Tonight, I lit the candles in the pumpkins (I'm old fashioned, and I like the smell of fresh pumpkin charring), and in the ceramic lanterns, and then the daughter and I settled into our chairs on the front walk to await ghouls and goblins (and far too many teenagers. But the worst, a 40-something male dressed in what looked like a Super Mario Brothers outfit, trying to hide in the middle of a pack of small children).
"Can I tell you about Frankenstein?" the daughter asked, nibbling on a candy from our bowl of treats. She has a final on the book tomorrow.
"Okay," I murmured, looking up at the darkening sky, listening to the shouts coming from other streets, a harbinger of the evening's entertainment.
And she proceeded, over the course of the next two hours and perhaps 40 visitors, to recount the entire plot of the novel.
After we collected up the ceramic lanterns and the pumpkins and our chairs, the daughter scampered after bits of wrapper and paper.
"I ate a lot of candy," she said, a little pleased, a little shamefaced.
Nothing like a lot of sugar and a lot of Frankenstein, and some quality time with one's daughter on a chilly Halloween evening.
Go listen to some music: "On the Good Ship Lollipop" from the film Bright Eyes, a song immortalized by Shirley Temple.