Halloween was meant to be fun. But, I think there is an evolution that happens in your life from the time you first discover what it is even all about, to the time you become a parent and it is all of a sudden your job to make sure your kids’ Halloween wishes come true. Halloween changes over time as you age. And, while there is fun to be had in every stage, everything changes when you become a parent.
Stage 1: Candy Love/Obsession. Yesterday, as I slid the hand-me-down Woody costume onto my almost two year old to go to our church’s trunk or treat activity, he burst into tears. I grabbed the Woody doll and tried to explain. “See, you’re Woody! This is fun! It’s Halloween!” He cried for 15 minutes. I would have taken him out of it, but you see, it was quite a fight to get him into it in the first place. Like, a ridiculous one. Maybe that’s why he was a tad bit traumatized? Anyway, we get there though, and people start handing him candy. And, suddenly a light bulb goes off. Suddenly, he’s totally into it. This morning, he brought me the costume and said his word for “treat”. It’s amazing to see the innate obsession for sugar that we are all obviously born with. The word “treat” has now jumped to the #1 spot in his most used vocabulary words. This is me at about the same age:
That cute little Dalmatian even made it into the local newspaper.
Stage 2: Exhaustion. This has to happen somewhere between 3-5 years old. You love Halloween, but you’re not quite up for the task. It’s hard work walking to all of those houses, but your little body can’t stop. You must. get. more. candy. Then you end up like this:
A sad little cowgirl/cheerleader/floozy that just stepped out of a bar. Maybe I’m sad because no one knew what I was supposed to be. Poor thing. Working for that candy is no joke in this stage.
Stage 3: Quantity. I think at about 6 years old, when you are bigger, stronger, and can read, trick or treating becomes the ultimate in strategy. How many houses can I hit? What’s the game plan? How many of each candy bar did I get? How can I trick my little brother into giving me some of his candy so I can keep more for myself. My oldest is definitely in this stage right now.
Stage 4: I’m too old for this, but I still want candy. The kids that fall into this category are usually around 14+. Heck, sometimes, I see adults trying this. I don’t dare tell them no, but I DO make the big kids say trick or treat. You want to come to my house wearing a potato sack and get handed candy? You are going to say trick or treat dang it! They roll their eyes and shove the bag forward. It’s a battle of wills. But, I don’t give in. I make them say it. “What do you saaaay?”, I say in my most annoying sing songy voice. They mumble reluctantly, “trick or treat”. I always win because the desire for candy is very powerful.
Stage 5: Adulthood (when it becomes a lot of work). I don’t know about you, but I have been almost brought to tears because of the stress of Halloween. No longer can you just slap some pony tails on your kid, give her some floozy make-up and a denim skirt and call the costume good. A quick trip around the block after dinner is not all there is to it. NOOO. You have to go to the church activity, the preschool parade, the neighborhood party, the elementary school parade, and by the time Halloween night actually gets there, you rationalize the 5,000 calories you are going to sit down and eat that night after the kids go to bed. “I earned it.” You think. I dressed them up 5 times, got boo’ed, had to boo people back, kept them from getting grass stains or chocolate on their costumes for a week, cooked chili for the neighborhood block party, and spent hours on pinterest finding the perfect school snack that I could take that was dairy, soy, nut, AND gluten free but also looked like a ghost. By the time Halloween night comes around, you are seriously questioning your sanity. What better way to fix the problem than to lay in bed eating your favorite candy bar in tiny bite sized portions? Who cares that you had to open 32 tiny wrappers to get the same quantity. Yep, when Halloween night comes around, you just want it to be over.
That picture says it all doesn’t it? My Dad’s birthday is today. I’m sure he spent many, MANY Halloweens like this. Carrying a kid home (in this case…me) that had passed out from Halloween fun. Hopefully we at least baked the man a cake, but maybe not. I can just see it now….my mom says as they’re walking in the door after he’s had to carry me 5 blocks home, “Honey, let me take a picture” My Dad turns around and is thinking, “I just want this night to end.”
To parents everywhere: You’re almost there. Halloween is almost over, and when you lay your kids down to sleep tonight, don’t feel guilty stealing those tiny snickers bars. You have earned them, my friend.