I was putting my son to sleep on Thursday October 27th, and he couldn’t settle himself down. I asked him what the problem was and he said, “Mom, Halloween starts tomorrow and I am so excited that I can’t sleep!” I reminded him that Halloween was four days away and he better get some sleep. As I kissed him goodnight, he just said “Mom, you don’t know what you are talking about.” Truer words have never been more spoken.
Looking back, it seems like it was months ago that we were first putting on those plastic Target costumes and getting ready for the school parties. I can’t remember when I last ate something that was green or not wrapped in cellophane paper. My memory of this holiday is just one big blur of a Twix/Snickers/Fat Tire/Tantrums/Candy Corn/Tantrums/Football/Tantrums extravaganza.
Today, the day after Halloween, I don’t feel right. For the past four days, water, vegetables, and sleep have been forsaken. Because of all the sugar my kids have ingested, their mood swings have been unbearable. They have gone from depression to elation and back again like a never-ending roller coaster.
To begin…we started last week with a party at the preschool on Thursday, which was then repeated again on Friday. Because my daughter is nothing like me (fashion has never been my strength), she wanted to have a different look for each party…Cinderella on Thursday, Southern Belle on Friday. I barely managed to remember the $5 for the Thursday party, the Pin the Tail on the Cat game for the Friday party, the individually wrapped candy for my son’s after school party, and the video camera for the Spooky Song Fest. At the last minute I remembered to bring the required copy of my TB test to the school so I could help out with the parties. Who knew you have to prove you are not a carrier of some communicable disease in order to hand out orange and black frosted cupcakes. It was never ending.
We had Preschool parties, Kindergarten parties, Costume Parties, Halloween Block parties, Chili + Costume Parties, and a 3 hour Trick or Treat Marathon Party. We ate, we drank, and we carved pumpkins that did not turn out that well. When we weren’t eating or putting on costumes, we were taking Halloween pictures. My kids wore their costumes for so many days that I am afraid to wash them...I am confident the slightest bit of water will cause them to disintegrate. We took photos of every moment, every parade and every party…at this time, I now have over seven hundred pictures of my kids in the Exact. Same. Outfits.
Looking back, I am amazed at the intensity and effort that goes into Halloween. The only thing that amazes me more is the amount of pictures people have uploaded onto Facebook in the last five days. The fact that the website has not crashed over the last 96 hours is a miracle. Was Facebook really prepared for a Halloween that fell on a Monday? Did they know that for five straight days, millions of people, all across America, would literally lose control and upload pictures by the thousands? Every costume imaginable and every pumpkin patch in the country is somehow represented on my News Feed. The comments are endless…“Aw, cute costume!”…“OMG, precious!”… “I can’t believe how BIG they are!” I am just waiting for someone to say to a woman who made her children’s costumes by hand, “Is that all you got?”
When I somehow find the one picture where I look relaxed, rested and young, I too will change my profile picture. It may take awhile…
I just don’t remember it being like this when I was a kid. All I know is that my dad got home from work, took off his tie, and poured himself a tall stiff scotch while yelling at us to get ready. My brother and I would quickly slip on our costumes and head out the door. We always made our own costumes from what we had in the house. They weren’t homemade in a “cool creative” way…it was more like the “you are on your own” way. For a couple of years, I was a cockroach (black garbage bag covering my body plus foil attached to a headband) and I was happy. Normally, once we were ready, my mom would take ONE picture of my brother and I in front of the house and have it developed in the next two to three years. You never realized how ridiculous you looked until many years later.
As my dad followed behind us, with his red solo cup and flashlight, we would knock on doors, get some candy, and go home. Once home, my mom would tell us that she hoped we had fun but that we were not allowed to eat any of the candy until she inspected it. Growing up she had many fears…from satellites falling from the sky to having an amoeba swim up our nose and eat our brains away. Yet one of her biggest fears was having us be poisoned by our Halloween candy. Once home, that woman became an FBI agent. She left no Starburst unturned, no Snickers unopened. Nothing makes Halloween scarier than a deep embedded fear that one wrong Tootsie Roll could end your life.
I remember dumping the candy on the floor and getting to choose the ten pieces I wanted to keep. Back then there was no such thing as the “Candy Fairy” that allowed you to trade your candy for a special toy. Instead we had the “Parent Fairy”, which was a little different. Basically when you weren’t looking, your parents would grab all your candy and throw it away…no toy, just a promise that they knew what was best.
Last night, as my husband and son were walking home after literally canvassing the neighborhood, my husband said “Son, I am getting pretty tired. I think we need to be done.” My son looked at his father and shook his head in disappointment. He walked up to his dad and said “Come on Dad, be strong. You are better than that…we are not done yet.” And so they kept walking, and the holiday kept going, and the longest Halloween of my life continued on.
This morning my son woke up with the attitude of a sullen teenage boy. He wouldn’t talk, smile or say good morning. He didn’t want cereal or a bagel for breakfast, and he said he wasn’t going to school. I asked him what the problem was and he just rolled his eyes at me. As he walked away he turned around and said “Mom, this was the worst Halloween ever! I didn’t even get to hand out any candy BECAUSE YOU took me trick or treating for too long!!!!”
Next year my kids are going to be roaches and I am going to have a water bottle filled with scotch…