When the morning’s temperature starts to slowly drop, and the leaves are falling in everyone’s front yards, and you can’t even order a pizza without being offered the “pumpkin spice” flavor option, you know fall is on its way in. And coming right along behind fall is Halloween.
My son loves Halloween. It’s the perfect combination of candy corn and popcorn balls, corn mazes and costumes and, of course, trick-or-treating. Every year he requests a costume that is quite frightful in appearance, and every year I veto it. The only thing I don’t enjoy about this holiday is the scary and sinister costumes and decorations that tend to give him (and me) nightmares. For this reason, I never allow him to get a costume that would frighten him or other children.
One October afternoon, after picking Raff up from school, he asked if we could go pick out his costume. I agreed, as it was only a couple of weeks left until Halloween. We arrived at the store and headed straight to the costume section. Raff began to sift through the costumes for boys of his size and age. He would lift up the costume by its side, run his gaze up and down the outfit, and then shake his head in refusal and let it fall back into its place with the other rejected getups.
For the next hour, we continued our perusal of every costume that would even remotely fit him.
“How about this one Raff?”
“Ohhh, look at this one! It’s awesome!”
I was becoming exasperated, my patience wearing thin. I told Raff we could go to another store another day or look for a costume online, but that it was time to go. He was reluctant but finally agreed to check out a different place. On the way out of the store, we passed an aisle that had only Halloween masks on it. He asked to look at them and I agreed. Surprisingly, he found a werewolf mask almost immediately.
“Mom, can I have it? Please? It’s not too scary!” He begged. I looked the mask over and gave in. It wasn’t too scary, he was right.
“Yes! Thanks mom!” Raff exclaimed.
He immediately put the mask on and refused to remove it even as we went through the check out line. The cashier chuckled and was a good sport about digging around in the fur on the top of Raff’s head to find the price tag.
He even refused to take it off while we were walking out to my vehicle, getting a few surprised looks and giggles on the way. As we pulled out of the parking lot, Raff asked if he could roll his window down.
“Sure thing, it’s beautiful weather today!” I said, and went ahead and rolled all of the windows down in the car, basking in what felt like the perfect fall day.
I got caught up enjoying the fresh autumn breeze in my hair and imagining all sorts of yummy fall treats to make, and wasn’t paying attention to what Raff was doing in the back seat. However, a quick flash of movement caught my attention in the rear view mirror.
Raff was leaning down below the line of his open window. When he heard a car driving beside ours he would pop up suddenly in his werewolf mask and undoubtedly give the driver beside me quite the fright!
“Raff!” I shouted, looking into the back seat. “Don’t do that! You’re going to make someone have a wreck!” I said as I jerked my car back into my own lane after I realized I had drifted into the adjacent lane momentarily while I was scolding him.
I saw blue lights. My face paled and my heart raced. Apparently, I had failed to notice a cop behind me in the rear view mirror as well.
I pulled into the nearest parking lot and waited for the officer to come to my window.
“Mom…” Raff asked in a shaky voice. “Are we going to jail?”
The police officer appeared at my window before I had a chance to answer him.
“Hello ma’am,” The officer greeted me. “I noticed you crossed into the other lane, but I was going to stop you anyway because of what appears to be a werewolf in the back seat.” The officer said slyly. I saw Raff’s eyes grow wide in the eye holes of his mask.
“While he looks like he is enjoying himself, I’m going to have to insist that he stop scaring other drivers, as this could cause an accident.”
“Yes sir,” I said sheepishly. “I had actually just realized what he was doing and was getting on to him. That’s what caused me to swerve.”
“Mom!” Raff exclaimed from the backseat, apparently upset that I had ratted him out.
“I promise it won’t happen again, officer.” I said politely.
“Ok, well y’all just be careful from now on. You look pretty scary back there young man, just save that for trick-or-treating, OK?” The cop said to Raff.
“Um, sir?” Raff asked.
“Yes?” Replied the officer.
“I’m sorry that I scared people, but I hope you aren’t going to take me jail. Because my mom is a really bad driver, AND she said the F word once.” Raff said, waiting on that to sink in. I looked at him in the backseat with a shocked look on my face.
“Raff!” I hissed.
The officer started laughing.
“So you’re saying that if I were to take someone to jail, it ought to be your mom and not you?” he asked Raff, with an amused smile on his face.
“Yes. That’s right.” Raff answered firmly.
The officer chuckled again.
“Well don’t worry little man, no one is going to jail today, I just want to make sure y’all are being safe from now on.”
He then turned back to face me.
“You’ve got quite a character in that backseat ma’am. I can’t even imagine all the mischief he gets in to.” The officer turned away with a smile on his face and got back in his car, turned off the blue lights and drove away.
I let out a huge sigh of relief.
“Mom?” Raff said cautiously from the backseat. “I’m really glad you didn’t go to jail… because then who would take me trick-or-treating?!”
I just rolled my eyes and said a little prayer for my sanity.