I’ve never liked Halloween.
When I was little, I would go to the parade in my grandparent’s neighborhood and that was sort of fun. But I grew up in New England so it was cold and I always had to wear a coat over my costume which seemed to defeat the whole purpose of the costume.
When I was older, I hated the idea of dressing up. Frankly I still do. I don’t like being uncomfortable or wondering if my costume is ‘too much’ or ‘too little.’ To this day, wearing costumes makes me feel an insecurity I don’t feel over-wise.
When the girls were born, Halloween was fun for a little bit. What’s not to love about a baby pumpkin or duck? We would walk through the neighborhood with friends and collect all my favorite candy. We lived in Virginia at the time so the weather tended to be perfect.
And then we moved to New Jersey and Halloween became cold again. In fact, Halloween was canceled in our town two years in a row. First due to early snow that fell and took down power lines days before and then thanks to super storm Sandy that left our neighborhood without power for two weeks.
And then the girls got older and wanted to trick or treat with different groups of friends so we would divide and conquer. Rob would go with one group and I with the other, the whole time wondering how people have more than two children.
And then the girls got older still and Halloween meant a day full of fun but also different schedules. The girls came home for lunch during elementary school and then back for the Halloween parade. I tended to miss my routine and felt all out of sorts.
As the girls got older still, Halloween only got harder. Suddenly, Halloween became about social groups. Who was wearing a group costume and who wasn’t? Were you trick or treating with these friends or those friends? The social pressures took all the fun out of the day.
I still feel many of these feelings about Halloween. Today though, things feel a little bit different. This is our first Halloween without an elementary schooler. I have no Halloween parade to attend and that makes me sad. Caroline will certainly trick or treat without us and chances are good that Katherine will too. Fortunately, Katherine and a few of her sweet friends will come to our house after school for pizza and to drop off their back packs but then they will most likely be out on their own until dark. Maybe then, Rob and I can trail them at a tween approved distance for a bit?
I know we still have many more years of hands on parenting ahead of us. On days like these though, I can feel the nest getting less and less crowded.
Just wait til the nest is empty. We only get a few trick-or-treaters on our hilly street, so I skipped the Halloween aisle, passed on the sad, solo pumpkin-carving and have decided to go see a 4:30 movie by myself. It’s intended to be a distraction but, actually, I’m really looking forward to it!
I actually love(d) Halloween and now that I have full-on adult children, I really miss it. We used to trick or treat in a neighborhood that was famous for its amazing decorations, then we’d go out with another family for Mexican food and finally, the kids would play their massive sorting-and-trading game on the living room floor. I really miss those days. But all of your discomforts make total sense. The nest empties quicker than you can imagine….
If it helps at all, your post made me more determined than ever to appreciate Halloween tonight, with my seven year old. We’ve spent Halloween with the same friends every year since she was tiny, and will again this year, and I am grateful. The parade was fun, too :-). Hope you and your girls have an enjoyable evening, however the details work out.