Boo Humbug!

Reason #592 I feel mother’s guilt: I’m so bad at Halloween. Even as a kid I remember I was never really into it. When it came to costumes, I was highly unoriginal. I dressed up as a witch for like, 5 years in a row. Cliche much?  And also foreshadowing, according to my husband. 

Every year I feel this maternal obligation to get all excited about Halloween. You know, volunteer for the class party, jump on the neighborhood hay ride for trick-or-treating, come up with some amazing costume ideas for my kids that WON’T cost me 8 gazillion dollars. Why do I do it? Because I don’t want my kids to grow up with shitty Halloween memories of their their mom. But secretly (and because my kids don’t read this blog yet) I hate Halloween. Here’s why:
The choosing of the costumes: 
Inevitably my boys will always want to be something gory and gross. I remember when they were babies and I could chose cute little costumes for them. When my oldest was 2 he was Jumpsuit Elvis. My middle boy once fell asleep trick-or-treating in his Winnie the Pooh costume with the adorable puffy tummy.  Now they want to be Zombie Blood Brains, and Blood and Guts Swamp Monsters. And that’s palatable compared to the girl’s costumes these days. Slutty Big Bird and Whorehouse Alice in Wonderland? Gross. It didn’t used to be that way. My daughter is 4 and I’m already having anxiety over it.
Cold Weather Costuming:
We live in Minnesota. It’s frickin’ cold here in October! In 1991 we actually had a blizzard dump 20 inches of snow on us on Halloween night. Have you ever tried to adapt a mermaid costume for 29 degree trick-or-treating weather? It’s daunting. Generally what happens is, we shell out 40 bucks for “the perfect costume” only to end covering it up with winter coats, hats and mittens, and scarves. Could somebody please invent a cute “all bundled up” line of costumes for kids in the upper Midwest already?!
Is is just me or is trick-or-treating the oddest tradition?  We preach to our kids about stranger danger. But on Halloween we encourage them to march right up to complete strangers’ doorsteps and beg for treats. Weird! And then there’s handing out candy. Is there anything more annoying than buying candy to give to kids who are 14 and not even wearing a costume? And remember when we were kids and our parents would have to inspect our candy for needles and razor blades? You’d think parents would have caught on back then that trick-or-treating was weird. Why are we still doing it? 
Adult Costumes:
I need to preface this one with a preemptive apology to my best friend who loves a good costume party. Over the years she and her husband have come up with some elaborate and amazing couples costumes. It’s totally their thing. It’s just not my thing. Wearing costumes makes me feel awkward, self-conscious and…what’s the word for, the opposite of creative? Yeah. That. Remember the episode of Modern Family when Mitch showed up to work in costume on Halloween only to find that nobody else dressed up? It’s a cautionary tale. 
I feel like I should clarify that there ARE a few times I can remember actually enjoying Halloween festivities. First was the Halloween of 1988. I had just seen the musical Cats and decided I HAD to be a Broadway cat for Halloween that year. So with my black tights, black leotard, white (?) jazz shoes, fuzzy ears and tail, and KILLER face paint courtesy of my mom…I actually won a costume contest and ended up on local TV! (Oh, the irony.) And twice we have celebrated Halloween with our kids at the Magic Kingdom for Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party. Now that was beyond fun! Only Disney could turn a holiday I hate into an enjoyable time!
I’ll be honest…I can’t wait until my kids outgrow the Halloween phase. (Side note: I’m not a total curmudgeon. I feel the complete opposite way about Christmas. If only they believed in Santa forever I’d be one happy Mama.) But until that time comes, I’ll help carve pumpkins with fake enthusiasm, continue eating candy that I don’t need by the handful, stuff as many warm layers as possible under the mermaid costume until she looks like a sumo wrestler, and pretend I’m having fun. I’ll do it for the sake of their happiness. It’s what mom’s do. 

Happy Halloween everyone. 
Now let’s get this shit over with! 


  1. Boo Humbug is right. It’s so funny that you feel this way when we had SO much fun as kids dressing up like matching pumpkins. Or some scary clown and punk rocker. NOW I know why you always had something going on during my Halloween Parties. Thanks for the shout out…we’re heading to a contest tomorrow night for last year’s fortune teller costumes. It’s also so funny that you will be playing Christmas music and putting up your tree on November 1st and MY husband will be ba-humbuging about people prematurely putting up their Christmas stuff. 🙂 Love ya, Re. No worries. Hey, even though we shouldn’t be having the handfuls of candy, isn’t it the best to steal your favorites after they go to bed?? Guilty pleasure. xoxo

    • Ha! You totally busted me on the Christmas-time ridiculousness. I cannot deny it. See? We all have our “thing.” I guess I DO have many fun memories of dressing up and trick or treating with you. Perhaps I’ve blocked them out over the years. Your milk carton costume comes to mind. 🙂 Good luck at the costume contest!

  2. Haha!! I feel your pain.. I usually THINK I have the spirit but then, inevitably, someone decides that *I* should dress up for something. Uh. No.

  3. I’m not a big Halloween fan either and I guess it genetic…when my daughter was four and we were out trick or treating with a very enthusiastic group, she very loudly asked, “Why do we have to do this, we have candy at home.” Love that kid!

  4. I *love* dressing up!! I don’t go overboard decorating for very many things because that’s just more work to clean up later, but dressing up is still fun for me. Plus, I love stealing….I mean “inspecting” all the kids’ candy!

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