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Tuesday, October 7, 2008

The ghost of Halloween past

A million years ago, when I was a little Issa, my favorite holiday was Halloween. I started planning my costume in September. I'd of started in July, except my mom had specific rules about when a holiday could be discussed. I came up with elaborate costumes that always had to be pared down in the end. Once I was a Hershey's bar; once a bunch of grapes; never something easy. Until I was about ten years old, my mom helped me. After that she laughed at me and left it up to me to handle the costume.

My brothers and I used to set up our play room as a haunted house, filled with bowls of eyes and brains to touch. As we got older and my friends got involved, we'd have certain hours that it was open and we'd charge an entrance fee. We decorated the entire house. My mom and step-dad left it up to us, with the knowledge that it all got cleaned up, the day after Halloween.

My friends and I used to plan our route for trick or treating. We'd have one of our parents drive us into a certain nice area and then pick us up at a certain time. We'd hit the houses we knew gave the best loot first, because they'd run out fast. I wish I had one of our lists, because it was literally color coded. When we got home after hours of getting candy, we'd all sit in someones living room and go through it. Anything opened or homemade, we tossed. We were pretty street smart. Then we'd start trading. It was a massive trading system. Real sized candy bars had certain points, so if you wanted it from someone you had to offer the equivalent amount of points in other items.

As we got to old for trick or treating, we'd throw a big party. We'd invite everyone we know and have costume contests.

To say we were a bit into Halloween is stating it a bit lightly. We were obsessed.

All of this makes me feel a bit bad that my kids don't have this freedom yet. I told Morgan she could make a haunted house next year, that I just didn't want to deal with it this year. I know we'll throw away a big chunk of her and Bailey's candy, just because they are such candy sneaking fiends right now. Since it's cold here on Halloween....last year it was freezing, I know they'll only get through a few blocks before I want to take them home. I did let them pick out some stuff to decorate the house, we'll do it this weekend.

But I wonder, when did I lose my love for Halloween and why in the world won't I let my kids go as crazy as we went? I like Halloween, don't get me wrong, but I'm not in love with it anymore. I'm not a Halloween Grinch, but I can't see letting them do what I did this year. I'm trying to figure out why that is exactly. Maybe it's just how young they still are. The more nutty things we did, we were older than they are. Maybe it's all the work will fall on me. Maybe I'm just a lame ass mommy?

Hell, I bought my kids costumes at Target. I'm just not a make a costume mom.

I don't want to be the Halloween Grinch mom. I can't change it this year, I'm just too tired to deal with it. Harrison is too young to have hoards of kids in and out of the house. But next year, I'll help them go crazy. I'll show them how it's done, how to do it right. Halloween is a day for kids to be kids. We've taken so many things away from kids these days. Society wants them to grow up so fast. Most schools won't let kids have a class party or dress up any more. (Luckily my kids go to a choice school who makes it a whole day event.) It just makes no sense. Next year I'll be giving Halloween back to my kids. I'll let them go crazy and I'll help their friends go crazy. I'll have a huge party and give away prizes for the most inventive costumes.

This year, they'll have to live with decorating the house and dressing up in their store bought costumes. This year, I'll rest and know that they are young, we have many, many years left of them being kids. Because once I let the black cat out of the bag, I know I'll never be able to put it back in.

And hey, they'll make the cutest surgeon and pink unicorn around.

Do you guys like Halloween? Did any of you go as nuts as I did as a kid?


Michelle said...

My mom was way crazier about Halloween than me when I was a kid. She made my costume almost every year, and she did this really elaborate witch makeup for herself. But the only party I ever threw as a teenager was a Halloween party.. so I guess she rubbed off a little.

Delusional Girl Ruby Soho said...

I tend not to throw Halloween parties, although I am thinking of throwing a toddler one this year. Monkey Man helped me decorate yesterday by sticking window clings on all the windows. He only goes to a couple of houses and this will only be his 2nd year trick or treating.

All that said, I frikking love Halloween. I think it's because I always knew I'd have a kickass costume, no matter what. And I still dress up. Halloween is Christmas for me. I've even got the Advent calendar!

Anonymous said...

My mom always made our costumes, and we decorated the house with cardboard wall cutouts and pictures we colored. We went trick-or-treating. We had parties in school. But we never built a haunted house with actual visitors! Your family sounds super-cool!

I make (or at least put together out of real items) the boys' costumes. No store-bought, I just can't bring myself to do it after all those years of homemade costumes. I take them trick-or-treating. Nicky will get a party in school, but Drew won't--only the kindergarten kids get a party.


I have a costume, too. A cool homemade one. I'll wear it to work, where we'll have a party at lunchtime. I'll also wear it when I take the boys trick-or-treating. So perhaps I'm still a kid?

Drew is going to be Luke Skywalker. Nicky is going to be Indiana Jones. And I am going to be a pirate. A pirate wench, to be exact :-)

Kim @ said...

I was never that in to Halloween. But Christmas? Man, I couldn't get enough of the "holiday spirit". Lately I find I have to force it more. And I think it has something to do with the "Charlie Brown Syndrome". "Christmas has gotten to commercial." and what not. This year I've vowed to take it low key. Easy. Not too much. The girls have all been warned that Santa has been asked to do practical things this year. I want to recapture the magic of just twinkly lights and sitting together to watch the specials and the smells and such. And at this time in our economy and politically? I'm thinking this is the PERFECT time to go there.

All that to say that I totally get it. Esp with a baby. This Easter was tough on us with Squeaker being only two weeks old. But it ended up fine. Just not the usual.

And, dude. What is wrong with Target costumes!? At least your kids GET a costume. Target costumes rawk. The only thing cooler than a Target costume is an interwebs ordered costume.

Now that I've blogged in your comments section I'll shut up. Unless there is another post I need to comment on. Then I'll blog at Issa's Crazy World again. In the comments section. Because I can eatz allz yir badwidthyspaceywhatever.