POV

The Moms Code: Halloween Mayhem

Written by Eileen Wacker

Halloween is a scary time for year for me, not because I’m afraid of ghosts, but rather because Halloween always ends up putting this mom in the eye of the storm.

Halloween is a controversial holiday in our house. I have four teenagers; no, that is not a ghost story – I actually do. Sometimes the kids can’t wait to decide which costume, friends to go with, and candy routes to pursue. The excitement level and anticipation are huge. But other times (maybe even in the same week), another child declares Halloween to be ‘stupid and babyish’. Yesterday, one of mine yelled, “I’m done with Halloween and I’m never dressing up again!” This happened with no obvious provocation that I observed.

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This, I have to say does not happen with birthdays, Thanksgiving, Christmas, Fourth of July, long weekends with Monday holidays that I don’t know the name of anymore. It is really specific to Ghouls Day.

As a mom, I just try to roll with the household dynamics. Then, today the storm hit. My third child is anxious and has the decision – “do I trick or treat or keep praying I get invited to that party I’m not invited to?” I don’t know how to answer that.

Halloween falls within many important processes. My oldest is doing college apps. She resembles a fire-breathing, knife-wielding dragon if I’m being honest and that’s when she’s sleeping. Halloween is the night before the first round of apps are due. Today, that is a crisis. “Who picked Halloween to be on such a stupid date?” she demands to know. I start to say, “Well, I think Halloween staked a claim to that date…” I’m cut off with a laser glare. I ask, “Get it? Halloween staked?” She rolls her eyes and walks out.

My son started strength and conditioning for basketball. The rules do not allow the coach to hold tryouts until the end of November, so they hold faux team practices, also known as strength and conditioning. Finally, my middle school daughter is in the middle of tennis team tryouts. Of course, she goes down in PE ‘dodgeball’ and I get the call. Please get her an Xray to ensure her arm is not broken.

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My daughter, who swore off ever wearing a costume again, calls me and says, “Okay, I changed my mind. My friends and I are going as social butterflies. I’m twitter. I need blue wings and a blue tutu, and, you can only find them at Walmart.”

I say, “Walmart, on a Friday before a holiday? No way! And I’ve been at the hospital with your sister for three hours to hear she does not, in fact, have a broken arm!”

Of course an hour later, I’m buying Halloween costumes in Walmart and they have Christmas decorations already.

I say to a random floor associate. “We moms are tired and overworked. We don’t need the holidays all blending together!” The associate just stares at me. I mutter to a fake Santa, “Holidays, just stay in your own lane!”

Then, I buy more candy than we could ever consume, find the blue tutu and wings and fight an ocean of people to pay. The good news is I’ve survived another Halloween and the night of, when the kids dress up exactly as they like and have a great time, I sigh and think, “Halloween is such a fun holiday.”