It all went down when I happened to read an article by a fellow blogger who confessed her overwhelming mommy guilt for failing to make her son a custom-crafted Halloween costume for his annual school parade.
What in the world? I thought to myself. Are you telling me that some people actually make Halloween costumes?
I'm not even exaggerating when I tell you that it took me 27 years of life and six years of parenting before I realized that some mothers would even start to feel guilty about not making their kids' Halloween costumes. And I still don't understand what all the fuss is about.
Growing up, my siblings and I looked forward to the annual bringing-out-of-the Halloween-costume-box. Over the years, my mom had collected a mass of hand-me-down costumes and outdated clothing that, come October, we would assemble into an eclectic mix of creepy characters. Sure, my mom would offer suggestions for what we could dress up as (even back then, I wasn't very creative) and sure, she would help us slather on some green face paint (spoiler alert: I was a witch almost every year), but for the most part, our great big Halloween box represented the ultimate in child-led creativity. We were free to don my dad's old captain's hat and pretend we were sailors or adorn ourselves in a Gothic velvet gown that, to this day, no one is really sure which relative passed down (and hopefully didn't die in).
Halloween, to us, represented a time to just have fun, and if our costumes were old and a bit shabby? We didn't know any better. And luckily, we were just proud of our own original creations. And let's not forget the fact that it may have also helped that there were no "mommy blogs" or Instagram face-offs to make my mom feel guilty about her lack of ingenuity.
Probably partly due to the fact that Halloween was always such a fun time in my house as a child, I still look forward it every year. And I've taken my mom's lead in keeping Halloween a low-key, stress-free holiday that I can actually enjoy, instead of another day that I need to prep for, plan for and show off for. I let my kids decide what they would like to dress up as each year, and if we can't assemble the look from our stash of at-home dress-up clothes or some makeshift ingredients, I have no problem buying them a costume from the store. Heck, with four kids, I figure I'm basically earning money with all the ways that costume will be re-used among them all.
So when Halloween rolls around and I see another mom who has hand stitched a glorious, second-to-none costume for her kid, I will raise my stolen-from-my-kid's-stash candy bar to her in the spirit of no-competition motherhood.
And maybe ask if I can borrow the costume for next year.
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