Moms, I want to tell you a secret: Halloween existed before Pinterest and Pottery Barn personalized trick or treat buckets. It did. And you know what? Kids had fun.
They went door to door with pillowcases, foraging for candy. They went to parties and haunted houses. They bobbed for apples. The parents sat on the front porch, handing out candy while smoking Marlboro Reds and sipping Riunite on ice.
We’re never going to get back the simplicity of the ’70s, but we can de-stress the Halloween experience of 2015. Come on, moms. We’re getting wound up about how we’re going to “do Halloween” in late August.
When it comes to Halloween, I’m a lazy mom and I’m proud of it. Do you want to know why? Because my kids have a happy Halloween experience. It’s one night, and we don’t spend a ton of time worrying about how that one night will play out. If you want to be influenced by my lazy Halloween ways, here are some tips:
1. Pinterest is not your friend
Pinterest is full of crazy ideas about how to make a Minecraft-themed costume in 127 easy steps and how to make an edible haunted house out of graham crackers, green food coloring and five bags of candy corn. Pinterest will convince you that you need to “boo” every room in your house. You will get sucked into the crafty madness and find yourself dazed, standing in the middle of a craft store searching for supplies to make pumpkin toilet paper covers. Pinterest is for crazy people and people who want to be like Martha Stewart, although that might actually be the same thing.
2. Wait until the last minute to buy costumes and candy
Wal-Mart (or whatever shiny, big box retailer you throw your money at) is not going to run out of candy and Halloween crap on October 30. Sure, you might get the “picked over” candy, but it’s not like your kids are really going to have to eat it, right? You’re going to take them to houses owned by people who were organized enough to get the good stuff. Win.
And yeah, you might not get the choice costumes if you buy late, but you will get something. I — no kidding — bought costumes for my kids at 3 p.m. on October 31 once. Superman and Yoda. Some of the other moms were a little disturbed that my boys’ costumes didn’t “go together,” but they didn’t know the difference. There are always witch and ghost costumes that are pretty easy to put together with what’s in your closet (or trash).
3. Just say no to decorations
Get a plastic pumpkin or some other sort of candy receptacle. See also: Tupperware mixing bowl. Put it on the dining room table. Voilà… centerpiece. Buy a pumpkin. Carve two large triangles for eyes and one small triangle for the nose. Carve a creepy grimace or a snaggletooth grin, depending on how much you want to freak your kids out. Unless someone in your family is the Clark W. Griswold of Halloween and wants to turn your front yard into a haunted house, then don’t feel you need to hit the same decorating threshold that you would for Christmas.
4. Repeat after me: “I do not need Halloween accessories.”
Your kids do not need personalized trick-or-treat buckets, personalized flashlights or personalized flippin’ anything. They don’t need to accessorize their costume with 17 glow-in-the-dark bracelets. And you, Mom, do not need to have an entire pumpkin/bat/witch/skeleton ensemble to shuffle your little angels around the neighborhood with while they beg for candy. It’s dark. No one can see you.
This rule is null and void if you have a pumpkin/bat/witch/skeleton travel mug for your wine and a plain T-shirt that reads, “This is my effing costume,” in glow-in-the-dark letters. If you can pull that off, then you’re pretty much the rock star of Halloween.
Enjoy this night… It is, after all, supposed to be fun.