I have complicated feelings about Halloween. I’m not a fan of the scary stuff or the sugar overload. I mean, I like mini Butterfingers as much as the next gal, but I could do without the fake bloody body parts and 5 lbs. of jumbo Tootsie Rolls. But Halloween is such a big deal when you have kids. Mine were talking about their costumes back in August. AUGUST!!
I do like the dressing-up part of Halloween, though, and so do my kids. As an adult I don’t dress up myself, but I enjoy helping my kids make or assemble their costumes. I love the cute, fuzzy baby and toddler costumes. I saw a pint-sized garden gnome that was adorableness personified. And I love the rare – though less so since Pinterest – creative, homemade costumes. Will you get a load of these Frosted Flakes?!
For years, I was happy to bust out the glue gun to make a green dog, Angry Bird, and Pokemon costume for my kids. Alas, I’m afraid our DIY costume days may be over. Superheroes with elaborate masks, padded muscles, and included weapons have taken over, at least for my little guy.
And this year I was surprised and a little sad when my 4th grader announced he would not be trick-or-treating, but wanted to stay home, pass out candy, and watch a movie with friends instead. We’ll see if peer pressure and the promise of free candy wins out this weekend, but he’s always been one of those strange kids with the baffling willpower to take or leave most sweets. Unless we’re talking about a box of Nerds, that is. Then: watch out!
I’ve never been the kind of parent who weeps over the baby books while humming “Cat’s in the Cradle.” The years may go fast but the days are still plenty long at my stage. And mostly, I’m happy to see my kids grow up. But I will say I’m often caught off guard and a little sentimental when they let go of something before I’m ready. Like all the PBS Kids shows. And their funny way of saying certain words like “commercial” and “dessert.” And now my 9yo doesn’t want matching pajamas and sheets printed with dinosaurs and dump trucks. He wants a plain toothbrush, not one with cartoon characters on it. He won’t say it, but I know what he’s thinking: too babyish.
These bittersweet milestones often happen suddenly and unceremoniously. Like we’ll show up at a park one day and I’ll notice they’re not interested in the playground anymore. Or a certain camp or activity no longer gets them excited. It makes me sad to think that story times and sing-alongs may be in my past. (Not sad enough to have another one even if I could, so calm down, you baby-crazies!)
I’m often that person who takes too long to let go. I am slow to warm up to things, and slow to let them go. I dread dull routines, but fear change. Every exercise class, job, and hairdresser I’ve ever had has changed or gone away before I was ready. The thing about life is, whether you want it to happen or not, the letting-go seems to be inevitable. If you’re lucky, the thing you’re letting go of (or that lets go of you) gets replaced with something even better. But sometimes, it’s just gone, just a fond memory in the rearview mirror.
I won’t be that sad to let Halloween go, if and when that ever happens. I’d be happy to stay home, watch a movie, and hand out candy. Garden gnomes and cardboard-box robots, you get extra. Scary clowns and bloody zombies, you stay away. And if anybody needs a cute, clearly homemade costume, I’ve got my glue gun ready!
LINK O’ THE DAY: This writer and mom shares similar sentiments in “The rise and fall of Fort Couch Cushion.”