As a child, the pure magic of Halloween — the ability to be someone else, to dress up as your best self, to be as silly or spooky as you want — completely captured my heart. Imagine how absolutely amazing it was, then, when my first baby was born on Halloween. Due October 30, he managed to come onto the scene just after midnight, giving him his holiday birthday.
Growing up, my own holiday birthday — October 14 — afforded me the opportunity to enjoy amazing birthday parties. For years my mom took my friends and I to haunted hayrides, followed by a sleepover complete with scary movies. Caramel apples, cider, and pumpkin carving rounded out the full fall experience, and my birthday parties became infamous. As we got older, we snuck through the woods dressed in black to spy on a neighbor we were convinced was a serial killer, tested our luck with an ouija board, and screamed in fake terror as we asked for Bloody Mary to reveal herself
As a mom, every good thing about my childhood birthday experience became even more perfect. From our little Boo Baby, Eli’s, pumpkin newborn jammies, to his first birthday spent dressed as a baby bat trick-or-treating at the mall, I began to envision the spooky pumpkin-spice centered parties that we would have as he aged. Just like my own. We would be famous for the good birthday parties. Just like my mom was.
Then the most amazing thing happened. The day before my son’s second birthday, we welcomed twins. We spent Eli’s second rotation around the sun, and second Halloween, in the hospital with our two October 30 babies. Every future October of our lives was officially going to be jam packed with birthday celebrations.
(My poor husband was all alone with his April birthday, until our fourth baby joined the family in August last year. It’s nice she gets to have outdoor parties, but the date also lacks the spooky pizzazz that my older kids get.)
What is so amazing about Halloween birthdays? Well, the entire town has a party for you. From the time Eli was 3 he mastered the phrase, "It's my birthday, give me two please!" When the twins learned to say, "And ours was yesterday!" we found that most people thought we were making it up. How could one family have three Boo Babies?
With varied roots and a present-day commercialized spin, we choose to focus on the laughter, the kids running door-to-door, the greetings of neighbors, and the 'Happy Birthday!' messages that drift down from each stoop as my kids hold out their candy bags.
We live in the modern-day version of Halloweentown, so this is not just any typical night of trick-or-treat. For my kids’ birthdays, our town goes all out. Haunted houses, front yard fire pits, and firetrucks throwing candy as they cruise the streets. When my eldest was 2, his eyes widened as big as Reese’s Cups when he attended the party his neighbors were throwing for him, complete with a marching band. Literally.
At these spooked-up celebrations we sing, blow out candles, eat cake, and then go beg 300 neighbors for candy. (And afterwards, sometimes, eat even more cake.) We also open presents, so Halloween doubles as a second Christmas around here. As toddlers, my children literally shook with excitement over the festivities surrounding their special days.
And, I’m happy to say, the excitement has not worn off.
Now in second grade, Eli’s class has a party on his birthday every year. I go in and help as a room parent. He gets to pass out Halloween trinkets and birthday trinkets (not candy, as our school is treat-free), like spider rings, tattoos, and slap bracelets. And since Halloween items are cheap this time of year, as parents we hit the financial jackpot. A bag of 500 pieces of junk parents can throw away next week for only $10? Score.
And when we want to take a break from the spooky stuff, we throw a second birthday celebration the first weekend of November. Instead of ghosts and goblins, there’s John Deere, “Choo-choo’s and tutu’s,” and Legos. As they get older I imagine the spooky will begin to outweigh the cute, and I am just fine with that. In my mind, it’s all in good fun and we don’t take any of it seriously.
But the main reason I most adore my children’s Halloween birthdays is because the holiday has really become a day of community and family. With varied roots and a present-day commercialized spin, we choose to focus on the laughter, the kids running door-to-door, the greetings of neighbors, and the “Happy Birthday!” messages that drift down from each stoop as my kids hold out their candy bags.
As far as birthdays go, we definitely hit the jack(o-lantern)pot.