Right across the playground from my kids’ school looms a house that is completely decked out for Halloween. There are skeletons scaling the siding, peeking out from the bushes, and lounging on the patio furniture (enjoying what I imagine to be a morning cup of bone broth). There is also a witch who has crashed her landing, and even a 20-foot cobweb reaching from the roof to the leaf-dotted ground.
It’s an impressive display that leaves my kids pulling my hand at pick up just so they can point out the skeleton peeking out from the window. And I have to admit that every day as I drive by with my coffee mug in hand, I admire the intricacy, hard work, and attention to detail that went into their entire Halloween decoration. It puts a smile on my face as I look forward to the fun in the month ahead trick-or-treating with my kids, carving pumpkins, and of course, stealing all the good chocolate out of their bags.
And whenever I pass by that infamous Halloween house, one thought goes through my mind: Thank goodness there are people out there in the world willing to go all out for the holidays, because I sure as heck am not one of them.
If I’m being honest, this year has been an especially epic failure on my end in the seasonal fun department. It took my kids two weeks of begging for me to put up some Halloween decorations. On top of that, I haven’t even thought about costumes yet, and we have yet to pick up a single pumpkin this year. If there was an Ebenezer Scrooge equivalent for Halloween, this year it would definitely be me.
I know I have all the typical excuses that moms of young kids can pull out of their back pockets. Stuff like being exhausted all of the time, drowning under mountains of laundry, or packing lunches my kids probably won’t even eat. But the bigger truth is that I just can’t seem to summon the energy to do anything beyond making it through the day.
I admire the determination it takes to scale a roof and hang seasonal lights just for other people to enjoy. I appreciate the creativity that goes into crafting an elaborate Halloween scene that may or may not horrify the neighbors. I love that my children can get so much joy out of something that a complete stranger set up in their yard just for the fun of it. I wish I was the type of person who brightens up the world with festive displays in my front yard, but sadly, I am not. I did buy two pots of yellow mums a few weeks ago as my seasonal fall porch display, but then I never watered them so they died in just a few days. Again, fail.
It’s amazing to me that I can’t even take the time to keep mums alive when there are people going all out for the holidays. There are strangers making spooky lawns for trick-or-treaters, families organizing neighborhood decorating contests, and little old ladies baking up treats. Honestly, I think it’s such a beautiful thing.
It might sound silly to get emotional about a couple of skeletons hanging out in the yard next to my kids’ school, but those silly, spooky little skeletons represent a lot to me. They symbolize hope and the fact that not everything in this world is scary and awful. They express that there are still people out there who try to make the world a brighter of a place for kids playing in a schoolyard or tired parents driving by on their morning commute. They represent that the world can still be fun if we try hard enough.
Soon, cold and empty nights will fill up with the bright lights of holiday displays and festive decorations. And on those nights when I’m driving by with a minivan full of cranky kids who need to get through the nightly grind of dinner, homework, baths, and bedtime, those lights will warm my tired mom soul with childhood delight all over again.
So whether you’re the person responsible for the skeletons crawling out of the bushes next to my kids’ school or the dedicated family who displays a nightly light show at Christmas, thank you for taking time out of your lives to make a mom smile. Oh, and if you’re reading this and accepting trick-or-treaters come Halloween, Kit-Kats are my favorite.