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2005-11-01 | 1:33 a.m.

One thing about Halloween is how, in the weeks leading up to the big day, the kids obsess over the elements of their costumes. Jinx could not rest until he had the perfect bow and arrow set. It couldn't have three strings, oh no. That would be the wrong kind. Then the girls decided a week ago that they had to have wings, a set apiece, even though everyone knows witches don't have wings. And they're fifteen dollars each, these wings, and they both have to have them, because they're Twitches. You understand? Fishnet stockings, temporary hair color, fake fingernails, mocassins, high-heeled boots, a yard of half-inch-wide ultrasuede and a dozen feathers. It's like a scavenger hunt in the first circle of hell.

But the funny part is that as soon as it is actually six o'clock on Halloween, these same children turn into, I don't know, Olympic athletes. Suddenly, they're peeling all this shit off and stuffing it into your hands, muttering about how it's slowing them down. "I can't carry this!!" Jinx shrieks, thrusting the long-sought bow in my general direction. "They're too itchy!!" Criminy complains, shrugging off her three-foot wingspan. High heels, hats, false eyelashes, canteen--everything but the essential uniform is jettisoned faster than candy corn. Because, you see, they've got to make time. There is a whole neighborhood to be canvassed, as fast as their feet will carry them. There is candy to be had and it's going fast. Other kids, kids with pillowcases, are already on the move. Step aside, Mama. We're trick or treating.

P.S.: It's Mike's birthday today. Happy birthday, Mike! Still younger than I am, damn it.

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