free candy, a reason to re-watch Ernest Scared Stupid and The Worst Witch, license to play dress up, and best of all, the thing that makes this holiday different from all others, no family obligations, no relatives to endure or phone calls to makeAs a kid, I'd dress up for the holiday, and I could still do that now, but there's a greater role to play here. As I watched my daughter go door to door as Cinderella, I summed it up in three words:
Overt, alert, inertMy daughter is firmly in the driver's seat for maximum enjoyment. If she wants to skip a house because she doesn't like the look of it or because the next one down has grabbed her attention and won't let go, fine. When she wants to take a rest in the car, we've got all night. I'm there to school her on certain boundaries (the right ways to get someone to the door, take one candy, and always say "thank you" as you run away), but otherwise: inert.
I'm also there to see and be seen. When a little girl comes to someone's door, and they wonder where her guardian is, they'll look around. I want them to find me quickly, and ideally I want them to find me looking right at them. There are those who'd like to scare a little girl, in the spirit of the holiday, and I accept that to a very limited degree. I want them to know that if they go too far, there's a witness. Now that I think about it, it's a good time for a video camera.
Of course, I still have the usual Daddy duties like making sure she's warm in spite of how she thinks she looks and carrying the loot when she's determined it's grown too massive for her delicate hands. It's all in a night's work.