Andre calls up the stairs, “Honey, have you seen the raven?”
“It’s in the basement,” I holler back.
“I’ve checked there. Surely we didn’t give it away. That’s not our style.” He keeps muttering as he goes back to making biscuits.
I put the finishing touches on my mascara and check on the “Midnight black” eyeliner that now forms dark circles around my eyes, then confirm, “There is no way we gave away the raven. I’ll look when I get down.”
In the bedroom, I slide into the old-fashioned gray dress that spends most of its life in a heap at the bottom of the closet. Because of the way it’s made – sleeves that button on, a heavy hood in the back – it regularly slips off of its hanger and I rarely notice until Halloween comes around again. The thick material doesn’t wrinkle much, and I don’t think it would matter anyway. I pull my hair back into a short ponytail and head down to the kitchen.
“Are you sure the witch hat is in the box?” I ask. “I only saw the wig.”
“It’s there,” he assures me, “but it might need a little dusting.”
To the basement, to hunt for a raven and a witch hat. By the time I’m back in the kitchen, both boys are downstairs.
“Do you have the permission form?”
“Yeah, did you see the viking helmet?”
“Oh, I couldn’t find the raven, either. Mr. 12, any chance the raven ended up in your room?”
His mouth stuffed with half a biscuit, Mr. 12 shakes his head.
“What are you wearing?” I ask him.
He counters, “Did you find the screaming mask?”
“No, all I could scare up was a scythe. You could use a graduation robe for the gown.”
He ponders for approximately one second. “Nah. I guess I’ll do the lion for school,” he says, “but I’m definitely going as the dinosaur tonight.”
I nod, and put on my wig.
Mr. 14 looks up between biscuit number two and 3. “Weren’t you a witch last year?”
“She’s always a witch,” says Mr. 12, then he giggles.
“Has anyone seen the raven?” Andre is still hopeful, but if that raven is in the house, it’s really well-hidden.
“Dad, give it up,” says Mr. 14.
“Fine, then I get the Viking helmet,” Andre retorts.
“No way!” Mr. 14 gulps down his drink and moves towards his backpack.
“A hat is not a costume! And don’t forget the permission form!” I call after him.
I finish breakfast and put on my chunky witch shoes. I find the hat and shove it onto my head over my wig, forgetting that it won’t fit into the car and I’m just going to have to take it off again. I grab my bags and get ready to go. At the door I look back to say goodbye. The viking is gone. The lion is wiping away biscuit crumbs. No one has found the raven. And the permission form is still on the table, waiting.