Not much for a mom, in my opinion.
No, this isn't some rant about wallowing in pagan traditions, going to hell in a handbasket, blah blah blah. Please. As Sister Mary Martha says, "give the child your broom and a pointy hat and let her have fun gathering and eating candy. Tomorrow she'll be at Mass. For a child, that is enough." And if Sister Mary Martha thinks it's ok to dress up in even scary costumes and extort candy from the neighbors then it must be ok.
But for weeks, this is what Halloween gives me:
#1 The Costume Headache
Pete was easy. No Yoda costume to be found in Target, so I fell back on the reliable dragon costumes I made for the boys when they were little. My wise mother's heart knows he will likely refuse to wear it and likely refuse to even go trick-or-treating, so I'm happy I didn't waste money on Yoda.
Jenny was easy. After a bit of waffling, she decided on a being a witch. They had really cute pumpkin witch costumes at Target, so DONE!
Fritz was easy. He wanted to be Obi Wan. He found an Anakin outfit and understands that one Jedi outfit is as good as another, so DONE!
The other two....grrrrr...
Billy changed his mind by the hour at home. At the store, he found a Power Ranger costume and picked it. Then, at home, decided he wanted to be Anakin and dress like Fritz. Oh, but he didn't want me to return his Power Ranger costume, he wanted ANOTHER costume. The answer is, of course, no, but I grow weary reminding him of this. He is most persistant, and I am grateful that I only have about 12 to 16 years left in enforcing rules over him. The Grand Canyon is proof that even the most solid ground can be eroded over time. I should be able to hold on for another decade and a half...but barely.
And Katie....Katie wanted to be Princess Lei, but Target didn't happen to have Princess Lei costumes. I told her it was ok, that we could easily MAKE a Princess Lei costume, but she gave me that look of shock and horror as though I were depriving her by not buying her a costume from a store. And she didn't want to go home empty handed. She decided to be a pumpkin witch, too. She and Jenny look similar, but not identical. They are really cute, but...
...the costume purchases came at the expense of listening to mom (me) rant about "...when I was a kid, we didn't BUY costumes, we MADE them..."
And I've resolved that next year, they start getting a bit more creative and making their own. Ghosts, gypsys, hobos...I might be willing to spring for face paint and let them be clowns. But NO MORE store-bought costumes, and having mom slave for weeks for a home-made alternative isn't acceptable either.
I'm sure I'll just have a bigger headache next year.
#2 The Candy Dilemma
First of all, how much candy to buy? There are hundreds of children living in my neighborhood. I need to buy enough for them, but not risk having an excessive amount leftover. Last year, I raided the kids baskets after they returned to supplement my supply. And then there are the teenagers, with no costumes, who come looking for a handout.
Who ever thought that giving out candy to kids in huge quantities was a good idea? Well, kids, for one...but anyone else? I'm not a candy-Nazi. I'm generous at Easter and Christmas and I don't mind some for Halloween. But candy is not a normal component of our daily (or even weekly) diet (with the exception of chocolate chip rewards for using the potty if you are under the age of 3 1/2). Five kids easily bring home 5 pounds of chocolate. That's a year's worth of candy for everyone here. And if the stuff wasn't all wrapped in orange and black, I'd seriously consider hiding half of it until Christmas time.
Usually, my husband takes about a third to his office. Another third goes straight into the garbage (sour flavoring is not popular here, and neither is cinnamon or gummy-anything). And then I let the kids binge on the rest, throw up for a day, and we're over it. (I'm just kidding.)
And for the teenagers, this year, at the suggestion of a neighbor, I bought plain #2 pencils. Uncostumed teens, unless accompanying a younger sibling, will get one of those. Yeah, I'm a mean lady.
Ever since the decorations began to go up, sleep troubles began. One recent morning, two kids woke up extra early crying from bad dreams. Katie is sobbing herself to sleep every night because she's scared...and she's getting Jenny all riled up too. And the conversations we've been having about vampires and werewolves and ghosts...I'm getting tired of discussing fiction versus reality time and time again.
Halloween is a lot of fun for kids between the ages of about ten and twelve...and for older kids with the mentality of a ten to twelve year old, including some adults (no names mentioned here...but...let's just say that some members of this household are really in touch with their inner child, and it's not me). I used to love haunted houses and haunted hayrides. I'm sure when my kids are older, I may find them amusing once again. Having your pants scared off every once in a while is fun, I know...if you're an adult.
But when you're a kid...it just makes for a nightmare for your mom.