A tutu, handmade by a friend, a simple white onesie, and white tights. Fairy wings from the dollar store, and a ribbon crown bought at Enchanted Forest around her first birthday. Total cost about $10, a simple DIY Halloween costume. But on this little girl, it sparkled. My little fairy princess.
The other kids were much bigger and faster. Repeatedly they were told to slow down and wait for Ellery, who was running the whole time, laughing to herself, glancing up at her dad excitedly as we made our way from house to house. The first house included some confusion. She didn't know why she was carrying the empty Starbucks paper bag, or why the door was opened for her, so she just tried to walk in. At the next house, she meekly held out her bag, as the kind inhabitants placed a small piece of candy inside. By the third or fourth house, she'd figured it out, and was unabashedly reaching in to the bowls of candy to pick what she wanted. Granted, she had no idea what she wanted, having never tasted any of this candy before.
The joy was impossible to contain. She was giddy, and when I asked her if she got more candy, she yelled out, "CANDY!" She struggled any time Sam or I tried to carry her, saying, "Down, down," until we set her back on the sidewalk. She would then obediently reach out her hand for ours, and wrap her tiny hand around our index fingers while she raced to try and catch up with her cousin and friends.
It was a very family friendly neighborhood, and most houses were well-lit, with kind people inside who constantly commented on what a precious little fairy she was. One house was dark except for a glowing red light, and three people dressed in very scary looking skeleton masks were sitting on the porch, handing out candy. We skipped that house and I clenched my teeth, wondering why some people have to take it too far, and make a day that could be fun into something on the verge of evil. When you know you'll have young children coming to your house all night, what makes you think it's a good idea to be very scary? Not just creepy in a fun way, but scary? And similarly, why would you allow your child to dress in such a scary costume? We saw lots of Princess Elsas and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, but occasionally there was the little boy in the demon mask, or the freakish-looking zombie makeup, and I can't help but wonder what these parents are thinking. I don't typically like to judge other parents, but in this case, I judge. Parents, quit dressing your kids up in such evil costumes. Who cares if that's what the child wants? You're the adult; say no.
Yes, there were some annoyances, but for the most part it was just a fun night. It was the sweetest thing to watch her experience something new, to figure out that most of the people were simply excited to see the children in costume, and to happily hand out candy. Personally, I got numerous comments about whether or not my belly was a costume. Yep, I really am pregnant, and no, I didn't strap on a fake belly just for Halloween. Sam and I just laughed and laughed at our little girl, who daily gets more entertaining and fun. It's the perfect age, and if I could, I'd freeze time right now. I want to keep watching her learn and explore and discover, to laugh when she realizes that she can fake a laugh, and that when she does, we laugh with her. I want to keep her at this age where she gives us sweet kisses and hugs, her little voice raspy as she repeats every word she hears. (I also prefer this age where we can dump her candy back in the bowl for more trick-or-treaters, and she is none the wiser.)
Last night was the first time in a long time I had fun on Halloween, and it was all because of Ellery. She really does make every experience better. The only thing I can think of that hasn't gotten better with Ellery around is sleeping, but I've slowly learned to live with far less sleep than I ever thought possible.
I'm going to relish these years when Ellery is still young enough to enjoy the simple, fun parts of the day, where it still feels okay and safe to go trick-or-treating. I still won't decorate my house, though I'm sure when Ellery is a little older she might want to carve a pumpkin. But I am going to enjoy these years, when I get to see everything through Ellery's eyes, and be reminded again of how fun and special life is, a wide open world ready to be discovered. This little girl has taken her cynical, somewhat jaded mother and made me softer, happier, and more content.
Thanks, baby girl. I don't think we could have picked a more perfect name for you, little Ellery, our "bringer of joy". You bring joy to everyone around you, every day.