Vail Novice Father: A ski town Halloween |

Vail Novice Father: A ski town Halloween

Kelly Coffey
Vail, CO Colorado

VAIL, Colorado –For Halloween this year we went to Beaver Creek Village for some trick or treating around the ice rink.The sun decided to come out, warming up into a beautiful fall Saturday afternoon, after days of grey and cold and snowy winter. I dressed my toddler daughter as a frog, and we walked around the ice rink, weaving between fairy princesses and ninjas and monkeys and zombie brides.

We poked into the shops that circled the ice skating rink, their winter inventory of skis and jackets still partially packed in boxes in out of the way corners.

It only took two stores before the Kid got the concept: go inside, demand candy, walk outside so she could dump her whole stash onto the ground and place one piece at a time back in her bag. There’s a lot of excitement involved in Halloween, and the Kid quickly got the gist of it. She excitedly charged into a new storefront with her orange candy bag in her hand.

For the most part, this scene at Beaver Creek could be Halloween in any town – if it weren’t for the snow guns silent, aimed, and ready on the ski slopes up ahead, waiting for the thermometer to drop below freezing. Remove that part and this could be my childhood memory back in Virginia. Where my mother spent weeks sewing a furry Ewok costume – complete with brown furry flaps to cover my sneakers. And two days before Halloween I decided to be a cowboy (the Ewok costume was the first, and last, costume my mother ever made for me).

The green frog costume that the Kid wore for this Halloween is the green frog costume she wore for last Halloween. Last year the costume was so baggy on her she looked like a frog that just walked out of an extreme liposuction treatment. This year it fit perfectly.

I don’t think the Kid realizes what a costume is. Sure, it’s silly to her. But she gets dressed up in silly things every day. Wearing anything more than her bare skin is a silly costume in the eyes of the Kid.

To the Kid’s perspective, being dressed as a frog is the same as being dressed in overalls, a flowered dress, or shorts and a T-shirt. People take notice and say how cute she is. Adorableness is her most marketable skill, after all. This night she earned her keep by collecting a bagful of candy for Dad to eat the next few nights.

The sun ducked behind the Hyatt, turning the whole village into shadow and dropping the temperature from light-sweatshirt and sunglasses to down parka and ski cap. Winter reminded us that it was only gone for the afternoon. It was time to retreat back to the bus that took us to and from the parking lot.

Two women on the bus talked to each other about how they wished the snow would hold off until Christmas. One still had trips to Denver to take and she didn’t want to drive over Vail Pass in bad conditions. Two other people in a separate conversation talked about how the snow hasn’t come soon enough. They wanted Vail and Beaver Creek to open their whole front sides on opening day around Thanksgiving.

The Kid will grow up in the Vail Valley. She won’t realize that most kids don’t have a chance to choose between two world-class ski resorts on an ordinary weekend. How I envy her.

Kelly Coffey is a novice father. He shares his mistakes, fears, and laughs along his journey to figure out how anybody could possibly raise a child. Submit comments to

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