We were thrilled that this year, it was back in full force. We enthusiastically bought our tickets months ago for the annual event. No, not this one. THIS one. (What? Did you think we might actually have adult lives?!?)
Boo in the Zoo is held every year as THE Halloween event for kids under the age of 6. Trick-or-treating is not so popular around these parts. In Nawlins, no one gets out of bed unless the day is brimming with opportunities for live music and good food. Dressing up is always a plus. We donned the gear. All four of us, pirates. I’ve been working on Will’s costume off and on for months. Not that he is actually wearing what I’ve been working on (except for the loot bag); I did want him to look presentable. Will began the evening sporting an eye patch and earring, but after 5 minutes of pulling them on and off, requested the neon shades. Arg, that’s a bright sun, Matey. Paul and I wore “Keep to the Code” pirate tees, black jeans, and long red sashes. Will had a fantastic vest (with some specially-added dohickeys) and knickers with a tee-shirt that said “Natutical Acquisition and Redistribution Specialist” and Kate’s laid it on the line with “Yo Ho Ho and a Bottle of Milk.” We all wore pirate-themed do-rags. We looked good, even if we looked a bit more like bikers than sailors.
My parents came in from Mobile for the event. We scored extra tickets during the week (it had been sold out for over a month) and met up with Aya (who had a fantastic pink spider costume) and her parents at the gate. The costumes on the other 3000+ people (who, like us, had restricted VIP 5pm early admission) were fantastic. NOLA is a city serious about costuming, whoa. (Did I mention that there were a ton of people??) We hung around people-watching, knocked down some hot-dogs to prevent the kids from diving head-first into other people’s candy, and picked up freebies for the first part of the evening. Then we handed Baby Kate off to her grandparents and headed down with Aya and her family to the Ghost Train. Being the four capable and responsible parents we are, we DID briefly stop at the sign reading “May be scary for children under 8,” but determined that we were so good at parenting that our kids would not have enough material for therapy later in life. So we pressed on. Who knew that 15-year olds giggling in poorly ventilated monster masks dancing to “Thriller” would be terrifying to preschoolers?? Despite our honest appraisals (e.g. “Aren’t they being silly!” “He’s chasing us with that chainsaw to get our attention.” “Interesting casting choice to use the African-American actor as the one hung in the tree.”) the kids clung to us, shaking like little leaves. We adults did have a heart-stopping moment of fear when Paul mentioned that he’d heard the ride ended with a sighting of Ray Nagin… gasp!… but the ride didn’t produce our imaginary Mayor.
Nighttime fell while we were walking through the “non-scary” haunted house (read: lights on and all the actors saying “Happy Halloween” to the kids) and waiting in the line to go trick-or-treating. As the sun went down, the crowd grew to approximately twice the current city population. Grooving to the tunes, kids tightly in hand, we retreated to the toddler area. (The kids were all very well behaved. I think they instinctively knew that with that many people, in that many costumes, under the veil of night, it would have been very easy for us to have swapped for another model.)Safely in a contained spot, Aya and Will ran around while we held their place in line for the moonbounce. Granna and PapPap hung out with Baby Kate, who spent the entire night totally chill. That is one awesome baby.
After her active night of being awake, calm and completely wonderful, Kate fell asleep in the car ride home and stayed asleep long enough for us to get dinner at Whole Foods, eat it, and get everything set up for bathtime. What a champ!