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?