This year of firsts for our family rings in another milestone on Monday as our growing 10-month-old son Francis experiences Halloween No. 1.
Although I guess the "experiencing" will be more for us parents and the rest of our family and friends because the little guy -- with as much personality as he has and learning that he's doing -- probably won't remember much about this Oct. 31. But you can bet there will be photographs galore to capture the moment for us for now and the future.
Thinking back, I don't have too many explicit memories of Halloween as a child. I know I went trick-or-treating as a kid growing up in Vallejo and Benicia and there are some pictures of me in costume from my youth; my recollections of the experiences though (outside of the context of those photos) are almost nonexistent.
Now we didn't always live in neighborhoods most conducive to the candy hunt, whether in apartment complexes where residents didn't usually participate or hilly Benicia where I didn't feel like traipsing up and down.
We also didn't really reside in areas where many kids would visit our home, leaving plenty of candy leftovers to supplement my own haul for my young sweet tooth to enjoy often through Thanksgiving.
Even into college and early adulthood, I didn't get too involved in Halloween beyond the obligatory costume for the occasional personal or office party. I'd say that changed after we got married and moved back to the Bay Area around more family and friends.
My wife and I just found ourselves going to parties for Halloween with close friends, and as I took on a leadership role with the Weekly, I would want (or need) to represent in the festivities. Plus, I've always liked experimenting with my facial hair, and the Halloween costume became as good a reason as ever.
Probably my most memorable costume was dressing up as Alan from the movie "The Hangover" (the Zach Galifinakis character), pretty much a self-assembled ensemble thanks to stops at Savers in Dublin for some very tight-fitting women's white denim pants and a satchel from Goodwill in Benicia. I did buy a replica of his T-shirt online, the most expensive component.
Other highlights for me in recent years were part of couple's costumes: as mustachioed Bob Belcher to her Linda from "Bob's Burgers", a clean-shaven Dr. Alan Grant in a "Jurassic Park" pairing, and me in a beard with wolf mask/gloves and regular suit for "The Big Bad Wolf of Wall Street and Little Red Riding Hood".
On Monday, we'll have our inaugural family costume. Francis has a strawberry hooded onesie and we'll be dressed as farmers donning "I (heart) Strawberries" hats.
No trick-or-treating for us this year; it's not like he can eat the candy anyway. Instead we'll post up in our driveway and hand out treats to the neighborhood kids for as long as our little guy can stay awake.
I hope Francis will get a kick out of perusing these pictures when he gets older -- and he can then fold those in among his other future Halloween memories. I didn't retain too many distinct memories from throughout my youth, so that's something I hope to help my son experience better.
Part of the annual October tradition that he'll soon become accustomed to is watching (or rewatching) our favorite family Halloween movies.
Admittedly, we're very much behind this month, thanks primarily to my busy workload pre-election. We did catch "Hocus Pocus" last weekend, and we'll try to fit in a couple others this weekend, maybe "The Addams Family", "Sleepy Hollow" and "It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown". We also have the new "Hocus Pocus 2" and the upcoming "Wednesday" (Addams) series on our list.
We like scary and creepy movies too, but those probably aren't good screen choices right now with a near-1-year-old at home. Our focus is now all about creating fun family moments, like taking Francis to his first pumpkin patch last weekend.
And of course that's the theme for the rest of the year, with Thanksgiving, then his mom's birthday, then his first birthday and then Christmas in quick succession. Oh, well, I do have to get through the Election 2022 coverage before all that excitement. (Ugh.) Luckily, I'm pretty sure Francis won't remember that part...
Editor's note: Jeremy Walsh is the editorial director for the Embarcadero Media East Bay Division. His "What a Week" column publishes on the second and fourth Fridays of the month.