Halloween horrors


The Dad Diary
Edwin McGreal

I think Sunday night was the hardest night ever for Frankie going to sleep.
She was, as far as her four-year-old little mind could tell her, heartbroken.
You see we had built up Halloween for the full month, with the date on the calendar having a ghost drawn around it.
Every morning she would ask, ‘How many days to Halloween?’. She was lit with excitement about the prospect of trick or treating. She cannot believe on this one magical night you just knock on a door and you are rewarded with sweets and chocolates. And was almost as feverish about the idea of people calling here, showing off their costumes.  
She hadn’t really experienced it properly; last year Covid limited matters considerably, and she was too young before that.
But Sunday was a big let down for poor Frankie.
She’s recovering from tonsillitis and her baby brother Séimí is consumed by it right now. That, combined with the worst weather of the year so far in Achill, meant trick or treating was a perilous exercise.
The rain was unceasing and the wind was ferocious. I had to move the kids’ Wendy house into the shed and nearly got blown onto the mainland with a squall.
We made a judgment call that trick or treating wouldn’t be a good idea for the kids trying to recover from illness.
We told Frankie we would go on Monday or Tuesday instead.
“I do not want to go in November,” she responded. See, November is her birthday and we had her told Halloween was the last day in October and then the focus would be on the birthday.
Every sales pitch in the book was tried.
“Imagine being able to trick or treat and have your birthday in November!”
No, she was disconsolate.
We made sure they had a nice Halloween party, but the chance to dress up and go trick or treating was all Frankie, a real social butterfly, was interested in.
It was the tin hat on a hard weekend.
A trip to the doctor on Saturday for Séimi, sleepless nights and early starts on Saturday and Sunday and two kids who were just not 100 percent.
The extra hour on Sunday didn’t help either. It’s never an extra hour in bed when you’ve kids; less so when they’re sick.
So we experienced the strange sensation of looking at the time and seeing it was 1.45am and what felt like hours later checking to find out it was 1.15am, while we tended to Frankie and Séimí. I’ve heard of time dragging or standing still but this was a whole new dimension.
Oblivious to it all was Éamon. He’s managed to avoid tonsillitis and wasn’t put out by the day not going to plan either.
Once he got to do some colouring, read books, watch a couple of Halloween songs and be himself, he was happy out.
We’d trouble putting him to sleep on Sunday night too, but for very different reasons. He wasn’t emotional about missing out on trick or treating. He was simply high as a kite from managing to get his hands on too much sugar!
Maybe we will just bring Frankie trick or treating so.

In his fortnightly column, Edwin McGreal charts the ups and downs of the biggest wake-up call of his life: parenthood.