being a mom

Halloween Brings Out All My Insecurities As A Mom

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Mom-kids-carved-pumpkinHere is a dirty secret I’ve harbored my whole life: I don’t like Halloween. I have, at times, wondered if there is something wrong with me for not enjoying a holiday other people start planning for in July. I don’t get what’s wrong with me, honestly. Individually I enjoy excessive amounts of candy, shouting at strangers to open their doors, and dressing up like a weirdo. But cramming all these things together on one night just stresses me out. I’ve never been good at thinking up costumes, I’m terrible at making my own dinner much less an outfit from scratch, and the crowds overwhelm me. It was easy to avoid Halloween until I had kids. Then everything changed, and now I spend the months leading up to October 31st worried and anxious about all my Halloween fails.

Daughter #1 was 8 months old for her first Halloween. In September I started getting emails and texts from giddy friends and family members eager to know what I was dressing her as. I was all, “Wait, why da f*ck would I dress up a kid who can barely shove a green bean in her mouth, much less process the celebration of a holiday born of the Celtic tradition of honored the dead? Um, nope.” But then, about a week before the 31st, her daycare provider excitedly informed me of their annual Halloween party, where every kid comes in costume. Oops. I found a marked-down Winnie the Pooh costume and wrote Pooh across it with a sharpie. She cried every time we made her put the hat on, but we managed to snap a couple of pictures and I felt mildly proud of myself.

It all boils down to this: I’ve never been particularly good at or interested in putting together amazing costumes, carving masterful pumpkins or decorating my house. At Halloween time, these skills – or lack thereof – are on full display. And either you’ve got it, or you don’t. When moms swap costume ideas or get excited over making everything by hand, I just feel stupid. It’s not them, it’s me. I think it’s awesome that people love celebrating Halloween to the fullest. But I’m insecure about my lack of Halloween abilities and what it says about me as a mom in general.

I can’t carve a f*cking pumpkin to save my life. I hack at it, and try all different kinds of knives, and it still ends up looking like a bunch of blind vultures picked away at it until they realized it wasn’t roadkill. Meanwhile, other humans are Van Goghing the sh*t out of pumpkins like it ain’t no thing. I bow to them and their skills, because HOW ON EARTH DO THEY DO IT?!

So I’ve had to figure out how to do Halloween in a way that works for me. I’m never going to be that mom who sews that most gorgeous Ariel costume complete with a shimmering mermaid tail, because I straight up suck at that. Also I don’t own a sewing machine or a needle. But I am awesome at searching for things on Amazon Prime. And this year, I’ve got everything ordered with weeks to go. Who knows, my kids might even try on their costumes before Halloween to make sure everything fits.

I also know that I’ll never understand how to go to Michael’s, buy a bunch of fake spider webs, graves, and scarecrows and make my yard look cool. But now that my eldest is almost 4-years-old, I’m trying to include her in all the decorating. This week we went on a hunt for leaves, traced and colored them, and then cut them out to hang around the house. I bought a bunch of weird crap to make a Halloween wreath and and we’ll glue it all on there and hang it on the door, and I’ll feel proud that we tried.

The amazing thing about kids is that they make everything you once hated enjoyable and awesome. Last year’s Halloween – the first one my daughter truly understood and enjoyed – was a blast, and her excitement this year is infectious. She doesn’t give a crap that her mom has no idea how to make pumpkin spice cupcakes or Pinterest up the front of the house using only construction paper and a couple of old coat hangers. She is simply caught up in the magic of it. I know this is where I need to be too. Instead of dwelling in my own BS and making Halloween all about me and my perceived fails, I need to STFU and enjoy it for what it truly is: a time to be creative, express yourself, have fun, and cram lot of Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups into your mouth. Also, pumpkin beer. That I enjoy.

So this year I’m not just focused on dressing up my kids and making our house look cool(ish), I’m attempting my own costume too. I’m almost certain it will look terrible and I’ll come up with it at the last minute, but I’m fine with that. Who’s got a glue gun I can borrow?

(Photo: Shutterstock)