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Posted on: Saturday

While Lucien took his morning nap, Biet and I got to work finishing up our costumes.  We sat at the dining table with a spread of paper, glue, and ribbon before us. She made two little piles of rhinestones, or as she calls them, "jewels!".  The red and yellow were for Lucien, she proclaimed, and the blue and green for her.  She handed the jewels to me, one by one, and I glued them to the crowns. While we waited for the crowns to dry we did our hair and makeup and put on our gowns.  An old ruffled shirt of mine became Lucien's costume; an old pink dress of my mothers, found in the attic of my aunt's house when we visited her this summer in Portland, became mine.  Then I tied on my servant apron, and King Lucien and Queen Biet put on their crowns, and on we went, to Greenwich Village.

Gaby eagerly called our names as we came out of the West 4th street station.  He had been waiting for us, alone and in costume on the busy 6th Avenue corner.  Ever since I have known Gaby, he has utterly despised dressing up on Halloween.  Partly from being raised in another country and culture, and partly just because of personal preference, he simply does not like to dress up.  After marrying someone insanely passionate about costumes, you would think he would have lightened up, but no.  After having a kid, you would think he might start to see the fun it it, but that didn't happen either.  It wasn't until he became a father of two, the patriarch of a brood, that his tastes suddenly changed.  This year, to my surprise and elation, he began requesting that we start putting our costumes together months in advance!  It was a Halloween miracle.  We brainstormed ideas and settled upon the most fitting and whimsical idea we could think of: the little ones would be the royal King and Queen, and the parents would be the royal servants.

Biet held her pumpkin and proudly marched on like the Queen that she was, leading us through Washington Square park and into the Greenwich Village Children's Parade and festival.  Excitement mounted in the drizzly air as we made our way through the sea of children and flashbulbs and costumed parade-goers.  Photographers swarmed the park, and we were asked a couple of dozen times to pose for a picture.  Biet was amazing and would hold my hand and excitedly yell "picture!" every time someone stopped us.  We made our way through the park and then broke away to trick-or-treat through the village.

Since downtown NYC is made up of buildings with storefronts instead of houses with porches, city kids go trick-or-treating from business to business in the neighborhood, instead of to private homes.  I remember how quirky and amazing it seemed to me when I first moved here; I was working in a cafe and the boss sent me out to buy a bunch of candy on Halloween morning, "for the kids."  I thought he meant for the kids who came in to dine with their parents, until the afternoon rolled around and the stream of trick or treaters took over the city sidewalks and began pouring into the restaurant.  I remember thinking to myself, "man, I wish I could have been a kid at Halloween in NYC!".  This year I finally experienced it with my kids, and it was a blast.

Biet's face, when she fully grasped the power of the words, "trick or treat," and when she realized that all of the candy was for her, was priceless.  I'd call it an equal mix of joy, pride, and astonishment.  We walked through the winding streets of the West Village, stopping in to every shop, bar, restaurant, and deli for treats.  Biet kept eating her candy as we walked, stopping every block or so to assess her collection and choose her next piece.  We balanced out the sugar with a good old fashioned slice of pizza, and continued on our way until the sun began to set.  As it got darker and darker, the crowds began to surge and the police began to swarm and a sort of frenzy took over the streets as the barricades went up for the big Halloween Parade.  For a split second, we contemplated lifting the kids on our shoulders and staying for the parade, but then I imagined being penned it with thousands of partygoers and two exhausted kids, and thought better of it.  Biet & Lucien had had more than enough excitement for one day, and Biet had walked a trick-or-treating marathon for the record books, so we headed home.  Maybe they'll be up for it next year.

One of my favorite moments of the day (aside from seeing Batman randomly drive by in the real Batmobile from the old show!) happened as we were trick-or-treating around Bleecker street.  We wandered into an old Irish bar and Biet proudly yelled "trick or treat!".  There was only one table in the place, and a few old men at the wooden bar.  The bartender grinned and brought Biet a whole handful of candy from a bucket behind the bar, saying in a thick Irish accent, "well 'ere you go sweetie!".  We said thank you and turned to leave when an old man sitting at the bar slammed down his whiskey and called over at us, "now wait a minute! Those are the best costumes I've seen all day!" He was very old, but he slowly got off his stool and came over to Biet and put a dollar in her pumpkin.  "That's for your mom to go buy you candy.  Not the Halloween stuff- the good stuff from the store.  You tell her to buy you whatever you want."

Biet was so proud of her money. I asked her what she wanted to buy with it.  Looking through her pumpkin full of candy, she replied "ummm, more lollipops."


  1. someday when your kids look back on these photos, they will think, "damn, my parent's are awesome."
    and they will be right!
    well played.
    great costumes!


  2. Just magical. Biet's costume is the most gorgeous I've ever seen and the idea of servant parents and little royalty kids had me giggling. Maybe just a bit too close to the truth?

  3. I love reading your posts! they are always so nice and you capture every moment it seems. :) BTW those are great costume ideas!
    Stephanie Vainer

  4. ugh! Trick-or-Treating in greenwich village...what a dream! This is my favorite part of the city and I cannot wait to visit it again. Beautiful pictures and costumes

  5. Anonymous11:45:00 AM

    these costumes are so amazing! Biet is such a gorgeous queen!
    Rebecca @ tr[i]b[e]cca

  6. WOAH I am loving these costumes!

  7. How beautiful. Very Marie Antoinette.
    I have always wanted to go to New York and now I REALLY want to go. Probably on Halloween.

  8. awwww so wonderful! =)

  9. Oh my goodness these are amazing!!!

  10. Well, you guys are cute. :)

  11. The old man giving Biet the dollar! So great. It reminds me off all the times random old men have given my son money when he was younger. A gentleman in cvs, a guy at the grocery store, etc. It always blew me away.

  12. You look absolutely beautiful! Sounds like the most magical time!

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