Oh wait- judging by that title I could see why you might think I was going to be gushing over how proud I am of Gabi and how cute she looked with all of her schoolfriends all dressed up for Halloween.
I despise Halloween. I dread it every year and am SO relieved when it’s over. Let me clarify I know Halloween has a Christian explanation but our secular society has gotten a hold of it and capitalized on every aspect. I don’t mind the trick or treating and I certainly LOVE seeing my kids have fun and get free candy but when did Halloween become another over commercialized holiday that is celebrated at our schools!? So- we don’t do anything for Christmas, Hanukkah, Yom Kippor, Easter, Ramadan, but we overdo Halloween, for what? to say we had parties at school!? Then don’t do any parties… school is for learning anyway. The entire week of Halloween was wasted. No spelling that week, no new math lessons, hardly any reading because they are just too wired to sit still. I’m not a total curmudgeon; I am actually quite a fun person and Love to have fun with my kids and their friends. We are very creative with our fun.
But, when you have 5 kids (even 2 or 3 kids), any holiday gets very expensive. When each child is to dress up in a costume, it is crazy ridiculous.. even if you make a costume, there is always something needed that costs money. So Halloween time, we, as moms, help our kids carve pumpkins, run around to all the stores trying to find the perfect sword, or glove, or magic wand to match the child’s costume. We sew, hot glue, practice the make up. God for bid, something breaks before the big reveal, you are screwed. We duct tape the last accessories, we braid the hair to get the perfect curl and then Halloween morning- we (meaning me) race around applying make up to our kids faces in either gruesome, scary contortions, or glittery, sparkling butterflies and princesses. For me, this is in addition to our usual crazy morning with a special needs kid with meds and tube feeding schedules for Gabi, changing diapers, eating breakfast…etc. Don’t get me wrong, the kids look great when their costumes are complete and I try to snap a quick picture even though only 3 of the 5 are dressed up so far. So I get them to school and make sure we have our donations for the room moms (this year- 2 cans of frosting, cut up apples, and cash for the other 2 rooms) and then the race really begins. We race to the preschool to catch the parade where the young children march around the playground and parking lot with their hands freezing because we can’t put hats on their heads… it would ruin their costume! Moms and Dads, even grandparents gather all around, cameras ready, chatting about how cute they all look. Half the kids are in tears because they don’t know what the heck is going on and they are freezing. But all the moms gush over how cute the kids look. And everyone looks and judges over the cute, store bought costumes that are going to be thrown back into our Halloween bins in less in than 24 hours. Now, I complain about this but am I guilty of this behavior? absolutely.
When the preschoolers get back into the warmth of their classroom, Max and I get back into my car and race to the Kindergarten parade that started 5 minutes ago. I make it to the end, the description is virtually the same, only the children are a bit older and less are crying. One child was crying in the corner talking with another teacher because he wasn’t wearing his costume. Either his mom forgot it was Halloween (!!), or didn’t know the Kindergarteners were to wear their costime to school. Nonetheless, the child is very upset. I grab a few picture of my adorable pink leopard Kindergartner and her friends.
Ok- K parade, check. Max and I race to Walmart to pick out our candy. I can’t buy candy before hand because I eat it all. me… just me. Each bag of candy has about 10 pieces and costs $2.89 a bag. We live in a neighborhood with a lot of kids and we can’t be the cheapos to hand out just one fun size candy bar…so I spent over $40 on candy. $40 on candy. $40 for candy….
Race home, give my sharkboy a quick nap and then off to pick up the kids. I will pick up Gabi early because I have to get the big kids school to get them home. All the kids at our school go home for lunch on Halloween to change into the costumes. Yes, we have 45 minutes to eat lunch and then get the big kids into the costumes and back to school to watch their parade at 1:00. Again, lots of camaras, judgement of costumes, not as many tears, but lots of freezing hands and bouncing off the wall children. To pick up the 3 big kids takes over 15 minutes because the entire school is going home for lunch and parents in their cars are stressed to their limit, same as me… deep breath, we make it home.
Their parties go on at school while Max, Gabi , Marissa and I head home for a quick
rest cleaning of the house. Pick the boys up at the end of school at 3:40 and then head home to refresh their costumes and hope to God that my husband has caught an early train to take them all trick or treating. Luckily, I remembered to throw a dinner (thank you to my moms plus group: supperclub) into the crockpot at 5 this morning when I got up. The kids get home, we have a quick “healthy” snack and get ready for trick or treating…. only to find my 6 year old Marissa freaking out while tearing through her room. She informs that she lost her leopard ears and her stuffed animal leopard, which she has named, Leppy (yes, it does sound like the animal has leprosy). So, we back track and she remembers that we left the beloved items in the driveway of our friends’ house while watching one of the parades. Awesome.
I was ready to put the kids into the car and drive the 2 blocks over there to hunt down the prized posessions, when I receive some grace. My mother pulls up in front of my house. Halleluia. Marissa and I race over to our neighbor’s and her stuff is no where to be found. Our friend was home and even looked in his bathroom. I thanked him and drove my crying, devastated daughter home. I need a freakin’ drink. 4:05. All the neighbor kids are already out trick or treating. We are missing our usual posse. Marissa and I get home, to find Ethan, my oldest son, the squirrel, bleeding in the kitchen and my middle son, Hawkeye- from the Avengers, crying and not so sympathetically begging for forgiveness. Ethan had cut himself on Thomas’ flying bow and arrow. We wrap up the hand and when I’m ready to pack up the stroller and hit the sidewalks, more grace for little ol’ me. Marissa cries out from her room that she found her Leppy and her leopard ears. Halleluia. And then- my husband walks in the door. Another Halleluia. Max is screaming because he hasn’t napped and my mom is doing her best to comfort him. Trick or treating went fine, despite the usual whining and fighting. But all of the kids were polite by thanking each of our lovely neighbors for their candy.
So, my disdain for Halloween in summary? Spending way too much money/time/energy, wasted time in school, too many judgements on costumes, and then having too much candy in the house… all for what? A loosely based Christian holiday totally distorted by our consumeristic society.
However, did my little Gabi look precious in her butterfly costume? Yes. Did she have fun at school at her Halloween party? yes. Did all the kids have fun? yes. Usually I will say all the stress is worth it. But in this case, it was not. I still despise Halloween even though it’s over. However, I do love when they get home from trick or treating and their noses are cold, makeuped faces all worn off and dump their candy bags on the living room floor. I love that moment.. or maybe I am just happy Halloween is over. I may just keep them all home next year and have our own Halloween party before trick or treating.