The evening started out fine. Costumes were on, pictures taken, cider in hand, coats zipped, and my sister-in-law, Ali, had voluntarily offered to walk with me for trick-or-treating. Little did she know what she about to witness.
Somewhere between house 7 and 9, Zoe decided to make T-or-T'n a competitive, full contact sport. She yelled at Charlie for walking too slow, too fast, crushing too many blades of grass, putting his foot on the doorstep first, ringing the doorbell, knocking on the door wrong, leaving the doorstep first and breathing too much oxygen. She would run in front of him to cut off his path and shove him out of the way while shrieking his name. There were a couple times when I thought he was going to take her crowbar and club her over the head with it, but like a good big brother, he refrained from using violence on his little sister. Plus, he probably figured I'd eventually take care of that for him.
It got to the point where she was criticizing the neighbors for their candy choices. "You think I want Skittles? No, I want chocolate." Apparently hauling around a bag of candy that is a fourth of your body weight while navigating suburban landscaping in the dark makes a person really, really cranky and makes them talk nonsense.
"I am done trick or treating. I want to go home. But I want to go trick or treating soon. So can I go soon? Can I? Here, carry my bag. No, GIVE ME MY BAG! Don't take my bag! I want to go soon!"
I said "it seems to me that the reason a person would walk around in the dark wearing a fireman costume is because it's Halloween. I'm pretty sure you're trick-or-treating now. Not soon."
"Well how about tomorrow. Can I do this again tomorrow? I'm done right now. I'm going home, so that I can go soon."
Seriously, what the hell.
I informed her that "if you go trick-or-treating tomorrow, all you get is salad fixin's. So you need to either stumble through the neighborhood now, or go home and be done."
This escalated into screaming, crying, flailing arms, stomping off, and more indecipherable chants. Ali stood there, wondering what had suddenly possessed her little niece and I was instantly grateful for putting that extra shot of Captain in my cider.
At some point, Zoe realized that every neighbor was outside and able to witness the mayhem. This helped her compose herself enough to walk home, where the crisis continued. Doug was a little calmer and a lot more patient (since he had been at home drinking beer with my brother this whole time), and he knows that when she's hungry, her rationality is the first thing to shut down. So after the suggestion of "give her some pizza," her personality returned, and we watched Damian fly out the window.
Last night, when I was getting her to bed, she stood there brushing her teeth and said "Man, I was so naughty on Halloween! Why was I so naughty? I cried and screamed so much! And now it's over!" I reminded her that it was only 364 sleeps until she can do it all over again. This seemed to cheer her up, and it may just be enough time for me to recover.