My husband is almost never home on Halloween. I'm not sure why this particular holiday has been singled out as our family "deployment benchmark", but since 1998, he's only managed to make an appearance at one be-costumed mass begging session.
Now, let me start by saying that I get into Halloween. It's a way of life, not just an opportunity for enough sugar to send our entire family of six into anaphylactic shock. We decorate, we hunt pumpkins, we go to haunted houses, we breathe the yummy wonderful smell of people starting up their fireplaces for the first time in the season.
And I agonize all year over what costumes to make my children. Because that is of HUGE importance.
Probably my most creative year was when we only had two children who were six years apart. We dressed my then 8 year old and my then 2 year old as Dr. Evil and Mini Me. It went over really well. Every single house on base recognized them.
And I make a point of saying "every single house on base" because that is exactly how many houses we visited in our trick-or-treating session. Every single one. You see, hubby expected to exact a "Daddy Tax" in his next CARE package.
Last year we held our collective family breaths as the days counted down to October 31. We were sure that last minute orders would come flying through the pipeline and hubby would have to take off before the costumed trick or treating began. We were positive something would call him into work.
But for once the stars were aligned with us and nothing did. Hubby, with a stunned expression on his face, set out with our three remaining trick-or-treat aged children to make the rounds.
As normally happens with children, about half an hour into our neighborhood canvassing efforts, my third daughter decided she had to pee. Now. NOW. Hubby tried to talk to her.
"Can't you hold it? We've still got a lot of houses to go to and only an hour and a half left to do it in!"
"NO! I HAVE TO GO NOW!"
Hubby left me to continue making my way down the street with daughter 2 and the son, slung daughter #3 over his shoulder, and took off at a dead run toward home. About two minutes later I got a cell phone call.
"Sweetie? We're home. She's taking care of business. I'll hit the houses we missed in quick-time and meet you at the hill."
The man was not going to be denied the first Halloween ever with the two younger children. However, the trick-or-treating crowd did not entirely cooperate with him, and so for the rest of the story I'm relying on hear-say.
Like the rumor that he was dragging the poor child at a dead run between houses in order to get to each one.
And also the rumor that when someone asked my daughter about Halloween, she told them, "My Daddy is doing his first trick-or-treating!"
When I got home - right before the end sirens rang, hubby and daughter #3 were not yet there. I didn't see them again until about 15 minutes after the siren; hubby carrying an exhausted little flower fairy slung across his shoulders in a fireman hold while lugging a completely stuffed full pillowcase of sugary loot. The demonic gleam in his eye was just starting to die down, and he was breathing a little hard.
"Now THAT's Halloween!" he said.
The deployment through Halloween this year, it might be a good thing; perhaps my children need to recover.