The kids were beyond excited.
They woke early on the 31st, visibly bursting with anticipation.
Breakfast was a slow process, since the four kids kept stopping to talk about what their night would entail.
Natasha could barely sit still in her seat and Clint was talking a mile a minute about costumes and candy and trick or treating.
They had been working on their costumes all month and before that, had been trying to decide what they wanted to be for another month.
They had cycled through hundreds of websites to find the right idea before the kids all decided to stick to a show or film they loved.
Steve and Bucky didn’t mind.
It was just nice to see them all so excited for something.
Halloween had been around when the pair were kids, sure, but not like this.
The months of planning, the sheer excess of candy, the way people spent hundreds and hundreds of bucks on decorations.
When Steve and Bucky had been young, money had been scarce, especially around their neighborhood.
But Steve’s mom and Bucky’s parents put aside some of their earnings in the weeks leading up to Halloween and when the day came, they would take the boys shopping.
They would get face paint, reduced from damage or because it was end of the line.
They would collect fabric and thread and work all day on costumes for the boys.
Then they would walk over to the next neighborhood and trick or treat until the night was over.
The candy would last them months and months, with a nibble every other night and their favourites saved for special occasions.
Steve and Bucky treasured memories like that.
Money didn’t have to equal a good Halloween and as such, the four kids had decided to make most of the costumes themselves instead of just buying it online.
They’d found a sewing machine at a local thrift shop, had gone to material stores an more thrift stores to collect what they needed, and had made most props out of foam and cardboard and paint.
Tony was really very brilliant at sewing the costumes, perhaps since he was used to working on small, fiddly, time consuming projects.
So the kids split the tasks.
Clint would draw and cut out the costume shapes for Tony to sew together.
Bruce would cut out foam and cardboard for Natasha to paint and glue.
When the main works were done, the kids spent time on their own designs, decorating and sticking until three weeks later their costumes were done.
Now finally the day had come.
Steve had just about managed to convince Tony to not wear his costume at the breakfast table, because Tony was a notoriously messy eater and they did not need a meltdown should food get on his costume.
After breakfast, the six of them took to the living room, closing the curtains and dimming the lights.
Natasha skipped around, turning on all the Halloween decorations; pumpkin, bat and ghost string lights, light up pumpkins and witches cauldrons and the girls favourite; a black cat jack-o-lantern with multi coloured lights inside.
They’d agreed on a movie day, to help them get into the spirit of things, though it wasn’t like they really needed help with that.
With the spooky lighting all sorted, the six piled onto blankets on the floor, popcorn and Halloween treats (Halloween oreos, cherry soda, candy corn, chocolates shaped like eyeballs) filling the table.
Steve and Bucky tended to go a little overboard on food where the holidays were concerned. But they were all healthy and active and a couple of days of eating junk wouldn’t make a difference to that.
They binge-watched kid friendly Halloween movies since that seemed like the only way to distract the kids from the excitement of their plans.
They would get ready around five, travel to Shield to show off their costumes and get treats before heading around the neighborhood and knocking on houses with all the other littles and kids around.
They’d be home in time for baths and hot chocolate (provided the kids hadn’t eaten their body weight in candy and been ill).
They watched Hotel Transylvania, The Nightmare Before Christmas (they watched it at Halloween and Christmas at Tony’s insistence), Hocus Pocus and not necessarily a Halloween film but an all-time favourite, Monsters Inc.
They knew better now then to watch Coraline after Halloween 2016. That had not gone well at all.
Eventually half three came around and Bucky and Steve sat the kids down for some food.
They were having sandwiches and other snacky foods since no one was hungry for dinner but they would be out of the tower until late.
When the food was eaten, it was finally time to get ready.
Bucky would help Natasha get into her costume and Steve would help Tony with his. Bruce and Clint would get into their own costumes.
Steve and Bucky would quickly change themselves and all four would meet in the living room to get their make-up on.
The excitement was palpable and even the two grown-ups found themselves looking forward to their night.
They were going simple with their own costumes and would be matching because why the heck not.
They had black pants, a long sleeved ruffled white shirt with a red velvet vest with black leather detailing over the top, a red jewel buttoned at the neck. They then had a black cape with red lining secured around the neck with a silver chain. Black combat boots finished the look.
They’d forgone the fangs because it made talking very difficult, but they did have fake blood dripping down their chins and necks to really sell the whole vampire get up.
Steve whistled as Bucky came out of the bedroom and Bucky good naturedly span in a circle for him, the cape billowing out.
“Damn, Stevie.” Bucky hummed, reaching to gently brush his thumb over some of the fake blood splattering his chin.
“Who would’ve known we make good vampires.” The blonde chuckled.
“Damn good vampires.” Bucky grinned, lightly pecking the others mans lips.
“Get a room!” Clint crowed from his position on the sofa, Natasha perched in front of him with a make-up brush in hand.
She was currently using an almost white eyeshadow and brushing it over Clint’s eyebrows, just to lighten them a little.
She then brushed the mascara wand over his lashes and he was done.
Tony was very carefully drawing across Bruce’s forehead and then Bruce was done too; by far the easiest make-up job of them all.
Bruce and Tony swapped places and it was Bruce’s turn to carefully draw across Tony’s face. The billionaire had even shaved for the costume, he was that dedicated.
Natasha did her own make-up; darkening her eyebrows, painting black across her eyelids, coating her lashes in mascara before using her liquid eyeliner to make wings across her lash line. She finished with a medium red lipstick and pouted her lips in the mirror.
Then they had to sort out wigs.
Tony and Clint were the only ones wearing them.
The other two had instead let their grow out and taken a temporary hair dye to their locks; black for Bruce and dark brown/black for Natasha.
Bruce’s hair lay just below the bottoms of his ears and was painstakingly mussed just right. Messy, but not too messy, and not too much like he’d tried too hard with it.
Natasha’s was her usual short hair, if a little longer, just above her shoulders and pulled back into a little ponytail resting at the nape of her neck.
Tony was helped with his wig, carefully adjusting it on his head. The black locks hung just shy of his shoulders, and was just a little curled.
Clint was next with the most out there hair. Steve slid the wig on over his hair, humming as he smoothed it down. The wig was down his back and almost at his waist and was a very pale blonde/white. There were two braids either side of his head, pulling into a small ponytail at the back of his head.
Then finally all four kids were ready.
The kids had decided to choose costumes from their favourite TV show/ film and whilst the two adults had no idea who most of them were, they were beyond proud at what they had accomplished and how amazingly they matched the pictures they’d researched online.
Clint had gone for Lord of the Rings/The Hobbit and it had been a toss-up and whether he wanted to do Legolas or a male Tauriel because they both had bows but in the end he had obviously gone for Legolas after Tony’s offhand comment during their first mission.
He had on dirty looking black pants with black leather boots at his feet. The top half of his costume was a mitch-match of items; a grey long sleeved shirt, black leather around his wrists, a brown and dark green suede look coat, a brown and gold belt, a dark gray cape secured around the neck, and of course a green and brown bow and arrows set across his back. His outfit was finished by the elf ears currently attached over his actual ears.
Tony had cycled through so many ideas including Spock from Star Trek, Negan from The Walking Dead and The Joker from The Batman films but he had finally chosen someone from his favourite film at the time; Star Wars; The Last Jedi.
He was Kylo Ren and Bruce had done a very good job of drawing the scar across the right side of his face. His outfit was all black and was made up of a dimpled tunic, pants, a thick leather belt, knee high shiny boots, leather gloves and a leather effect cape/coat. His costume was finished by the red lightsabre he had painstakingly made by hand.
Bruce had had his heart set on a costume from the moment they’d discussed doing Halloween properly. One of his favourite movie series (and book series) was Harry Potter and Bruce had known immediately that was who he wanted to be. He’d had another pair of glasses with his lenses in them made, specifically for the costume, and they perched at the end of his nose. The lightning bolt scar sat across his forehead in red eyeliner.
His outfit was made up of a grey sweater over a white button up, black pants and black dress shoes. The red and gold tie tucked into the neck of the sweater and then over the top of his outfit sat the black cloak. Draped around his neck sat a matching red and gold scarf. His outfit was completed by a very good replica of Harry’s wand.
Natasha had known instantly what show she wanted a costume from. It was her favourite show of all time, no matter what headspace she was in; Once Upon a Time. She just hadn’t known who she wanted to dress up as. She went through multiple ideas; Ruby, Emma, Female Hook, Snow, before finally deciding on Regina Mills. Or more specifically, The Evil Queen. She’d chosen her favourite episode from season 7 and had gotten to work quickly.
Her outfit was made up of black pants with over the knee suede boots, with a black sleeveless tunic made of leather effect material and soft suede. Smaller strips of black made a half skirt effect around her waist, and silver studs lined each strip. The bottom half of the tunic was made with a sparkly silver/grey hem. She had a cape secured over one shoulder with a thin black strap. The cape was black with a grey marbling effect. Black fingerless gloves went up over her elbows and a small dagger holder with fake dagger sat at her left hip. The outfit was finished with a replica necklace and something Natasha had made to look like a puff of purple magic smoke that she could secure around her palm.
Steve and Bucky spent the next ten minutes taking pictures; of the individuals, of them as a group, holding their props out and posing, then selfies with Bucky and Steve squished into frame, then Clint taking some of the pair posing with fangs just for the pictures.
After hundreds of pictures had been taken, Steve and Bucky passed out matching buckets with their names on before heading down to the car.
They packed up the two strollers since Tony and Natasha might get tired before the older boys were ready to go home.
They had two diaper bags for the youngest kids and backpacks for the oldest kids. Just in case they needed something.
Then they had a bag of cookies, for all the littles at Shield.
Once the car was packed up and all kids were strapped in, Steve drove off to Shield headquarters where some of their favourite people waited for them.
When the car was parked, the boys wasted no time in clambering out, Bucky helping to lift Tony out of his car seat and onto the floor.
Natasha hung back, teeth nibbling her lower lip as she fiddled with the straps of her seatbelt.
Steve crouched down by her open door, brushing a strand of hair from her forehead.
"Nat, what's going on? You don't wanna go show Uncle Phil your costume?" He asked softly.
Natasha fidgeted in her seat, shrugging. "I do." She sighed. "But...but no one’s gonna know who I am an' they won't like my costume." Her voice wavered, hinting at tears if Steve didn't say something quickly.
"Talia, hey, look at me." Steve said gently. "Do you like your costume?"
A small nod.
"And you spent an awfully long time on it with your brothers' help, didn't you?"
"And it came out really well, huh? So does it matter if no one knows who you are? As long as you know. And we know. And we love it?"
Natasha pursed her lips, thoughtful for a moment before shaking her head.
"No." She said softly. "Doesn' matter."
As it turned out, Natasha had nothing to worry about.
When she rounded the corner of the main floor, hand in hand with Steve, she received an excited gasp.
Maria rushed over, a blonde wig pulled over her usual black hair, pink tipped pigtail on one side and blue tipped at the other.
"Oh my god!" The girl gasped, clapping her hands as she dragged Bobbi Morse over to them.
"Regina! Your costume is so pretty, it looks just like hers!" Maria gushed, letting go of the blondes hand to brush her fingers over the cape surrounding Natasha's shoulder.
Natasha flushed deeply, cheeks dimpling as a wide smile crossed her face.
"Thanks Ria!" Natasha beamed. "Your costume is very pretty too!"
Maria looked adorable in her mid-thigh length red and blue shorts, baseball tee with 'mommy's little monster' scrawled across it (Bobbi approved), black tights, pink and blue fingerless gloves, a jacket tied at the waist, a foam baseball bat in hand and one pink and one blue Converse boot, her eyeshadow spot on. She looked just like Harley Quinn from the new Suicide Squad movie.
Maria giggled and pulled on one of her pigtails, adoring eyes looking up at Bobbi. "Yeah, mommy helped me lots and lots."
Bobbi grinned, fingertips brushing over Maria's shoulders. "Well it's my babies first proper Halloween, we had to make a costume to match the awesomeness."
Bobbi wasn't really dressed up, though it seemed like Maria had used her charm to convince the woman to wear a pair of fairy wings and a crown.
Natasha nodded happily in agreement. "Yeah my brothers helped tons! Have you seen them?"
Maria giggled. "Yes! We didn’t recognize Clint at first! They're in Uncle Phil's office."
Steve, who had watched the interaction with warmth in his heart, smiled. "Then we better be getting in there too. You're joining us for trick or treating?"
Bobbi smiled down at Maria. "We are. Meet you down there in fifteen?"
Steve nodded and waved, Natasha waving madly too, despite the fact they were seeing each other again very soon.
Natasha had the most adorable smile on her face as they headed to Phil's office.
"Ria knew who I was." Natasha sighed happily. "An' she said it was just like the real one!"
"I know, baby, isn't that cool?" Steve cooed.
Steve and Natasha joined the rest of the group in Phil’s office, where the man was currently fawning over the boys’ costumes.
He was quite a nerd himself and made all the boys smile by pointing out parts of their costumes and talking about how accurate it was to the real thing.
Clint currently had his chest puffed out in pride as Phil circled around, admiring the hand-made bow and long blonde wig.
As Natasha came in, the man grinned and bowed at the waist, hand sweeping in front of him. “Your Majesty.”
Natasha flushed deeply and giggled, running over for a big hug.
Over her shoulder, Phil winked at Steve.
The older man had known who the boys were, but had had no clue about the show Natasha had picked until Steve had messaged him the day before.
Phil had then subsequently done his research on the show and the character and judging by Natasha’s smug smile, he had said exactly the right thing.
“And you’re all wearing capes.” Phil hummed, admiring all six costumes.
“Yeah!” Clint beamed. “We didn’t even mean to, it just happened!”
“Well you all look perfect.” Phil hummed, stepping over to his desk and pulling out a purple and bag from behind it.
“Now, I decided not to get you kids candy, since you’re probably going to get loads with those awesome costumes, so I hope these presents are okay.” He rummaged in the bag before pulling out the first present; a cuddly black cat stuffed animal with one orange eye and one purple.
The kids’ excited gasps told Phil he’d made the right choice. “Any guesses for who this little guy is for?”
Natasha looked down the line of kids before biting her lip. Kitties were her absolute favourites and it looked just like Liho but with different eyes.
“Mine?” Natasha asked softly.
“Yours.” Phil smiled as he passed her the toy.
She instantly cuddled it to her chest. “Thanks Uncle Phil.”
“You’re very welcome, sweetheart.” Phil pulled from the bag a stuffed robot, with black and blue buttons down the chest.
Tony’s shaky inhale made it clear that that was the toy for him.
Phil smiled softly and crouched as he handed the toy over.
“Thanks!” Tony said sweetly, hugging the toy just like Natasha had.
Next a super soft black raven was pulled out and Clint grinned as it was handed over.
“It’s so squishy!” The boy exclaimed, making it swoop through the air before the beak pressed to Phil’s cheek in a kiss. “Thank you, Uncle Phil.”
The last toy to be pulled out was a standing dark brown meerkat with little black eyes.
Bruce gasped and as the toy was deposited in his grip, he whispered a soft thank you and brushed his nose across the fur.
“You are all very welcome, I hope you like them.” Phil grinned.
All kids gave very affirmative answers and Steve chuckled. “They love them, thank you.”
Phil shrugged. “Like I said, you’re all welcome.”
“What are your plans for this evening?” Bucky asked as the kids played with their toys.
“Nick and I are just gonna go home and stay in, probably. Melinda got in earlier today so we’ll watch some horror films and answer the door to little munchkins looking for candy.”
“Sounds good. A lot less busy than our night.” Steve chuckled. “Where is Nick?”
“Him and Mel have been stuck in meetings all day in order for us to have the night off. It’s rare we get to spend a significant amount of time with Mel in headspace so we’re looking forward to it. And you know her, she’s a teenage girl so we’ll put on something scary at her insistence, but will probably end up watching Hocus Pocus and turning all the lights on when she gets scared.” Phil spoke fondly, shaking his head.
“Yup that sounds like little Melinda.” Bucky hummed. “And hey, we brought homemade cookies for everyone.” The man reached into their own treat bag and pulled out a couple of clear bags tied with orange ribbon and handed them over.
“The kids decorated them themselves. They were very proud.” Steve smiled.
Phil beamed. “Thanks, they look great. And there’s only so much chocolate a person can consume, so these will be a welcome change.” He chuckled.
A hand tugged at Steve’s sleeve and the blonde looked down as Tony continued to pull on his shirt.
“Yeah, bud?” Steve asked softly.
“Trick or treating?” Tony blinked up at him.
Phil laughed. “I’ll take that as my cue to let you get on with it. Have a great time, kids, I’ll see you soon.” He crouched to give them all hugs.
“Wait!” Natasha insisted, patting Bucky’s pocket until the man realised what she wanted and got his phone out.
“You want to take a picture with your uncle, baby?” Bucky asked.
Natasha nodded and all the kids and Phil crowded into the frame to have their picture taken.
Just before leaving, Steve dropped off the rest of the cookies (they had more bags in the car for Maria and Bobbi) in the playroom before herding the kids down to the car.
Bobbi and Maria waved from across the parking lot and as Steve pulled out, the two women followed in their car.
They’d agreed weeks ago on a specific neighborhood to go to; a very popular trick or treating spot due to the vast amounts of Halloween decorations and well known for the candy they handed out.
As they parked and got out the car, Maria was dragging Bobbi over to them. “Ready?” Maria was bouncing from foot to foot and soon she had all the other kids bouncing in excitement too.
“Okay, kids, remember what we talked about? No running off, we take our time so we don’t get lost and so Nat and Tony aren’t tired too quickly. Bruce and Clint, you keep an eye on your siblings and make sure they don’t get pushed around in the crowd.” Steve eyed the group.
“And remember where we parked, by the big oak tree. If anyone gets lost at any point, make sure you call me or Steve and head right back here to the car. Okay?”
The kids all agreed and then it was finally time.
The eight of them took off down the path of the first house, oohing and aahing over the decorations; black bats swinging in the wind, multiple pumpkins lit up, ghosts and zombies on the on the lawn, windows decorating with cobwebs.
Bucky loved how into it people got with decorations, it was so fun to see.
The couple that opened the door were dressed up as Sally and Jack from The Nightmare Before Christmas and Natasha couldn’t help the excited squeal she made as she complimented them on their costumes.
“Trick or treat!” they all chirped.
The couple exchanged happy smiles before calling into the house. In seconds a big scruffy dog was running up the door, adorned with a white sheet and orange tipped nose.
“Zero!” Tony and Natasha gasped, giving countless pets to the dog before standing.
The couple handed out candy into each kids buckets before saying goodnight.
The next couple of houses were equally as lavishly decorated and the kids really got into the swing of things; being the damned adorable kids they were and getting more than one treat each, especially if Natasha shone her cute smile at them.
They stepped around gravestones and skeletons and coffins as they headed up their fifth house.
The door swung open and Natasha giggled as a black cat with a spider costume on ran out of the house. “Look, a spider kitty!” She grinned.
The kids carried on their night, getting more than a few compliments on their costumes.
Not many people knew Natasha’s costume but Maria’s comments from earlier kept her spirits up and made it even sweeter when someone knew who she was.
The grown-ups answering the doors were very good with the kids, exclaiming happily as they called behind them for the other members of the house to come see their amazing costumes.
Even Bruce, the most anxious of the group around strangers, was beaming with pride whenever anyone said what a good Harry Potter he made.
They met other littles on the streets, excited even more when they saw costumes that matched theirs, animatedly talking about the show/movie and getting pictures taken.
They saw Ron’s and Hermione’s and Draco’s, Leia’s and Rey’s and a dog dressed like Chewbacca, Frodo’s and Thranduil’s and Arwen’s, and they saw Emma’s and Henry’s and Snow’s and more Harley’s and Enchantress’s and Deadshot’s and the kids were very very happy about that.
A few hours passed and as the youngest kids got tired, Bucky fetched the pushchairs and got Natasha and Tony settled into them before continuing down to the next street.
All in all, it was a magical night and the kids’ buckets were beyond stuffed to bursting with candy and treats.
When they had enough of walking, the eight of them would head back to the tower and watch one more film and eat some candy before bed.
Their first proper Halloween as littles had been a massive success.
They couldn’t have asked for a better night.
Halloween was the best.