We started the day with our usual Friday storytime at Barnes & Noble, though this time, we went in costume! Ellie wore her Minnie Mouse costume again, and E.J. wore a "My First Halloween" shirt with his pumpkin hat. Cuties, the both of them.
Look at these Halloween kids!
Minnie Mouse listening to the story
After storytime we stopped by the play area at the St. John's Town Center to burn off a little energy.
In this picture Ellie is running in circles around the playground after a couple of little boys. She's yelling back at me, "Can I chase the boys, Mama?"
NO. NO, YOU MAY NOT.
VIDEO: Ellie showing how ready she is for Halloween fun!
With my kids at the playground!
Then it was home for lunch and naps to prepare for the busy night ahead!
When the kiddos woke up we got moving with dinner for Ellie and got ourselves into costume. We snapped a couple of quick "before" pictures before we left the house.
This family is READY for some Halloween fun!
Wendy wearing Peter Pan!
We decided to actually go real, old-fashioned trick-or-treating this year! Last year we just did Mall-O-Ween and the year before that we were without power thanks to Hurricane Sandy, then eventually participated in the Hoboken Ragamuffin Halloween Parade, so this was Ellie's first attempt at real life in-the-neighborhood trick-or-treating. We had been priming her both with at-home practice and our Mall-O-Ween excursion this year, so we were anxious to see how it would go.
Captain Hook and Tinkerbell, ready for some trick-or-treating action!
The hook made a handy bucket holder
Hanging out with Peter Pan along our walk
The answer: it went great! We don't have a ton of houses in our immediate neighborhood so we walked along the river to the next big neighborhood closest to us, the one surrounding Ellie's beloved "seahorse park." We stopped at one house on our way out there for Ellie's first official trick-or-treat, and she nailed it! She went right up to the house (with me), said "trick or treat" and held out her little bucket. The homeowners were so smitten with her they gave her handfuls of candy. And just like that, she was hooked.
First real trick-or-treat!
She ran from house to house, barely using the stroller at all. She wanted me to hold her hand, while Daddy was in charge of holding the bucket of candy between houses. She said "trick or treat" at every house, and sometimes even "Happy Halloween," and then she would bound back down the walkway saying, "Can we find some more trick or treat please?"
Can you spot her in the crowd?
Waiting for their tricks or treats!
"That was fun! Let's do it again!"
I was very impressed with Ellie's stamina! We made it much further than we expected, and she walked almost the entire way herself. She did well with the crowds and wasn't too incessant in asking to eat her candy (and we did let her sample the goods here and there). By the end, she was wearing down, but who wasn't?
Captain Hook giving Tinkerbell a ride
E.J. was also a total trooper. He didn't sleep at all, but he hung out quietly in the carrier for the most part. He was looking pretty sleepy on the way home but he really was so good.
He is the SWEETEST.
When we could tell that the kiddos had had enough (and we had already covered way more ground than anticipated), we made our way home. What a great first trick-or-treating experience we had!
Yeah, we totally had a homeowner take our picture in action. They offered!
We got the kids home and nestled all snug in their beds, and then Eric and I checked out Ellie's haul. And what a haul it was! We had joked that trick-or-treating in the neighborhood around the park could produce some great earnings (that neighborhood is comprised of rather large homes directly along the riverfront), and in jest had said that we bet we'd even get some full size candy bars over there! Well, my friends, full size candy bars are not just something out of Halloween lore, as I had previously thought. In fact, one house along our route not only was giving out full size candy bars, but they had a full selection of them lined up on a table and told their trick-or-treaters to pick two. Generous folks, and lucky kids!
Look at that loot!
Or should I say, "lucky parents?" Because after checking everything for razorblades and such as good parents should, we snagged our favorites from Ellie's bucket and paired them with a nice red wine to wrap up the evening. That, my friends, was worth having children for. (Sure, they're great for more than that, but a fun evening followed by free candy doesn't hurt their cause.)
A perfect end to a perfect Halloween!
Really, all joking aside, we had an absolute blast this Halloween with those two little crazies. Ellie was just so much more into everything this year - she could understand it, and participate, and be excited about it. It was so much fun to watch. And as for E.J., who is adorable and smiley about everything anyway, it was just really fun to have him along for his first go at this Halloween thing. As I was putting E.J. to bed that night I felt myself growing absolutely giddy about the upcoming holiday season. Ellie is just going to love everything, and the first set of holidays for a baby is always magical in and of itself. This holiday season just might be one of the very best ever, and I can hardly wait!