Ahh Halloween. Trick-or-treating.  Costumes.  Piles of candy.

For some, this is a favorite holiday.  For others, terrifying.

When I was a child, I loved coming up with costume ideas and dressing up.  We always had a great time dreaming up our costumes and making them from what we had around the house.  Every now and then we would get to pick out a store-bought costume with a plastic outfit and sweaty plastic mask or maybe even a clown wig and face paint, but most of the time we found things that we already had and made it work.

Here is a fine example of me and my brother when I was 3 or 4:

Nice, huh??

Halloween was never really a huge deal to us, just fun.

Somewhere in the early to mid ’80s things got a little creepy.  Maybe I was just growing up and old enough to “handle” the haunted houses and scary things, but this is when I remember being told to let my parents check my treats before I ate any because some mean people were putting things in the candy.  We were never allowed to eat homemade treats because who knows what was in those.  Oh and apples weren’t safe because somebody heard something about somebody getting an apple with a razor blade in it.  This is when police departments and hospitals offered their x-ray services to make sure that there was nothing bad hidden in our Snickers bars.

Fast forward a few years to 2013 and Halloween is even more different.  I have kids now and do all I can do to make it fun for them.  We go trick-or-treating and dress up and carve jack-o-lanterns.  We have friends that have Halloween parties for grown ups and even though we don’t attend these parties (they aren’t usually kid-friendly after all) – I know they still have fun dressing up and have a great time.

I recall taking CurlyQ trick-or-treating when she was 3 and we were living in a large Southwestern town.  We had been telling her the entire time that we lived there not to talk to strangers and to stay close to us.  It was a huge city.  We went trick-or-treating with her in a friend’s neighborhood with her dressed up as “Fancy Nancy” and she shyly knocked on the first door.  When the person opened the door to give her some candy, she looked up at me for reassurance and said, “Mommy, is it OK for me to talk to strangers?”

Costumes have changed quite a bit and I am actually terrified about the options my daughter will have when she gets older.  I never knew Little Red Riding Hood could look so trampy…

Halloween is as fun or creepy as you want it to be, and we choose to make it fun.

Here is our plan for the night:

  • Head home after work and help CurlyQ get dressed up in her Doctor scrubs that my mom lovingly sewed for her.  She aspires to be a doctor one day, so she will be accessorizing with a real stethoscope and prescription pad and passing out her health advice along the way.  
  • Next I’ll help Little Man with his Super Why costume.  If you aren’t an avid PBS Kids fan, you may not recognize this little known superhero, but Super Why helps kids with the “power to read”.  Little Man chose this costume over more popular superheroes like Spider-Man, Incredible Hulk, Captain America, etc…  so it’s a pretty big deal in our house.
  • We will go trick-or-treating in our little neighborhood, all the while trying to keep Little Man out of his candy until we get home.  CurlyQ still asks permission before she dives in which makes it easier when you only have to worry about one child overindulging.  
  • Handing out candy at our house to the kids that come by.  My kids love this part more than anything.  They love to see everyone’s costumes!
  • Still watching Little Man to make sure he isn’t eating “just one more sucker”.
  • Getting the kids to finally take a bath and go to bed after consuming known (and unknown) amounts of candy.  
  • Hoping that the kids scored some Butterfingers.  
  • Taking the half-eaten Tootsie Pop out of Little Man’s hand after he has already brushed his teeth.  
  • Brushing Little Man’s teeth again.  
  • Finally getting the kids to bed.  This probably won’t happen until about 9:30, if we are lucky.  
  • Sorting through the kids’ candy to make sure it is safe.  
  • That Butterfinger didn’t look safe, so I had to test it.  
  • Stashing most of the candy in my pantry with last year’s Halloween candy so the kids don’t eat too much.  Except for the creepy generic candy that nobody ever eats.  That goes in the trash.  
  • Bedtime for me… after brushing my teeth.  Too many Butterfingers…

I hope your Halloween is fun and safe this year.  Make sure that you watch out for the little ones that are trick-or-treating.   And get on to the older kids that try to scare them.  They know better.  

And if you are handing out candy, consider Butterfingers for the moms that will be hiding their kids candy after they have gone to bed.  They will thank you later.  


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