Okay, so truth? I really don’t like Halloween. I never particularly enjoyed it as a child even though I felt like I should. My costume was never good enough for all the other kids at school because my parents didn’t have the money to go all out for one measly day. Also, I was a rather sickly kid. My asthmatic bronchitis was much, much worse back then and I didn’t exactly relish schlepping it out in the freezing cold through snow to beg my neighbors for candy. And because my mom was so paranoid about me getting pneumonia (a very real concern considering I was hospitalized for it in 3rd grade) I always had to wear a coat, which defeated the purpose of showing off my costume. There was an older single lady in my neighborhood who went bowling every year on Halloween, but before she did she would give out full-sized candy bars and invite the kids to come sit by her fire and warm up. I always tried to make it out for trick-or-treating early enough to hit her house. Some years I was successful, some years I wasn’t. The years I made it to her house in time were my favorite because for 5 minutes I got a reprieve from the harsh Utah cold.
I enjoy Halloween much more now that I’m an adult because I insist on being the candy distributor instead of walking the kids around the neighborhood. That way I can stay in my warm house, the only downside being getting up every 5 seconds to answer the door. And I refuse to go through the work of dressing up in a costume. I admit I’m a full-on party pooper.
There are things I do enjoy about Halloween. Baby costumes break my heart. I think babies and toddlers in Halloween costumes are just about the cutest thing I’ve ever seen. I really like how my mother-in-law makes pumpkin chocolate chip cookies every year and don’t mind gorging a few dozen while we show the kids’ costumes off to the grandparents. I like going with my in-laws and the kids every year to the family pumpkin patch and picking out our pumpkins. I don’ t even really mind carving pumpkins that much (because, let’s face it, the hubs does most of the hard work).
However, I hate all the gross/scary stuff surrounding Halloween. I’m not that into death and I really don’t relish seeing a decoration that is a rat with a meat cleaver stuck in it (like I saw at one restaurant recently). I really don’t want to see Zombies with rotting flesh, or dead whatevers, and just icky yucky stuff. Give me the happy part of Halloween (benign ghosts of the Casper variety, unassumingly nice witches, jack-0-lanterns, dancing skeletons) and I’m okay. Bring out the gore and it’s puke city.
And for me, Halloween is kind of a sad time for me. Oh sure, I try not to make it sad for my kids. I try to get as excited about their costumes as they are. I pick and carve pumpkins with them with a huge smile on my face. I impose a 50% candy tax on all three of them (just kidding). The truth is Halloween five years ago was the last time I saw my Mom lucid and happy before she succumbed to pancreatic cancer 6 days later. It was the very last time my oldest two children ever saw her alive. She was in the hospital and we brought the kids up there in their costumes so she could see them and they could see her. She was so happy to see them and gushed over their costumes. If I had known that would be the last time my daughter and oldest son would ever see their grandma again in this life, we would have stayed all night. However, we stayed for just a short time in order not to tire her out. They might not remember that was the last time they saw their grandma, but I do, and that makes me sad. Halloween 2o07 was a Wednesday, just like it is this year.
So, I’m happy for all my friends who say Halloween is their favorite holiday. It is a fun one, for sure, just not one that I could ever make myself like. And goodness knows, I’ve tried. Halloween 2007 kind of put the nail in the proverbial coffin for me as far as my enjoyment for Halloween goes. But it will be fun to see my sweet kiddos in their costumes. My daughter wants to be on of those Monster High girls, whatever they are. My oldest son is going as a ninja. He’s covered head to toe, so he’s sure to be nice and warm. And my youngest boy has been begging to be Iron Man since he saw The Avengers this summer. I know their enthusiasm tonight will be contagious and I will let myself enjoy it, and I will only have a twinge of the bittersweet in my heart.