My son, Bailey, is a young teen, having just turned 13 and in the 8th grade. He and his friends, however, never ones to miss an opportunity to get free candy, put on costumes and hit the street, just as they had for years on October 31st. This time, though, they didn’t have parents or any other supervisors with them. As I have mentioned before, Tokyo is a relatively safe place. The biggest danger on Halloween here is getting hit by a car due to the swarms of kids on the streets and the refusal of the police to block off said streets to accommodate said kids.
Since we don’t have daylight savings here in Japan (another topic – don’t get me started) it gets dark by 5 already. By 5:30 the boys were ready to meet up. One of Bailey’s friends met him here at the house, and a few more would meet up with them at a nearby spot. I had attempted to get food into the kids before heading out the door, but the excitement was too high – no one wanted to eat before candy-fest 2012.
I told Bailey that he should be home between 6:45 and 7pm at the latest. An hour and a half of procuring candy should be enough, I felt. The phone rang at 6:40 and my heart leaped into my throat. Of course it was Bailey calling, but not for the reason I expected. I had a whole speech ready about how he should come home and not be out later and he needed to get some decent food in him…blah, blah blah.
“Mom,” my son said, “We’re done and near the house. Is it okay if the guys just come over to hang out for a while before they go home?”
This was my mother-dream come true. Some people might not want a group of smelly, gangly boys in their house, but I can’t think of anything better. To me, if the boys are in my house where I can see and hear them, then they are automatically not on the street and not getting into trouble.
“Sure,” I said. “I have lots of frozen pizza. I’ll start heating it up now.”
There was a heartfelt “thanks, Mom” from my son before he severed the connection.
The boys came in, sat in the living room sorting candy, and then occupied the dining room to eat, once I had everything ready. I put the food on the table and promptly removed myself. I took a seat by my husband in the living room, and we had our backs to the boys, though with the open layout of the house, they could see us. The kids ignored us, as we hoped they would, and kept talking.
They had some really funny conversations about girls, some pretty serious ones about soccer and then some talk of school. When they finished eating, my son directed everyone to bring their plates and cups to the kitchen sink before they all repaired to the computer area to watch some funny videos. My husband and I snuck back into the kitchen to eat our own dinner. We were quiet as we listened to the videos the boys watched and then couldn’t help laughing at their hysterical laughter.
The boys were all out of the house before 8:15pm, having only been there about 90 minutes. They all thanked me politely as they left.
Bailey shut the door on his friends, turned to me and said, “thanks, Mom. That was great.”
“Bailey,” I told him, “you bring your friends here any time you want. We’ll always have pizza in the freezer.”
My son is still just a young teen and has a lot of growing up and experimenting to do yet, but I feel that if we can start out this way, with him feeling comfortable bringing his friends around all the time, then we are headed in the right direction. A lot of pizza and a little luck will hopefully get us through the teen years.