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Most American kids are well-versed in the art of Hallowe’en. They know when it happens, and keep close eyes on the calendar for the weeks leading up to the actual day. They know why it happens, and plot out costumes and routes like generals preparing for a major battle. After a few years, they get to know the “who” as well, and eagerly point out neighbors who have the best decorations and the highest-demand treats.

Junior is more laid-back than many of his peers. One day is as good as the next, and the calendar is only interesting as a source of numbers. The idea of Hallowe’en held no interest for him.

Note the use of the past tense.

A couple of weeks ahead of time, I broached the subject with Junior. He was happily involved in a peanut butter sandwich. Going with the idea that a well-fed kid is an agreeable kid, I made my play.

“Hey, little man! It’s time to figure out your costume!”

“All done wif costume.”

“Oh, but you need a costume; it’s almost Hallowe’en.”

“We can NOT have a costume.”

Hm. Something was obviously missing from my approach; he was completely dismissive of the whole idea. Ah, well, he probably just needed a reminder about the upcoming holiday. I tried again.

“If you don’t have a costume, you won’t be able to go trick-or-treating.”

Junior scowled into his sandwich. “We can NOT go trick-or-treating. No costume. All done.”

Well, shoot. There I was, all fired up with the creative spirit, and Junior was dumping water on the flame. There had to be some way to get him interested in Hallowe’en and its attendant activities. I decided to use reverse psychology.

“Oh, well. If you don’t want to go, we don’t have to. But trick-or-treating is when we get dressed up and people give us candy.”

That got him. Junior’s head whipped around to stare directly at me. He considered this new information, chewing thoughtfully. He swallowed his bite of sandwich.

“Want a costume!”

Junior chose an alligator costume, which was duly run up on my sewing machine and accessorized with a green beanie that featured teeth and googly eyes. He was the cutest darned alligator in the history of ever.

I have witnesses.

After his initial opposition, Junior decided that this Hallowe’en business was fine by him. It seems I’ve created a monster, rather than an alligator. Every morning now starts with the same enthusiastic announcement.

“Had fun wif trick-or-treat! Wanna go some more!”