Halloween Underachiever

Most years I have high hopes. THIS is the year we’re really going to do it up right for Halloween. I’m going to make my kids’ costumes, decorate inside and outside, and really celebrate throughout the whole month.

Except then it all goes wrong.

For the first few years my kids were alive I was doing SO WELL with the costumes. I sewed–from scratch, no pattern–a fantastic turkey costume for my older one when he was a baby, with detachable feathers that I sewed out of felt and a head piece with a wattle. It got a zillion compliments. The next year I went crazy making a muscle suit for him to be a muscle man, and at the last minute he wouldn’t wear the suit and went as Mr. Rogers instead. OK, it was still homemade, and everyone thought the kid in the tie and cardigan and sneakers was hilarious.

But then it all started to go downhill when he saw costumes in the store and wanted those. It started with Spiderman. And moved on to Darth Vader, a Clone Ranger, a Power Ranger, and a bunch I can’t remember. By that point his brother was old enough to want those store-bought costumes, too. Yes, I made a kick-ass dinosaur costume one of those years (which the little one still wears around the house sometimes), but for the most part it was all purchased.

So last year, when my younger one wanted to be Kermit the Frog, I tripped all over myself–and spent three days I should have been using to do schoolwork for my Master’s program–sewing him a costume without a pattern. I can’t even explain how horribly it turned out. Let’s just say that at one point I had to talk myself out of driving the whole big mess down to my mother’s house and begging her to fix it for me.

I’ve completely lost my nerve for sewing, and am hoping whatever the kids want to be this year is something I can buy costumes for easily.

Decorating: Ha. I couldn’t really do it when I lived in an apartment, so last year–my first year in a house since 1990–I got all pumpkintastic and we went and bought them at the actual pumpkin patch, and put them out, and then it was too hot and they rotted before Halloween.

This year I was set: I bought one of those fake pumpkins that looks like a real pumpkin that you can carve and put an electric candle in. No rotting. And the spiders that live in my bushes went absolutely batshit making webs all across my bushes. Which creeped me out, but looked eerie and cool at night with my porch light on. It was going to be a minimalist classy-but-still-spooky Halloween. And then a couple of days ago it frosted overnight, and the webs just disappeared. [Insert Nelson laugh here.] So now I have one fake pumpkin, yet-to-be-carved, and nothing else.

And as for celebrating all month, well, that fell apart last year when I bought candy a few weeks early, and ate it all. And then bought replacement candy, and ate all that. And had to buy a third batch for actual Halloween. So I was poor and fat and hopped up on all that sugar and on trying to finish a big Kermit headpiece.

This year I’m not buying any candy until the morning of October 31. (Except for Werther’s Originals, which I’m now re-addicted to after writing that post about my grandfather last week.) And my kids don’t want to eat the Pumpkin Spice Latte Cake I made, or anything else pumpkin.

All of this–no costumes yet, no decorations, no candy–is making me feel like a big Halloween Grinch. I try. Really, I try. It just never seems to come together for me.

Maybe Halloween just isn’t my holiday.


Magda Pecsenye writes about Christmas at, parenting at and about co-parenting after divorce with her ex-husband at When The Flames Go Up.

Follow her on Twitter at @AskMoxie and join the AskMoxie Facebook page.

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