I am a lame Halloween parent

When I was a kid, Halloween meant taping a cardboard jack-o-lantern to the window and maybe a cardboard skeleton to the glass front door, and setting a badly carved actual jack-o-lantern outside. I’d pick out a cheap plastic costume from the store or make one up from old clothes that we had in the back of the closet. My mom would take me trick-or-treating for a couple of hours, I’d come home and dump my candy out on the floor, eat a bunch, then go to bed. Laid back, easy, one-and-done.

So that’s pretty much how, as a parent, I have done Halloween for the last 19 years. A few decorations here and there, buy my kids a costume off the rack, go trick-or-treating in the “nice” neighborhood, come home, raid the kids’ candy stash and be done with it.

Browsing The Facebook this morning though has me thinking I might be a Lame-O parent when it comes to All Hallows Eve.

I’ve seen pictures of Family Costumes (where each member of the family dresses up in related costumes like Star Wars, etc), whole neighborhoods who had a decorating theme, big family parties complete with food and drinks…which leaves me wondering, when did Halloween become A Huge Deal and why did I not get invited to the party?

Of course, I’ve always known people who really got into Halloween and I think that’s great. It was just never really my thing because Halloween was always, in my mind at least, a minor holiday for kids, not really a holiday for planning and spending large amounts of dollars and Doing It Up Right. But the FOMO this morning is strong. The inkling that maybe I should have made a bigger effort…except my kids are nearly grown now, so am I too late? Only one of my kids did any actual trick-or-treating last night…the oldest one came along for the ride, and the middle one just hung out with a friend (burning all my gas as they drove around town for 2 hours…*sigh*).  But still, this morning I’m wondering if I shouldn’t have made more of an effort to make Halloween a big family celebration instead of just a walk around the neighborhood.

Thanks for the #momguilt today Facebook. You rock.

Except…I really feel like celebrating Halloween (I mean really celebrating) has only become a thing in the last few years, don’t you? And honestly, I’m too old and too tired to put much effort into Halloween. I mean, come on…Halloween is supposed to be the fun, easy-going kick off to the American holiday trifecta! Thanksgiving and Christmas are stressful enough without having to add more work to Halloween. So yeah, maybe I could have put more effort into Halloween, but I’m sincerely okay with keeping it low key. I’ll leave it to my kids to make Halloween  a big deal with their own families someday if they want to.

So here’s my question: Do you make Halloween a BIG DEAL or do you just do it old school like I do? Am I seeing only a small percentage of people who make Halloween a festive holiday while the rest of us just gawk in amazement? What do you usually do for Halloween?

9 thoughts on “I am a lame Halloween parent

  1. I am a lame Halloween mom… My kids always wanted more decorations, like the cool houses with sprawling graveyards and strobe lights… um… no… I drew the line at the pumpkin… I hate being taunted by candy… I hate the wrappers everywhere… I’ve paid big money for the kids’ candy and then thrown it all away… I’m OK with it..

  2. I’m glad you’re okay with your low-key celebrations! I was commenting to someone that even in Christian circles, Halloween has gone from an “evil must be avoided” holiday to a big CELEBRATION. Having huge whole-town celebrations and stuff. Whatever. I told my mom I was just glad that she and dad let us kids have a normal halloween. Because dressing up was fun. and candy…

  3. It does seem to have gotten bigger! I’ll make you feel better. 🙂 I was raised in a Halloween HATING house. I’ve never been trick or treating in my life, and I only willingly dressed up once it got us out PE in middle school. Before that I’d be the one kid in elementary school not dressed up most years- because yuck! Dressing up in pretend clothes? I hated it then, and I hate it now. We honor the tradition of my family and hide in the dark and wait for it to be November. 🙂

  4. We dressed up as kids and went around the neighborhood. My kid did the same but now there are no kids and I miss it. We did nothing for Halloween this year. Today I went and bought some reduced candy. As you get older, if you have no grandkids, what’s the point?

  5. I learned about moms who go over the top for Halloween (and every other holiday, for the matter) on a blog called People I Want to Punch in the Throat (it’s hilariously funny). These moms are Overachieving Moms (OAMs), and the rest of us just stare in awe and horror as they craft Pinterest-perfect jack o’lanterns, costumes, and holiday parties. Kids do not expect this level of holiday hooplah and most adults don’t have the time or energy to make it happen. I think you’re doing just fine. 🙂

  6. Ha Ha great blog. It does seem like things get bigger each year including Fourth of July, St. Patrick’s Day etc…. I try to avoid the commercial hype but attempt special. I have neither the talent or the money to be a Pinterest phenom so I try to make traditions out of the food (sliders every Halloween). It totally works. My kids are more apt to say things like, “but it’s not _______ without__________!!” Because I am an overachiever wannabe and complete crafty failure, I go small and may set a “spooky table” with candelabra and black and silver settings, think paper but I no longer spend much money or time. No cute pretzel mummy appetizers, no eyeball cupcakes just sliders, chips and cider. Last night? oops, forgot the chips and no spooky table with time being lost at basketball practice….ah well………maybe next year I can hit my very low mark

  7. I had a friend who made a stew in a pumpkin every year. The stew baked in the pumpkin in the oven. I have always thought that was a very clever family tradition. (And it is food, not junk).

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