Rummaging through the racks in my local consignment store, I searched desperately for a yellow hoodie. I found an orange one, but I quickly put it back on the rack. Mentally scrolling through my shopping options, I thought, “I have to find a yellow hoodie. E is gonna freak out if he cannot be a Minion for Halloween.”
That’s when it hit me. Halloween will never be the same.
Pre-child, it was not unusual for my husband and me to have more than 70 people at our Halloween party. We had claimed this holiday as our own, and our friends expected nothing less than a blowout — complete with Jell-O shots and mildly offensive, sometimes inappropriate, costumes.
Let’s not forget the “shot luge.” In case you were wondering, yes, things that taste good when licked off of a 150 pound block of ice will give you a hangover.
What happened to us?
We had our son.
I used to plan my costume meticulously. I once bedazzled a dollar sign onto a dress. I also purchased a pair of clear heels that lit up when you walked, just because they went perfectly with my dollar sign dress. I mean, other than Halloween, when can you wear shoes that light up? Or for that matter, break out a BeDazzler?
These days, I spend my time finding all of the pieces for my son’s costume — or begging my mother to make a costume, because I can’t sew.
We still like to dress up for the big day, but my costume choices these days are less mermaid and more muumuu.
Much more sedate, wouldn’t you agree?
My husband will not be preparing any of his famous Jell-O shots this year. Instead, he will be checking his flashlight to make sure the batteries are good. Then, he will make sure the exterior of our house is decorated with intricately carved pumpkins and welcoming lawn ornaments.
We were new around here last year and realized we needed to step up our game. The houses were fully decorated and handing out not just candy, but hot cider and adult beverages.
I was trying to disguise my wine in a coffee mug. Amateur move.
While I am on the subject of traversing the neighborhood, I would be remiss if I did not mention prepping my 5-year-old for a fairly long hike. Last year, he did pretty well for the first mile or so, but things started to go downhill after about an hour.
You haven’t lived until you have walked through your neighborhood carrying eight pounds of candy, a pirate sword and a screaming child with your niece trailing behind crying because she is not ready to go home.
I am all about physical activity, and I totally get the fun aspect of getting your kids dressed up and taking them around the neighborhood. The problem for me is that trick-or-treating lasts two hours, which is about 90 minutes too long for most small children — particularly if said child is generally in bed by 8 p.m.
Did I mention my neighborhood is crawling with kids? It is literally kids in costumes as far as the eye can see. On the way home, you have to make your way through a maze of strollers and tiny, costumed bodies.
We were invited to a party this year, but we have to get E into bed after trick-or-treating through the neighborhood. By the time we get on our costumes and drive to the party, it will be 10 p.m. We would need the babysitter to come over while he sleeps, and my babysitter is 22 years old. Do you think she wants to come over on Halloween? I think not.
Halloween will never be the same.
Halloween hasn’t changed. I have.
Halloween is still about fun, just a different kind of fun. Our new Halloween is the kind of fun that warms your heart as you watch your child squeal with delight when he sees a friend, and watching them run up to a house and shout, “trick-or-treat!” That’s the kind of fun that includes making lifetime memories.
I wouldn’t trade this new kind of fun for a wild party with an ice luge — ever.
But I am keeping those light-up shoes — just in case!