For all our friends in cyberspace who have been with us longer than a hot minute (or at least a year) you will recognize changes in our family photos for our second annual Riverbanks Halloween Boo at the Zoo experience. Taken last night, the first night of the 10 night Boo extravaganza we find Pretty in a very large witch’s hat standing behind me in my disguise as an old lady with white hair; to our right the witch family with Pretty Too as Mama Witch holding baby witch Molly now almost 9 months old, 3 year old witch Ella being held by Number One Son Daddy disguised as Gamecock fan minus gear. To the left of Pretty and me Pretty Too’s twin sister Pretty Also (with fangs) plus Super Bro in Law Seth and their 3 months old adorable Cousin Caleb.
The night was a perfect one – not so cold as we had thought – mild 60s. Most of the animals had wisely stayed in their sleeping quarters as the hordes of costumed children and frazzled families descended for utter mayhem. Or, as Ella told me when I wasn’t quite quick enough to lift her to see the one brave black monkey stick its head out for a peep at the crowd, I think he had to go potty, Naynay. Brilliant.
As I let Ella slide to the ground, she said, I think you’re too heavy to carry me. Her legs are almost as long as mine!
Thanks to the thoughtfulness of Pretty Too and Pretty Also combined with the commercial acumen of the Riverbanks Zoo, we have a few pictures to remember the night. (Luckily, or unluckily, videos of my ending dance (following a mug of witch’s brew spirits) with Ella to my all time favorite group Abba’s Dancing Queen were unrecoverable. Pretty forgot to hit the “record” button. Ella will one day thank her for that, too.)
A few noticeable differences in the Boo experience this year, the most obvious the addition of two children who still qualify for free admission. Two strollers required this time with related diaper bags containing well, you know, what diaper bags all over the world contain. With the little girl who now required a ticket to enter, a decided shift in focus from being mesmerized by the millions of lights outlining ghosts, goblins, witches, bats, pumpkins that had so thrilled her last year – to wait for it, candy acquisition and consumption. The war with sugar has begun.
The kindness of strangers moved us all when we entered the zoo last night. Somehow in the frenetic pace of parents getting home from work to dress children and themselves in festive Halloween costumes, no one brought Ella’s candy bucket. As Pretty turned to make an emergency run for the candy container in the zoo store, a young mother stood nearby pushing a stroller herself with another child by her side. She gave Ella a bucket with the words, we have two and only need one. Sharing is caring, right? Ella saw a very good example of what those words really mean, and we did, too.
From our family to yours, have a safe and Happy Halloween.
Slava Ukraini. For the children.