I'm not afraid to say it and I know there are other parents that feel the same way I do. I'm glad we are done with trick-or-treating. I'm joining a new class of parents tonight with no one to take trick-or-treating since before my first parent Halloween in 2001 when I made Hg a bumblebee costume out of a black sweatsuit and drove her around to relatives' houses. (cont.)
Halloween was never a big deal at our house growing up. It was a fictional "holiday" that usually fell on a work day, so very inconvenient for my parents who owned a trucking company and worked long hours. They could barely get home from work in time for my mom to take us trick-or-treating. And, it was always a bust because I was too shy and would not go up to the door. Pretty big deal since we as kids didn't have access to candy like kids do today in school lunchrooms and just about anywhere a kid goes.
So Halloween was pretty much the only chance outside of Valentine's Day and Easter that candy was heavily involved.
Yet, I, even with my plastic Wonder Woman mask to hide behind, did not want to encounter another human, like ever, even for candy. So, it wasn't really worth it for my working mom to rush home, get our warm pjs on, then the polyester jumpsuit costume on over that for me to stand back at the mailbox. After very few years of that, my dad decided that we would go out to eat on Halloween after they got home from work. We could dress in costume or not, we could ask for candy at the counter or not, but most importantly he got to eat dinner without feeling guilty that my mom had to deal with us and clean up the kitchen, plus he wasn't left at home to listen to the doorbell ring over and over again while she was out taking us trick-or-treating. So, the Halloweens that I remember most are going to the Dairy Queen on Hobbs Street and getting an ice cream.
For Halloween decorations, my mom did one thing. She made The Pumpkin Man for the front porch. That was his name, The Pumpkin Man. My mom was the creative sort. She didn't want to deal with the mess of carving a pumpkin, so she would always take a sharpie marker from the office and draw a jack-o-lantern face on the pumpkin. It wasn't until I was a mom and the only one left standing when others wanted to carve pumpkins did I understand why. So, she drew on The Pumpkin Man's face instead of carving it, and then stuffed my dad's clothes with all the gazillion newspapers that he had beside his recliner in their room. She left a bowl of candy in The Pumpkin Man's lap and off we went to the Dairy Queen. I distinctly remember returning home one year to a smashed Pumpkin Man head and my mom trying to shuffle us inside, shielding us from the horror as my dad dealt with the crime scene. I only ever remember doing the minimal for Halloween or avoiding it altogether. (cont.)
So, tonight I will do my own homework, order a pizza, and leave the porch light off. I haven't even bought any candy for tonight. Hg, of course, is off at big girl school, Abbey will be at her ACT class, or maybe work, can't remember which, and Caleb prefers to go to Video Game Design Class instead of doing anything Halloweenish, he didn't even remember today was Halloween. I had to basically force him to go trick-or-treating last year, so he's ready to give it up at age 11. He will prove me wrong next year, and declare that Halloween is his favorite for whatever reason, but he's not big on candy and he's not big on store-bought costumes.... I know, who is, but his ideas are like a major fabrication and melding of uncommon materials that require a level of preparation, skill, and interest beyond me helping him. And, honestly, again saying what other parents won't, I'm not interested in putting forth that much effort to walk him up to my sister's house. And, once whatever costume monstrosity is created, it sits around the house for months. He has only ever been creative once when he was a vending machine. But, is that creative? It's a vending machine. But, he put so much work into it that he couldn't bring himself to get rid of it... I had no problem getting rid of it, but his packrat tendencies prevented him from pulling the trigger. So we shuffled this vending machine costume around the house for months because it didn't have a home in our home.
But, this year, he has paid no attention to the approaching holiday as he's hung up on some kind of "coding" discrepancy in some kind of "mod" that he has created for some kind of video game, so he wants to talk to his teacher tonight in class about it. Our neighbors do not have enough candy to persuade him to miss that class.
It's just as well, Halloween hasn't actually been fun since I was in college or in the singles group at church when we had real Halloween costume parties and scavenger hunts and costume contests. We didn't have Amazon or even a Halloween specific store to create the perfect costume. We didn't even have shipping! We had last minute Walmart or we raided our closets, our parents' closets, the thrift store, or we just switched clothes and went as each other. We just put stuff together of what we found. And, yes, sometimes what we found and put together would offend snowflakes today. Halloween was fun when we sped around all over town, running inside stores, barging into restaurants, trespassing in parks and on school grounds to find something on the scavenger hunt list. Contests were creative and competitive. One year when we didn't host the Halloween party, my friend, known as Watinka the Jungle Queen, and me, her sidekick Lady Velveteen, were in charge of the costume contest categories. And, I guess they were not boring enough so the host wouldn't use them. (What? "Most likely to make a kid pee their pants" is a category and so is "Most squirtiest blood.")
The last time I had any fun for Halloween, which as a parent is to have a say in Halloween costuming, was 2011, and the last time the kids let me thematically dress them all together was 2005. We always had at least one dissenter in the group that would throw it all off. Plus, Vic would never dress up. We had three, four, five, then six people in our family, we could do some fun stuff, but he never would and I felt stupid dressing up if he didn't. The last time he dressed up was our first year of marriage when he and I went as Wan and Brenda Yates from church for a church party (so much wish I had a picture of that). So he has been no fun for us to all do anything together. This will also be the first year that we haven't done anything with friends for Halloween. We've always invited the kids' friends that maybe lived in the county to come hang out and trick-or-treat with us because we have the most incredible neighborhood for trick-or-treating. So, I will miss the social aspect of it.
The last time I dressed up myself was when Caleb was four and went as Mario and I went as Luigi, but I have no pictures of it. It was a really big Halloween for us that year because Eli had just come home the month before from his first cancer treatment and he absolutely loved Halloween. I think as a cancer kid, it was an opportunity for him to be someone else that had nothing to do with cancer. That was an incredible Halloween. The actual date fell on a Wednesday night, a church night, so not much time to do any trick-or-treating and he was still really weak, so couldn't cover many houses (we ended up driving him in the car, but even that wore him out quickly). He was so ready to get back to normal home life and loved Halloween so much, and with him there was always the possibility that it could be his last one. So most of the houses in our neighborhood allowed us and his friends to trick-or-treat on Tuesday. Those participating put a blue ribbon on their mailbox indicating that they were ready for trick-or-treaters. There were so many ribbons in the neighborhood that we couldn't get to them all even driving the car because he tired out. It was the most special Halloween and I will never forget it.
Outside of that one experience, I'm kind of glad to see Halloween go from the trick-or-treating standpoint of it. I only ended up fighting with the kids about their costume and they complained while we walked house to house. "I'm hot, I'm cold, My legs hurt, I'm ready to go home (when we are 20 houses on the other side of the neighborhood)." So, sorry, not sorry kind of. It's not popular for a parent to say that every little moment with their kid is not the most precious thing ever, but I may not miss it that much.... well, except I will miss Caleb pulling out all of his Snickers for me.