There is good news and bad news.
The bad news is that this will be the first Halloween I don't get to spend with my grandkids in the four-plus years since Sooby was born. On the brighter side, we have already racked up some serious pre-Halloween fun. We have stuffed a scarecrow with straw and roasted hot dogs and marshmallows at the farm. Twice now they have terrorized the house and yard in the costumes I bought last November at Wal-Mart for 75% off.
Speaking of which, there is good news and bad news on that front as well. Sooby's candy corn witch outfit, though adorable, was not without its drawbacks. Once the spring-hoop skirt emerged from the package where it had been restrained against its will for Lord-knows-how-long, it refused to go back in like a good little article of clothing. For the two weeks that followed, it took up so much room that it practically required its own closet.
Then, there was the problem with the hat, an ingeniously designed little headpiece shaped like the traditional witch hat but colored yellow, orange, and white like a piece of candy corn. In his or her preoccupation with aesthetics, the designer failed to take into account the centrifugal force that comes into play when a child reaches mach speed and negotiates a 180-degree turn. Translation: the hat won't stay on. But good news prevails once more when Googie whips out her trusty needle and thread, slices a shoestring in half, and fashions a clever, makeshift tie that fastens right beneath the chin of the whirlwind. Once again, all is right with the world.
That is, until we get to Pooh, whom I had envisioned in the requisite headband and a little black Ninja jumpsuit whose bright blue apron is emblazoned with a very mean-looking golden bird of some sort. The bad news is that the Ninja costume has never hai-karated itself out of the package. Instead, Pooh has been obsessed with an old skeleton costume that I picked up at a garage sale a couple years ago for a quarter. It seems that he rather likes being a "'keleton."
The good news here is manifold. He is absolutely the cutest 'keleton I have ever seen, and the Ninja suit will more than likely still fit him next year. As an added advantage, his little bones will glow in the dark while he trick-or-treats, duly terrorizing his baby sister while enhancing his safety. OK, so no foul here.
Here is what is foul. I absolutely could not wait to see Baby Bootsie as a wooly little white lamb, and the suit did not disappoint. It was soft and cuddly and couldn't have fit her better, from the fleecy bodice to the little pink satiny hooves. Indeed, Googie was patting herself on the back from the utter perfection of this picture--that is, until we looked around for the hat.
We looked everywhere. The fluffy tie-on hat with the little pink ears was nowhere to be found. It had either been omitted by the manufacturer or lost somehow in the giant Wal-Mart bin as greedy customers like Googie churned and pawed the contents in search of the perfect deal. Clearly, it was a situation where the emptor did not caveat quite enough, and, let me tell you, I was one disappointed emptor. However, the good news is that Bootsie's mama thinks it will not be too hard to fashion substitute ears for our little lamb, and she will not have to take to the streets as the sheep-like equivalent of a centaur.
And so, as Halloween arrives a few nights from now, I will miss the jack-o-lantern carving and cookie decorating of the past several years, and that might be construed as bad news. But I understand that, although I am and will always be the only true Googie, we are not the only grandparents, and this year it is our turn to share.
On Monday night I will watch out the door as hordes of costume-clad children revel in the excitement of their annual candy-gathering odyssey. And in my mind's eye, I will see a candy corn witch, a 'keleton, and maybe a little earless lamb doing the same, and that, any way you look at it, is good news.