When I was a kid, I loved Halloween. I might even venture to say that it was my favorite holiday (next to Christmas, of course—what kid doesn’t love Christmas???). Back then, I was a Halloween junkie. The planning of my costume started back in August. I wanted to have the most original costume—no store brought would do for me.
I can even remember what I was every single Halloween of my childhood. And trick or treating? It was the best night of our kid year—racing from house to house, barely waiting for people to get to the door, strategically working with your friends and siblings to work both sides of the street to maximize your candy to collection time ratio. And then the piles of candy on the living room rug afterward?
My God, I’m getting the stomach ache that I was promised just thinking about it. Even though my parents never let us eat most of the candy (mysterious razor blades appeared in almost all the chocolate bars), the rest sat on top of the fridge in a bowl, tempting me to sneak candy from my bag directly into my secret hiding spot in my room. Not that I actually did that or anything, Mom. You know, cuz of razor blades…
Then as parent (and as a nurse in an elementary school—good God I could write a blog just about the horror of THAT) Halloween changed completely for me.
Not at first, mind you. When my son was little, I was pretty young and still enjoyed dressing up for Halloween myself. I was so excited for his first Halloween as a little pumpkin. 🎃 (and he just sat in the stroller like a lump, his big pumpkin head listing to the left…) The first few years were easy—I would pick out what I thought was cute, we would trick or treat for an hour, and hubby and I would split the Reese’s and Kit Kats. The kid would get the lollipops and never be wiser. Win win for everyone.
Then out of the clear blue sky, the kid wanted to pick his own costume! And he would change his mind forty times before Halloween. So then we joined the masses of lunatics at the Halloween stores, hunting down that year’s “IT” costume. And then he wanted me and hubby to dress up in costumes that went with his—Peter Pan, Captain Hook, Tinkerbell. Think about how many hours we waste as parents at Halloween stores as our children have meltdown in the aisle because the “Blue’s Clue’s” costume in the store has the wrong color nose?
And Halloween makeup that they’re inevitably going to rub all over their sleeve five minutes after you put it on? Ugh the stress. Or at least I thought that was Halloween stress.
Then, along came child number two who at a VERY young age became particular about her costumes (I think she came out of the womb screaming about her Halloween costume). Child number two is where I really got punished for what I must have put my mother through as a child—she wanted everything homemade.
It started when she was 4. She DID NOT want to be a princess or a fairy or a ballerina like all the other girls. SHE wanted to be a grocery bag. Yup. She had to see it on tv or something because this was before the days of Pinterest and You Tube videos. (Thank goodness for small favors).
Fifty million hours of hot glue gunning empty packages to her costume. I broke out into a cold sweat as Halloween crept closer and her costume wasn’t done yet. On Halloween, my fingers were burnt from where I missed, and half the “groceries” fell off before she made it to the first house. Not to mention, it was kind of hard to walk in a cardboard box and it was incredibly hot that year. I ended up carrying the costume and my feet went numb from walking in the heat.
That’s when I started cursing Halloween. Forget dressing up for me and the hubby anymore—I could barely handle one costume anymore.
A few years later, when Pinterest appeared in our lives, she discovered an American Girl doll costume I HAD to make. Once again, I stressed out over a costume she couldn’t even walk in as she went trick or treating. I had to carry the costume…while we walked four hundred miles and my feet got numb from the cold this time.
The Reese’s weren’t even worth it anymore—I could get a bag for 70% the next day and not end up with fingers glued together and numb feet. I tried to talk her into store brought costumes after that…she resisted and continued torturing me.
Raccoons and “The Old Lady in the Shoe” and anything else she could dream up that was innately difficult to make or find in any store. Last year, she wanted to be an iPhone—countless hours of cutting out “Apps” for the front of ANOTHER CARDBOARD BOX…for what???? Another costume that she couldn’t trick or treat in!
The stress of making these homemade costumes was causing me to go through a ridiculous amount of TUMS before Halloween so I swore…NO MORE!
This year I refused. Yup…I was a BAD MOMMY. But…she made her own costume…a billion hours (and quite a few dollars) worth of a costume that yup, she couldn’t even go trick or treating in! (She won “Funniest Costume” at her school dance so I guess that was worth it for her.)
Hence, this is why Halloween is the worst…too much pressure from my child to create a great costume. Whatever happened to those plastic grocery store costumes with the masks that you couldn’t breathe behind? Those were nice…we should try those for next year…