Have you ever heard of Trunk or Treat? I thought it was a crazy idea, truth be told. I mean really, what kid doesn’t want to roam a neighborhood and go trick or treating? A parking lot seemed (I admit) kind of lame. As with most things, having a Bridget in my life changed my position.
Bridget has never been able to trick or treat with success. Unless we count her second year, but really she just hung out in the stroller. She was content, if a bit frozen.
Subsequent years it became obvious that Bridget would not be one of those children who anxiously waited for Halloween. She could not handle the dark, the kids running around or general chaos. Bridget also had a difficult time realizing that she was not being invited into someone’s home for the night. My mother-in-law lives in a great neighborhood. A tradition began that I would drop Bridget off with her to hand out candy while I took Abby around the hood.
I know it should not bother me, when Bridget is excluded (especially when I am the one doing the exuding!), but it does. Then this year something new happened in our town. Our police department hosted the first ever Trunk or Treat. It was held during the day, the weather was beautiful and I decided to take a chance. Mom of the year that I am, Bridget did not have a costume. Thankfully she did have a sister who used to think playing dress up was the best thing ever and a dad who refuses to thrown anything away. A quick run into the attic and a costume was found:
Choosing to go early to Trunk or Treat was a great idea. Not truly thinking out a game plan to avoid the scary pirate was probably not a wise choice. As Bridget went timidly from police car to police car she slowly gained confidence, whispering a very quiet thank you. Then came the pirate. As an adult or as a typical kid, their car decorations were super cool. As a child with a sensory processing issue and general lack of verbal skills it was slightly terrifying. (But seriously cool!)
There was no way on this earth that Bridget was putting her hand in that trunk. I mean, even if Tinkerbelle herself were trapped in Capt Hook’s trunk Bridget, would have left her behind to deal with the consequences. Then this happened:
The car next to the Pirate quietly said to Bridget, Happy Halloween. She got down to Bridget’s level, made eye contact and spoke in a soft voice. She gently encouraged Bridget to take a treat and treated her as if she was the only one in line. Taking the time to allow Bridget to choose her treat at her own pace, not giving a care in the world to those waiting in line behind us.
For the first time in her life, Bridget had a great experience trick or treating. She told everyone she came into contact with that she trick treat. The only downside was trying to explain to her why she couldn’t wear her purple dress to school this morning. Her sister, she went later with the big kids for the traditional Halloween. Raking in lots of candy and running around like an excited
child Artemis just as she should.
I’m considering this a parenting win: both girls having the exact Halloween then needed and deserved. And this face? The expression on her face makes me hope that our town has started a new tradition.
Special thanks to the Sandwich Police Department, the Sandwich Citizens Police and especially the President of our STEM/SHS PTSA for giving Bridget her first true Halloween.