaway- What Do You Watch to Cheer Up =-.

  7. Very cute costumes — I love Leone the Lion! Elie went as Po the Teletubby, and people kept wondering where we got the costume. Um, 1998? That’s when we bought it for 2-year-old Sadie.


    I’m so glad to hear that James’ dad is doing well and got to come see the kids. What awesome news!!


  8. For Halloween, we didn’t do a whole lot. The children dressed up at the last minute and went around our neighborhood, but trick or treat/Halloween is still a rather new phenomenon here in Japan so there weren’t a lot of houses to go to. It was just the right amount – not too overwhelming!

    I’m really very glad that James’ dad is doing OK and got to meet Leone! Great photo of everyone.
    .-= Christine´s last blog ..Knitting for babies =-.

  9. My kids are older (15 & 18!!) but both still dressed up in wacky, homemade costumes and went to a local event. No trick or treating for them, though.
    .-= kris´s last blog .. =-.

  10. I was so happy to have the update on your father-in-law. Cancer–in any guise–is so scary. It’s good to have know that someone who was mentioned earlier in your blog as a victim is a (very handsome and healthy-looking!) survivor.

  11. What awesome costumes! We usually make ours too, and this year my oldest kids (twins) made Thing 1 and Thing 2 costumes and went out with the Cat in the Hat. My next youngest was a mad scientist (and thrilled that he could use a costume that came from his own father’s clothes for a second year in a row-he was a science geek last year.) My youngest was a garden gnome on a toadstool. She said it was the best costume ever. I said never again! (It involved a hula hoop). But she was really happy so that’s all that really mattered. My husband even got in on the action and made a 10 foot tall Dementor costume for himself and had a ball scaring the trick-or-treaters who were actually brave enough to come to our door. The night before Halloween my youngest had her 10th birthday party and her 13 year-old sisters and 12 year-old brother (and a big group of their friends) made a haunted path through the woods for the little kids to walk through. It was pretty awesome. They came up with floating dummies, costumes, scripts, a haunted graveyard and a caged freak. I think they’ll all remember it!

  12. Great story and photos, Jennifer! Nice job with the original costumes on Etani & Athena! Liked reading of your father-in-laws visit; I hope it was enjoyable for all! And THANK YOU for having my kids over yesterday.

    Gratefully, V

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