Bring On The Mommy Guilt, I Have No Halloween Spirit

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Halloween is one of my favorite holidays! Actually, for those of you taking notes, it is my second favorite holiday, next to Arbor Day. Just kidding, I like trees and all but I don’t do a ton of Arbor Day celebrating. I have no Halloween spirit this year. I think worrying about Hurricane Sandy , being consumed by the up-coming election, and just general laziness are  dampening my Halloween spirit. Our pumpkins are carved, the cobwebs and bats are hung, there is a giant bowl of Halloween candy (Including organic lollipops for the boring trick or treater’s) on my entry table and yet I just can’t get into the Halloween spirit. And my poor kids are noticing.

I’m the type of mom who bakes elaborate Halloween cookies and treats for my kids. I usually whip up a few batches of sea-salt caramel popcorn. I play It’s The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown! and Mad Monster Party and create elaborate DIY costumes for my kids. I mail ordered my son’s costume this year and it just arrived late last night. I know what my eight-year-old daughter is wearing but I have no clue how I’m supposed to do her makeup. Usually by now I would have diagrams drawn out and I would have watched a ton of tutorials. I always make a Halloween themed dinner, but this year we are just ordering pizza. I know in the grand scheme of things how amazingly lucky we are and my heart goes out to the millions of people affected by Hurricane Sandy, but I still can’t help but feel guilty that I’m just phoning it in this Halloween.

A lot of people are going to have their Halloween festivities postponed. A lot of people are too busy trying to come to terms with all they have lost after the storm. My kids are aware of the devastating affects of the weather, due to the fact we have been watching the news nonstop and talking about the tragedy, but because they are young and not directly affected by the storm they are still excited about Halloween. They are empathetic little guys, they are expressing sadness and concern for people who have lost so much, but because they are little guys they sort of expect life to go on as usual, including their mom to be in the Halloween spirit.

This reminds me of how I felt the Halloween after September 11, 2001. It just seemed so selfish and stupid to be having fun after so much tragedy. I only had one child then, and because we were living in a country that didn’t celebrate Halloween it was easier to semi-ignore the holiday. We did have a party with some other ex-pats, but there was no trick or treater’s to contend with, no pressure to go all out on Halloween. I know my kids can understand why I don’t have a lot of Halloween spirit. It makes sense that a lot of parents are sort of just wanting to get it over with. I know in the upcoming weeks I can do my part to help make a difference with my kids for the people who have lost so much during the storms.

I’m grateful that we live in a place that hasn’t been impacted by the weather. I’m grateful that tonight I’ll get to bundle my kids up and send them out with their father to go door-to-door and show off their costumes to our neighbors. I’m grateful I’ll get to see a bunch of cute kids all excited for Halloween and give them candy and ooh and ahh over what they have disguised themselves as. I’m grateful that I still have a roof, and no water in my basement, and everyone in my house is healthy and alive.

I think maybe my Halloween spirit has been replaced by a sort of thanksgiving.

(photo: Eva Vargyasi/shutterstock)