Tuesday, October 25, 2016
Gimme some Candy...
Aaaah Halloween…how could I not write about this holiday which includes simultaneous joy and anguish at our house. It has been especially important this year, as I feel I have a lot to make up for considering last year I THREW AWAY all three children’s costumes during the crazed and furious (and thorough) lice clean out of 2009; this was a mistake I didn’t discover until, um, an HOUR before it was time to get dressed for our Halloween party. Then a complete downpour of both rain and tears ensued at our house as trick-or-treating was all but ruined...it wasn't a great time to point out that this might be the year to miss trick or treating, since everyone's costume was crappy anyway...
So this year, we began planning in August. One can never be too prepared when it comes to this dreaded holiday which most likely includes a hair breakdown, wardrobe malfunction, and yes…barfing. My children tend to eat themselves sick, so I am fully prepared with the towel trail to the bathroom from each child’s room.
CeCe is generally prone to costume changes at the last minute, “I want to be an Indian this year,” she said, “I’m gonna wear the costume Mimi brought me from India with a bindi dot and my feathered headdress and moccasins.” Ok, clearly we had some explaining to do with her that her costume idea could result in the most offensive politically incorrect blunder in the history of the Biltmore Drive Halloween parade. “Noooo, being a Native American is not the same thing as dressing like someone from India,” I clarified. How was she to know, she is only 5…and in truth, I think it might have been sort of funny, she could have won the contest with that one...
But here’s the thing, I used to love Halloween; the crisp fall weather, the candy, the pumpkins…not so much the dressing up part but all of the other stuff. Now, every year, Halloween seems like this super fun day that I look forward to so much, and then when it arrives it’s kind of a nightmare. There's just so much pressure around it now. As I write I’m sitting on our porch handing out candy to every little brat in Charlotte-Mecklenberg County. And it’s not that I am trying to be a stick in the mud, I just can’t get excited about older kids, barely in costume who don’t even say “Trick-or-treat” anymore… don’t care if our house will probably be egged or toilet papered later tonight, I am the bitch on Biltmore Drive who makes every little turd ask for candy by saying "Trick-or-treat" and demands a thorough description of costumes. Kid doesn’t say thank you...he gets called on it….No costume? You're in for an interrogation. I also raise my eyebrows at some pubescent teenagers who in my opinion were too old to be trick-or-treating.
I did happen to encounter two lovely boys (in Harry Potter garb, which gives you an indication as to their high school social status) who were asking me what I was doing on my computer. “Are you a writer?” they asked eagerly. “Yes, I am a writer, I’m working on an article that will be part of a book…” Oh, like scary stories?” one of them said, as if I am Stephen King or something. I thought for a second and then answered frankly, “Parts of it are pretty scary, actually…” What? I’m not talking about the kids, I was just being honest about parenthood… hee hee.
Why the witchy Halloween attitude? Well for one, I just didn’t feel like freezing my ass off on the porch while Elliot gets to walk around and have all the fun. But also, I don’t understand when it all got so complicated. Your costume has to be clever, your house has to be decorated and your candy had better be good. Halloween seemed like the only holiday that didn’t have the potential to get all messed up by modern day extravagances, but this seems to be the year when I realize that it has begun to change. Costumes are more expensive than ever, and it’s not just candy anymore…it’s stickers and flashlights and whatnot…you know, all the crap that clutters your junk drawer. You can’t just carve a face on your pumpkin, its got to be some impressive design that you printed off the Internet. “Well, I’m not doing that,” I said to the girls this morning when we were deciding what kind of jack o’lantern to make. I know, I’m old fashioned, but I just really used to love the days when you would make your costume or come up with something that was in your closet already… and remember the thrill I used to get when my mom would put Halloween candy in my lunch. Now you can ‘t even do that , you’ve gotta trade it with the Switch Witch the day after and she brings you a toy if you give her your candy. That totally sux….
But I know I need to drop the attitude because really it’s all about the little moments and the excitement the kids feel when they get to dress up, and I’m sure one day I will forget all about the hassle of it all and think about the door CeCe knocked on and said, “Trick or Treat, I have to poop…” Yes, that really happened, and yes, the kind neighbor let her leave the downstairs powder room virtually unusable after using it….But really, I know, it’s about appreciating it all, and the joy that comes from getting to do it all over again with our kids. I guess I sort of become even a little more childish than usual too as the most fun I have had this Halloween was sneaking a "Gimmie Some Candy" temporary tattoo where the sun don't shine...we all need to have a little fun right?
And so begins the season one of my former coworkers used to call, "HalloThankMas..." when the kids are wild, the grownups are edgy and there's not enough time to do anything...but I am determined to attack it with a new resolve. I have done my complaining about Halloween, let's see if I can get through the next two holidays without too much whining...yeah right.