I absolutely hate Halloween. In my opinion, it's a pointless holiday with no purpose whatsoever. Even when I was a kid, I wasn't into Halloween at all. While my friends were getting excited to dress up and pick out their costumes, I was just ready to move on and get to Christmas. To be honest, I hate Halloween because I'm afraid of just about everything. Scary movies, creepy stories, haunted houses — anything that isn't happy, really. And now that I'm a parent, I was really hoping to avoid Halloween altogether but since my husband and I agreed that our kids deserve a fun time regardless of my personal disdain towards all things scary, we still celebrate it. And every year, even though I hate Halloween, I still take my kids trick or treating.
Growing up, I learned to avoid all Halloween-related activities. The popular thing to do every October was to go to Haunted Houses around town, but I never went. I was afraid I'd pass out or frankly embarrass myself by peeing in my pants in front of all my friends. Horror movies were just about the scariest thing I could imagine and to be honest, I was afraid to even flip channels during the month of October. Some of my friends loved to be scared, leaving me to feel like a weirdo for closing my eyes during horror-movie previews. To this day, the scariest movie I've ever seen is one true horror-movie fanatics would laugh at. After I saw it, I had nightmares for a month straight. Let's just say I'll never forget what happened that summer, OK?
When I became a parent, everything about spooky, scary things multiplied: What if something happened to me? To my kids? Are they safe? Am I? I deal with the real-world terrors day in and day out, so I don't feel bad sitting out on a night that's dedicated to all things creepy.
When I became an adult, I assumed I'd be less afraid of creepy things, but I was wrong. I figured all those feelings of feeling left out because I didn't like scary stuff would be behind me, but I was also dead wrong about that, too. There is so much about adulthood that is scary: never knowing what comes next, worrying about every little thing. And then when I became a parent, everything about spooky, scary things multiplied: What if something happened to me? To my kids? Are they safe? Am I? I deal with the real-world terrors day in and day out, so I don't feel bad sitting out on a night that's dedicated to all things creepy.
I still feel like a misfit for not liking popular zombie shows, scary movies and Haunted Houses. Even the Haunted Mansion at Disneyland gives me anxiety. I still feel like a petrified 8-year-old girl every October, as I carefully view the guide on my television in an attempt to avoid anything that may scare me, which is, of course, everything.
Now that I'm a proud mother of three wonderful children, I was kind of hoping to just buy candy and call it a day. Halloween could just be a day of rest, right? No. Apparently most kids really enjoy Halloween, mine included, so once again I figured I'd have to learn to fake it. Thankfully, my husband reminded me that we can make Halloween about whatever we want, it doesn't need to be extra scary. We can enjoy fall festivals, pumpkin carving, costume shopping, and trick or treating without getting into the scary part of the holiday. After all, we're the parents and we can make Halloween fun without depriving our kids of the holiday all together. So that's exactly what we decided to do.
Last year our boys chose to be Mickey Mouse and Luigi from Super Mario Brothers. They looked absolutely adorable and had a blast trick or treating and even more fun at a local church Harvest festival, full of candy and carnival games. While the amount of walking almost killed me (I was eight months pregnant with our daughter), the joy on my kids' faces as they saw all the costumes, decorations, and candy made me so happy. It made me realize I can enjoy the day even more now because I'm a parent.
All you scary-movie-watching, Halloween-loving, creepy-ghost-story-telling moms can judge me all you want. Honestly, I envy your lack of fear, but I can't change who I am.
I may not love Halloween, but I love making my kids happy. If buying a costume once a year and doing a few fall-themed activities is all I have to do to maintain that happiness, I'm more than willing to comply. Childhood goes by so fast and I don't want my kids to miss out on anything. I don't want them to miss out on fun things because of my own personal fears and feelings. I hate Halloween, but my kids love it and that's enough for me. They love dressing up, eating candy for three weeks straight, and we all love snuggling up to watch It's The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown every October.
All you scary-movie-watching, Halloween-loving, creepy-ghost-story-telling moms can judge me all you want. Honestly, I envy your lack of fear, but I can't change who I am. I'm a good mom who loves pumpkin-flavored drinks, but hates Halloween. I get scared more easily than a puppy and I'm OK with that. I may not be able to handle haunted houses with my children, but my husband can. I may not take them to scary movies, but I take them to the pumpkin patch. I help them carve pumpkins, pick out costumes, and do Halloween crafts. I get scared by the pop up Halloween decorations at the costume store, but my kids think they're fun. They also think it's funny that mommy is afraid of a pretend decoration.
I've learned to make Halloween fun for all of us. We watch kid-friendly fall movies, carve pumpkins, roast pumpkin seeds, enjoy pumpkin patches, and trick or treat together every year. While I may never be able to partake in the scary traditions, for now I'm in charge of the traditions we create, and my kids are pretty darn happy with the way we do things. I give new meaning to the phrase "Happy Halloween," and honestly, I wouldn't have it any other way.