Growing up, Halloween was not a holiday celebrated in our family. I was raised in a conservative Christian household and Halloween was associated with rituals and theories that did not align with those of my parents. As a result, my siblings and I did not dress up in costumes, nor did we trick or treat.
To compensate for our exclusion from a childhood tradition, I can remember my parents taking us places on the night of Halloween so we wouldn’t be home. One year, my mom gave my sister and I a significant bowl of candy and let us watch the trick or treaters from our upstairs bedroom window. We always had our lights off on Halloween and we never answered the door.
It sounds very dreary but it wasn’t. I didn’t know what I was missing really; I was only about Henry’s age. I definitely don’t remember being bothered or upset about it too much. And, as the youngest of four children, I was the beneficiary of a more relaxed parenting style as my siblings and I aged. By the time we moved to Indiana, I was permitted to celebrate with the pagans a bit and can remember canvassing the neighborhood for candy in middle school.
Having an untraditional introduction to a traditional holiday like Halloween has thrown me a bit as an adult. And, especially as a parent. Since I didn’t grow up celebrating Halloween, its rituals and conventions are a bit lost on me. I GET the point of the holiday, I’m just COMPLETELY unenthused, if that makes sense.
Historically, Halloween has been a last minute endeavor around here. When the sun starts to set on October 31, I usually look at the boys, ask if anyone wants to go trick or treating, pull out the dress-up bin from the closet and say, “Have at it.” There is no forethought put into costumes or adornments. I definitely remember buying pumpkins last year but carving them seemed super messy so I think they were relegated to Autumnal Decoration on the front stoop.
The thing is, people in the suburbs really love Halloween. You should see my neighborhood. It’s all orange lights, fake bodies emerging from fake tombstones, cotton cobwebs on bushes, bats and ghosts swinging from porch rafters. Someone has even set up an honest-to-goodness haunted house on their front porch that trick or treaters can traipse through. Last year, our first Halloween here, I ran out of candy. And, I had a lot of candy. I also ran out of patience because, goodness kids, it’s 9:30 at night so stop ringing my doorbell and go home. You have school tomorrow.
Bowing to peer pressure, this year, I vowed to put about 50 percent more effort into Halloween. Which means, I started discussing costumes with the kids two days ago.
Henry is going as a character from Lego’s Hero Factory. He designed and drew his own chest emblem with the Hero Factory logo and while it is admirable for its creativity, I can’t help but think it resembles a health textbook sketch of the female reproductive system. I guess that’s a costume idea in and of itself.
Charlie, inspired by his Uncle’s four-wheeler, is going as an ATV driver. The puffy vest is an integral part of his costume (according to him), even if it is two sizes too big and 80 degrees out there today.
Millie doesn’t really have time for this ridiculous exercise or whatever other nonsense we throw in her path to becoming a two-year-old tween but I forced her into a hand-me-down strawberry costume. Because if I’m going to put 50 percent more effort into Halloween, I want 50 percent cuter pictures.
Have a Happy Halloween you guys! Here’s hoping you and your kids have a safe night of politely asking other people for food. And, may your kids bring home only the good stuff. None of that Laffy Taffy crap.