Now that Carter was old enough to understand what candy was, how Allison and I use it as our primary bargaining tool, and how much he loves it, we were all looking forward to the Halloween experience this year.

The festivities started early in the week, with a Halloween party and “Fall Program” at Carter’s school on Tuesday. We were told that the kids were going to dress up in their costumes and sing a couple of songs that they had been practicing the past few weeks. Leading up to the event, I had this vision in my mind of all the kids standing together singing in unison and perfect harmony, and we would capture this unforgettable moment on video — I couldn’t have been more wrong. While they were able to round up all the kids and have them sit relatively close to one another, very few of them actually sang, nor even realized what was going on. All of the different costumes, coupled with the crowd of parents, might have been a little too much for them to handle. Regardless, it was still cute to see Carter up there all by himself in his Batman costume, with the rest of his classmates.

The next two days flew by, and before we knew it, Halloween was upon us and it was time to set Carter loose on the neighborhood. We got Carter all bundled up and made sure his costume was just right. Prior to leaving the house, we asked Carter to take a few photos, to which he surprisingly obliged.

What happened next surprised both Allison and I, even as seasoned as we’ve become to a toddler’s unpredictable nature — he decided he didn’t want to go trick-or-treating anymore. As we got to the end of the driveway, he said he wanted to go back home. Thinking it was a momentary lapse in judgement, we did what we normally do, which was to continue walking down the street, forcing Carter into the “wait for me” routine. While this did eventually happen, he wasn’t too happy about it, and while the photo below appears to show a defiant Batman protecting his streets, he was a little upset we were making him walk by himself.

After very little convincing, that consisted of Allison and I telling Carter how much candy he was about to get, he was back on the trick-or-treating bandwagon. Each house we left, we continually practiced the “trick-or-treat”/”thank you” script, and Carter got the hang of it as the night went on. Luckily for him, there weren’t actually too many kids on our block, so when we got to houses where they offered “take as many as you want,” Carter seized the opportunity.

About 45 minutes later, with a trip just up and down our block, we had filled up Carter’s candy bag three or four times over, and were ready to head back and sort through his haul. On the way home, we ran into our neighbor who, coincidentally enough, was dressed as Batman’s trusty sidekick, and was nice enough to stop for a photo-op.

Once we got back home, Carter sorted through his candy the most logical way, by sampling it. Not sure how we managed to, but we actually stopped him from eating all of his candy without too much fuss. Afterwards, Allison had both he and Mugsy don their matching hot dog costumes, for what has become her annual tradition — we’ll see how many more years this lasts. A good ending to a fun and very successful night of trick-or-treating for Carter.