Childrearing

For The First Time In My Four Years As A Parent, Halloween Day Is Drama-Free

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shutterstock_151390808My first few Halloweens as a parent ranged from slightly disastrous to “I don’t give a crap anymore this is going so badly.”  When my son rages against Halloween, I tend to give in pretty easily since I’m not a big fan of the holiday myself.  But we are in this weird in-between phase in his life where if I don’t do something to prepare for Halloween and he wakes up on October 31 looking for a costume and can’t want to celebrate with his friends, I’m royally screwed.  So until he’s old enough to understand the social consequences of opt-ing out (which I’m cool with), I have to fake it.

This usually starts in early October by looking at costumes online and asking what he might want kind of costume he might want to wear.  For his first Halloween I chose the most adorable lion outfit which he kicked and screamed and yanked at his rayon-maned head until I took it off.  Since we weren’t doing more than going to our mommy & me music class, I didn’t worry about it.

The next year when he was two, he was in school.  They read Five Little Pumpkins all month long and talked about celebrating as a class.  He told me the day before he wanted to be a dinosaur (not the hamburger costume I got him) and I scored one for 50% off at one of the Ricky’s pop-up shops near my house.  I almost had the feeling that year would go well.

Well, it didn’t.

Halloween morning he refused to put on his T-Rex costume.  I couldn’t even get him to put on an orange shirt.  I shoved the dinosaur in his backpack thinking he was going to regret it when he saw all his friends dressed up. And were they dressed up!  A cowboy, fairy, firefighter, Thomas the Train’s conductor – it was impressive.  Then there was my kid in his Gap sweatpants and old T-shirt.  He came home from school later that day with his costume still folded in his backpack.  This kid doesn’t budge.

Last year all festivities were cancelled due to Superstorm Sandy, so I got a Halloween pass.  This year I didn’t even want to bother but I had to for my daughter who is finally old enough to care.  And she is all into it.  She has put on her costume dozens of times since it arrived and couldn’t wait to put it on this morning for her parade.  I looked at my son with trepidation as I removed his from the bag.  But he was excited to see it and put every single stitch of it on without complaint.  He made it to school and was showing it off to everyone at the door.  I really didn’t think a drama free toddler Halloween was ever going to be in the cards for me, but today has been better than I could have ever imagined.

I’m trying really hard not to think of all the things that can go wrong between drop-off and his Halloween parade — will he keep the costume on?  Will he march in the parade?  Will he sit in protest? — and instead I’m relishing the progress.  One step at a time we both may come to enjoy this crazy holiday.

(photo: Maryna Kulchytska/Shutterstock)