We went to the Embassy. See, Armenians don't do Halloween. Have only the vaguest idea what it's all about. So if you want to bring your kids trick-or-treating... well, the US Embassy is where you go. Now, the Embassy is a set of several large, blocky buildings set in a walled compound off the road to the airport. The general architectural style is... well, you know the Ronald Reagan Building in DC? Like that. The way it works is, you come in through security, and inside there's a sort of campus arrangement of buildings around green space. (Maybe the campus of an evangelical engineering school, but never mind that.) Then you get a sheet of paper that tells you which offices to take your kids to. So you go from one building to another, riding elevators up and down, and stopping at offices where Embassy staff have volunteered to stay late and hand out candy. Here's where the cognitive dissonance kicks in. At one level, this is pathetic and lame. The decorations are what you'd expect in government offices -- cardboard pumpkins, and such. The embassy employees are at best bemused. Few try to dress up; something about the office environment discourages it. The embassy compound is well-lit and not in the least spooky. There's no ringing of doorbells, no peering at dark doors. It's very bland and safe and a little sad. At another level, it totally rocked. The kids loved it. Loved it. David in particular was beside himself with delight. When you're three, it's all new. Wearing a cosutme! Other kids in costumes! Staying up after bedtime! People just GIVING HIM! CANDY! At one point he turned to me and said, "Daddy, I love this!" And he did. Alan is a bit older but not old enough to be blase. He enjoyed going up and down in the elevators and looking into the different offices. He saw a lot of his friends. At the end we went to the Marine quarters and had soda and pizza in the lounge and they had "Shrek 2" on the big screen and, you know, it was all good. And when it finally ended and we were going home, David turned to me, lower lip trembling, and said, "Daddy, I don't want Halloween to be over!" So I guess it worked after all.