Another Halloween gone, and this was the first one in five years without a children's concert organized by my mum and some friends for the Metro Manila Chamber Orchestra. Little A has been to them every year since he was one, loving the pre-show musical instrument "petting zoo" but never sitting through the entire musical section in the theatre. No matter, as this Halloween he experienced proper trick or treating for the first time.
As we live in a building and not a house, there is a Halloween party for children where they are given bags of sweets and other goodies. The residents are also encouraged to join in, so kids can knock on certain, pre-arranged, doors and get some more candy. Fun enough, but, for someone who grew up experiencing the real thing, rather lacking.
The village where I spent most of my life has long been known for its Halloween festivities. Houses go all out in terms of decor, with some setting up entire scenes for photo backgrounds, and treats can range from Barbie dolls to scoops of ice cream for every lucky person who walks by. Children and young adults go door to door, sometimes getting from one street to another in their parents' cars, or using the more popular village transport of the family golf cart, for those lucky enough to own one.
Once one has outgrown the fun of gathering treats, handing them out is the next best thing. As college students we all stayed home to distribute candy to the youngsters, and then met up later that night for our own parties. Oh, the memories!
Ever since I moved away from home nearly a decade ago, I've avoided my parents' village like the plague on October 31st, because the traffic getting in and out of the gates on that day (and night) is simply horrific, with people coming from far and wide to get the full Halloween experience. This year though, Little A had speech therapy.
Since April, he's been having PROMPT therapy in addition to standard speech sessions. Since PROMPT practicioners are even harder to come by than regular speech pathologists, it is extremely difficult to find one near you. The nearest one we've found is from so far south that she meets us in the middle - at my parents' house two afternoons a week.
As there was no school, we moved his session earlier on Halloween Day. Thank goodness for that, as even at lunchtime the queues of cars entering the village gates were already long. After his session, I took him to my best friend's house, where he finally got to experience a "real" Trick or Treat. He played a little with the other kids, and then we went by a few houses on the way back home.
Little A loved seeing the other children in their costumes and dutifully held out his plastic pumpkin when prompted to receive his sweets. Never mind that he doesn't eat them, all the fun is in walking the streets, and fun he had. Perhaps we'll do it again next year.