From ghoulish and ghosties and long leggety beasties and things that go bump in the night,
Good Lord, deliver us!
OK, let’s just get it out there. I hate Halloween.
I really hate it, I hate everything about it, and so does my husband. So in this we’re well-matched.
And it’s kind of weird, because I love fall. We love fall; it’s our favorite season.
I really dislike dressing up in costume; it draws a level of attention to myself that I’m uncomfortable with. I don’t find it thrilling to be scared; creepy, scary Halloween decorations – skeletons, tombstones, hairy black spiders – do nothing for me. I hate answering the door to a gaggle of costumed children – none of whom I can recognize. I want to be able to say “Hi Zoe, Happy Halloween!” and “Look how cute your costume is Matthew” as I drop candy into their bags.
Would you think less of me if I told you that I don’t know what my children’s Halloween costumes will be? One is making rumblings about being a princess cat. Or maybe a vampire cat. Or a vampire princess. It depends on the day and whether she can find her plastic vampire teeth. The other will be a leopard. They’re pretty much on their own to fashion whatever costume they’d like from their dress-up box. I’ll draw on eye liner whiskers if need be.
To make matters worse, our neighborhood is Halloween Central. From the first of October, neighbors begin elaborately decorating their yards with skeletons half-buried in the lawn, spider web batting stretched across bushes, ghosts hanging from trees.
This is my idea of how to decorate for fall:
And yes, I admit it, I’m not crazy about jack-o-lanterns. I prefer uncarved pumpkins. And there are years my children have gone without the late-night experience of carving their pumpkins on newspaper on the kitchen floor. I’d much rather do this with a pumpkin:
My neighborhood seems to have kicked it up a notch this year, with more families than ever going all out in Halloween decorating. We can’t venture outside of our own front yard without seeing impressive displays of Halloween spirit. And it hasn’t escaped my girls’ notice.
So when they asked me if we could decorate our front yard, I gently informed them that mommy hates Halloween and we don’t decorate for it.
My husband picked them up from school the next day.
“I don’t think you should have told the girls you don’t like Halloween,” he scolded.
“Why not,” I countered. “It’s OK for them to know this about their mother. It’s good for them to understand I’m an individual. They can still enjoy it.”
The next day my girls made a ten foot black and orange paper chain at school.
I good-naturedly hung it over the front door for them.
My husband, of course, chose to seize on this opportunity to be the more popular parent. He promised the girls a trip to the Halloween store over the weekend to purchase decorations.
They came home with a fuzzy tarantula to hang from the front door jamb. A package of spider web batting. And a large skull with bloodshot eyeballs window stat. Shudder.
Together they had fun hanging their decorations, and I was led on a tour where I gamely gave my approval.
Two hours later, Halloween goblin B was begging to have the skull removed from the living room window. She was trembling with fear and unable to go from one room to another without an adult chaperone. It occurred to me that if this one had bad dreams about skulls with bloodshot eyeballs, there would be a third body in my bed that night. Down came the window stat.
There is one Halloween tradition that I love and have been happy to adopt – Boo Bags!
Earlier this week my husband opened the front door to take out some trash, and there on the front mat was a small bag filled with candy and plastic spider rings and a friendly anonymous note. As all three girls chewed their Tootsie Rolls and divvied up the spider rings, they chattered simultaneously trying to guess who might have delivered the goodies. And we started planning our own Boo Bags.
A quick trip to the drug store last night to pick up Kit Kats and Halloween themed bubbles and then Boo Bag assembly on the dining room table.
Tonight, after dinner when it’s dark but not quite bedtime, I’ll drive through the neighborhood. And while I wait curbside, the girls will run up to their friends’ houses, drop a Boo Bag, ring the doorbell, and race back to my idling car, trying very very hard not to giggle loudly and get caught.
I can’t wait!