It was the weekend before Halloween, and Charlie was trying on his costume again. He padded into Isaac’s room in his green dinosaur socks and checked the mirror on the back of the door. “Dad, I think the eyes are the wrong color.”
Isaac looked up at the dinosaur head hat perched on Charlie’s head. “What color are they? I can’t tell from here.”
“They’re blue. But in the dinosaur movies, all the dinosaurs have brown eyes.” Charlie frowned. “Do you think we could paint them?”
Isaac looked at the inexpensive cloth costume and shrugged. “You could ask your mom. She’s the artist in the family. Does it really matter?”
Charlie’s eyes widened. “Of course it does! It matters a lot, because…” Charlie thought for a moment. “Well, it just does.”
“It will be dark out when you go trick-or-treating,” Isaac pointed out.
Charlie brushed this aside with a wave of his hand. “I can wear my costume to school on Halloween for book character day. It will be light out then.”
“Book character day?”
Charlie nodded. “We dress up as our favorite book character and bring the book in to share. I’m going to bring in The Dinosaur Detective.”
“And you’re worried your friends will notice the eye color is wrong?”
Charlie looked down and scuffed his toes against the carpet. “I noticed, didn’t I?”
Isaac chuckled. “But dinosaurs don’t have human faces looking out from under their heads.”
“I can’t help that. We aren’t allowed to wear masks.” Charlie looked back to the mirror and frowned.
“Your mom will think of something if it’s really important to you. She’s pretty amazing that way.”
Charlie smiled. “Okay. Hey, dad? Did you know that Thomas said his mom trades him a book for his Halloween candy.”
“That sounds nice. Did you want to do that too?”
“Maybe.” Charlie shrugged. “I like candy. Could I still have a little bit? Five or ten pieces? And could I have a remote control airplane instead of a book?”
“A remote control airplane? That costs a lot more than a book.”
“I don’t have to keep any of the candy,” Charlie said hastily. “Not even one piece. Please?”
“Our neighborhood is full of remote-control-airplane-eating trees. It wouldn’t last long.”
Charlie turned completely away from the mirror and clasped his hands and widened his eyes. “Pleeeeease? I’d only fly it at the park. I’d get lots of fresh air that way. And exercise! That’s really good, right?”
Isaac sighed. “I’m not sure how much exercise you’d get flying a remote control airplane. I think it’s the airplane that would be doing all the exercise. But, I’ll see.”
Charlie grinned and hugged Isaac tightly. “Thanks, Dad.”
That evening, after dinner, Marianne and Charlie were painting the eyes of the dinosaur costume when Isaac left for the store. Remote control airplanes were indeed expensive. But, on a bottom shelf, in a ripped and taped-up box, Isaac found a remote control flying saucer. It cost about as much as a book.
He checked to make sure he could return it if it didn’t work. And then, pleased that his search was over so quickly, he bought it and returned home in time to admire the more accurate costume and read to Charlie before bed.
Once he was asleep, Isaac took the flying saucer out for a test run. The backyard was dimly lit by the streetlights out front and the light streaming from the kitchen window. He opened the box. Did it need batteries? He checked the remote control. To open it, he’d need a screwdriver. It would be easier to turn the thing on and see if it started.
He turned on the remote control, but couldn’t find an on switch on the saucer. Or a place for batteries. It had some damage along one side, but he could fix that with his soldering gun and some wire and match it to the opposite side.
Isaac turned off the remote control and took the flying saucer to the garage. He carefully made the repairs, matching the side he was working on to the rest of the machine until it looked as good as new. He stepped back to admire his work, and the lights around the edge of the saucer lit up. It rose in the air, hovered above his workbench, and disappeared.
Isaac glanced over at the useless remote control and empty box. Well, there was nothing else to be done. He drove back to the store and bought a little remote control car that could do flips. Charlie could play with that in the driveway or maybe even the kitchen on rainy days if Marianne agreed to it.
He took it to the garage and tested it out. It worked fine, and only when he used the remote. Good. Now to tell Marianne about their new Halloween plans and the Great Candy Swap. Maybe she would know what to do with a Halloween’s trick-or-treating worth of candy.