It seemed so perfect and so simple: Chooch being Daryl Dixon, his favorite character from The Walking Dead.
For once, I wouldn’t have to piss around with zombie makeup or clown makeup. And he would be comfortable! No itchy wigs! No coagulating fake blood on his face! No masks! (We did the Jason Voorhees thing when he was three, and that was stupid. A three-year-old in a mask? What were we thinking.)
I figured, “Oh, I’ll just peruse eBay for some toy crossbows, it’s all good.” And there were tons of toy crossbows on there! Some were REALLY CHEAP, too. But of course, I waited until the last minute because I kept getting distracted and missing the auctions. Finally, a week before Halloween, I snagged one with literally three seconds left. I’m not lying. Three seconds. And I got it for like $5, free shipping!
Too bad the estimated delivery date was November 1.
Henry went to one of the thrift stores one night shortly after that and found a toy crossbow in a bin. He sent me a picture of it and walked around while waiting for my response. Of course, some douchebag snatched it up right before I was able to respond to Henry’s text. Henry, learn to be more assertive! You don’t always need my permission! (I can’t believe I just admitted that.)
Meanwhile, the plastic ears I also purchased from eBay had arrived. Never mind that they were over-sized and meant to impersonate an elf. I painted them zombie-green and felt relieved that at least one component of the costume was ready.
You can kind of see his zombie ear trophy necklace here. I wish I had more time — I’d have made the ears myself. And by that I mean I would have sliced them off the missionaries we keep chained up in the basement next to the litter box and then let them decompose a little on their own before giving them a nice, preserving shellac.
The last part (aside from the clothing, which was easy to pull together – I just sent Henry out with his redneck fashion sensibilities and he sniffed out an outfit right quick, y’all) was the squirrel catch that Daryl has hanging from a rope on his side.
Plush squirrels are really fucking hard to find. And instead of focusing on that, I was too busy checking the tracking info for the crossbow, which was steady holding at November 1.
Then Hurricane Sandy happened and most of Western PA’s trick-or-treating was pushed to Saturday, November 3, buying us more time.
Not that it mattered — when the crossbow arrived the day after Halloween, it was THE SIZE OF MY HAND. That’s what I get for never reading descriptions. I was actually at work when this happened, and Henry informed me via text. I was already having a horrible day, so this turn of events had me heading for the bathroom for a quick cry.
My immediate response to adversity is to cry uncle. “Just take him to the Halloween store and let him pick out some stupid store-bought costume, I DON’T CARE ANYMORE!” I texted Henry while trying to maintain a pleasant face for my unaware co-workers. Keeping it together is probably the hardest exercise in my regimen.
The shit that goes on behind the scenes in my head, you guys. The shit that goes on.
While I spent the rest of the night with sparking synapses at work, Henry and Chooch went out and found a plush dog toy (that was my idea! To check dog toys!) that is actually a fox, but resembles a squirrel enough. So that was a relief. And then when I went home that night, Henry showed me some wooden pop gun he found and a thin, flexible piece of wood and explained that he was going to turn those two things into a crossbow.
And by George, that’s exactly what he did! THANK GOD FOR HENRY. A goddamn Halloween hero.
Ha-ha-ha, those fucking ears. I mean, at least they stood out. I guess.
It was way too cold for him to go sleeveless, obviously.
And just like last year’s Zombie Bieber fail, pretty much no one knew who he was supposed to be.
We opted out of Brookline and instead went to Henry’s sister Kelly’s neighborhood in Bethel Park to trick-or-treat with Chooch’s cousin Zac, because going in groups is way more fun. Steph and her boyfriend Kian made sure to keep a two-house distance from the rest of us, though. Trust me, I know – adults are lame! I always get stuck with them!
This picture if blurry as shit but I don’t care — it was difficult enough to get one; I wasn’t about to make them stand there any longer.
We were joined by Kelly’s neighbors and their 7-year-old twins, Maya and Luke. At first I was skeptical, because you know me and kids. But they were super cool and Maya had biting wit to match Chooch’s. I think he fell in love with her.
And the parents were fun, too! It was a good time.
Henry had morphed into that weird, obnoxious Trick or Treating Coach again (“THAT HOUSE DOESN’T HAVE ANY LIGHTS ON! DON’T CROSS THE STREET YET OR ELSE YOU WON’T HAVE ANYTHING TO DO ON THE WAY BACK! STOP CUTTING THROUGH THE YARDS! DON’T RUN — PACE YOURSELVES!”) so I hung back with Kelly and the other two parents most of the time.
In Brookline, we barely see any trick-or-treaters when we’re out. I know that there were definitely less kids out this year because it was moved to a different night, but it just seems like trick-or-treating is a dying tradition and it makes me so fucking sad. When I was a kid (I hate that I’m old enough to start stories with that bullshit line now), I remember there being swarms of kids out on Halloween, and you fucking stayed out until the last minute, when all of the houses started turning off their porch lights and your pillow case was so full, you had to drag it behind you like a dead body. It’s so different now. Kids start whining after one street! ONE STREET! This isn’t slave labor — you’re getting FREE CANDY just for looking adorable in your stupid costume, so STFU about it! My god.
Maybe if there was an app for it, more kids would have interest.
Here’s where coach Henry would holler, “USE THE STEPS!!!”
One house had their gazebo transformed into a haunted house. Kelly was too scared to approach it so she stayed on the street. I made sure to tell her kids later that their mom is a wuss.
At the house across the street from that one, I heard the guy handing out candy say, “Oh look! He’s Daryl from The Walking Dead!” and that was all the validation I needed. Thank you, That Guy.
There was a group of teenaged girls dressed in regular clothes and select Hot Topic head accoutrements who were trick-or-treating. We kept passing them and literally everything down to their very essence was irritating me. I mean, if you’re going to be taking candy from peoples’ houses, at least put some effort into your costume. Maybe go as a pregnancy test. At one point, they were passing our little group of kids and overheard one of them saying, “Happy Halloween!”
“It’s not Halloween,” a tall one beneath a stupid fuzzy monster hat said in a shitty teenaged sneer. “It’s November 3rd.”
WELL, IT’S HALLOWEEN TO THEM, OK? OMG I wanted to slap that fucking snarled lip right off her pizza face.
I was totally never like that when I was that age.
OK, I was. But still! Maybe if more grown-ups had called me out, I would still be the same asshole I am today, so never mind.
Chooch’s crossbow broke at the very last house. Surprising it lasted that long.
<3 <3 <3 <3
Seriously, if Daryl dies, I’m done watching The Walking Dead.