Every year, for Halloween, we try to take Keaton to some Halloween-themed festivities. Whereas last year, we took him to a nearby local park for some Halloween pumpkin-carving and bake sale fun, featuring costumes, this year, we took him to the Canada Agriculture and Food Museum for their Barnyard Halloween event. We were so happy to hear Keaton exclaim with joy when he realized we’d arrived at this farm.

It felt very heartwarming to be back here, where we used to take our son routinely, back when we used to live nearby. We didn’t have a car back then, but luckily for us, walking here with a stroller was manageable, be it during the warm or cold winter months. Now, we had the pleasure of returning — this time with a car of our own. How different and more easy life is. The freedom of movement and comfort is something that I can’t fail to appreciate on a daily basis.

The event was packed with families and littles ones, many of which were dressed in their costumes. It was such a cute sight to behold. This year, Keaton was a dragon, or what others might mistakingly take for a dinosaur. (Sometimes, I, too, would think he’s a dino.) Our little dragon had a lot of fun amongst kids his age. He enjoyed his beloved playground and seeing the farm animals again. He particularly liked the piggies this time around, and of course, his quail buddies never ceased to captivate him. Again, he’d spent the most time observing the quails.

We also got to enjoy some games at the barn dance location, as well as pick a pumpkin from the pumpkin patch. I’m a sucker for little pumpkins — they were all kids size! How stinkin’ adorable. As if they were made for little hands. Keaton refused to enter the scary barn, so my husband and I took turns visiting it. The set-up was really spooky and well-curated.

Finally, it was October 31st, trick-or-treating. This year, Keaton went with his new pal, Amelie. He was a dragon and she was Skye from Paw Patrol. It was Amelie’s first trick-or-treating experience ever (she’d recently arrived with her mom and grandma from abroad). It was so fun for Keaton to have a friend with him, whom he adores deeply, and to share this experience with her. It also warms my heart that we were able to give Amelie and her mom and grandma a new experience and memory. They enjoyed it so much! Grandma had a blast — she was so youthful in her laughter and smiles.

My husband and I also had a wonderful time as parents. There’s something endearing and lively about observing our kid trick-or-treating and being excited and experiencing the simple wonders of life. We’re thankful for a local experience, wonderful friends, and for the physical and mental freedom and privilege of movement and joy — even if it’s our birthright — because it’s not always a given, depending on one’s life circumstances. I think about it often, to keep perspective in life. I’m also thankful to my dear husband who’s such a dedicated father, who guided the kids around and kept the fun alive, and who’s always there for Keaton when it mattered, and every day and all moments in between.

When I look back on old Halloween pictures from last year, I noticed just how much Keaton’s grown in one year. Last Halloween, he was baby Batman — we were the Batman family — and he was so much smaller. I even recall him crying when we went trick-or-treating at the very first house, only to get excited afterwards because he finally understood he was getting candies and chocolates. Now, one year later, his physique and personality have evolved immensely; and what a treat it is to be able to witness that.

PS. Keaton would say “tank-oon,” instead of “thank you” when he went trick-or-treating. We noticed it’s been his version of “thank you” lately. It’s so hilarious because he seems to have made up a hybrid of “thank you” between English and Khmer. Brilliant, actually.

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