The Days After Halloween

There are remnants of Halloween around the house.

White crumbly dust on the floor from sawing styrofoam balls in half with a hacksaw.
Orphaned swatches of tape hanging off the edge of the sill
Dresses laid over chairs in the corner
Hardening paintbrushes on the back of the sink
At least one blobl of hot glue somewhere it shouldn’t be.

Halloween is my oldest daughter’s favorite holiday. Better than Christmas even.

She doesn’t even collect that much candy. Still uses a plastic orange pumpkin, not the more functional pillowcase most teens opt for. More room for the take.

No, it’s different for her. I suppose she’s like her old man, enjoys the act of creating, of stepping into a costume and being someone else for a while, which, if you let it, is the same thing, ironically, as being more of yourself.

Little shards of sparkly purple triangles collected in a pile, the remains of cutting out Saturn’s rings.

And my younger daughter is already following suit.

“Daddy, come do my makeup!” she yells from atop the toilet seat, legs dangling and swishing back and forth.

Happy orange eyebrows for our clown.

A few smudges on the sink, balled-up, orange-tinged tissues that missed the garbage can, an orange ring where the makeup cap was set down.

When I look at these little leftover bits of things, I have to smile, remembering the laughter when I cut the styrofoam crooked the first time, the cooing sounds of a five-year-old as I glided makeup over her skin, the unexpected conversations about important things, as we waited for the glue to dry.

It’s watching my teenager do a TikTok video with her new solar system crown that confirms the truth that adults keep secret: the best part of Halloween definitely isn’t the candy.

Nail polish on the tile, sequins on the floor.

Such things are required to make magic for an evening.