Illustration by David Fitzsimmons / Arizona Daily Star

And then there was one.

Trick-or-treater, that is.

The first two are done, deciding they’re too old to beg for candy from strangers. No. 1 hung up her plastic pumpkin a few years back, despite declaring one Halloween when we trekked through a friend’s ritzy neighborhood in which full-size candy bars were freely dispensed, “I can’t believe anyone ever gives up trick-or-treating! I’m not!”

No. 2 — who, endearingly, routinely barged into people’s homes — came to the conclusion this year, as a high school freshman. When she announced it at the dinner table, No. 3’s response was quite matter-of-fact: “I want candy.”

Not a surprise.

Back when the whole gang was in on the action, everyone visited the same houses, but compared to what his sisters got, No. 3’s Hauloween seemed way out of proportion.

No. 1 ratted out her little bro.

“That’s because people said, ‘Help yourself’ and he grabbed a handful,” she explained.

#Proud parenting moment … #Not really

It’ll be interesting to see what happens when only one pillowcase full of loot gets dumped across the dining room table.

Last year, immediately post T-or-Ting, it sounded like the floor of the New York Stock Exchange.

Bags of plain M&Ms waved in the air. “I’ll trade you two of these for a Twix!”

“I have full-size Hersheys! What will you give me for it?”

No. 3, whose room is horrifying on a regular basis (I just walked in there and — no joke — found a pair of pajamas with a 6/7 tag crumpled on his dresser; he’s 11), turned all Marie Kondo, classified his candy by genre — gummies, fruity stuff, chocolate — then slapped Duct-taped labels onto each plastic bag and neatly tucked it all into another larger bag that he hid in the pantry. And yet, the wrappers end up everywhere.

That, I will not miss. The costumes are another story.

They’ve reflected the obsessions of the time — Backyardigans, Care Bears, superheroes, princesses, a fluffy white chicken. OK, that last one was on me. I stuffed No. 3 into that fowl outfit because it was so stinkin’ cute. Not quite 2 years old, he cried the whole night.

Once the kids were old enough to make demands, they called the shots, which was how No. 1 ended up in a gaudy pink, plucked-right-from-the-racks-of-the-Disney-store ensemble that wasn’t cheap, but sure looked it thanks to the hoochie crop top paired with a quasi mini skirt. Even the tiara couldn’t class things up.

“I’m Sleeping Booty,” No. 1 sassily declared.

She most definitely was.

Yeah, I’ve never been fond of the give-me-candy part of Halloween, but I sure love the dressing up part. This year I’m going to pull rank and call for a full-family dress-up — but it definitely won’t be princess-themed.

Contact Kristen Cook at or 573-4194. On Twitter: @kcookski. So far the leading costume contender is Public Schoolhouse Rock, which means we scrape together outfits out of the dress-up bin rather than buying full-on new ones because of chronic underfunding.