The Halloween season will soon be in full swing. Lawns will be scattered with scary scarecrows, wandered upon on by wicked witches, and covered from corner to corner in creepy cobwebs. Some yards will set the stage for a happy haunting while other will look like Halloween threw up. Excited children will try to decide what to “go as,” while perplexed parents craft costumes late into the night and acquire an overabundance of candy.
I find the ever-increasing amounts of Halloween decorations available to the general public to be both amazing and scary—scary in more ways than one. While many displays are brilliant, there are others that look like someone ransacked a dumpster out behind a Halloween store, and flung the contents all over their yard just before a hurricane hit. Not only are these displays trip hazards for unsuspecting trick-or-treaters, but it wouldn’t surprise me to ride by these places and see prison inmates—complete with orange jumpsuits and shackles—performing state appointed clean-up duty. Who knows, maybe my perfectionist nature just isn’t allowing me to see the artistic beauty of it all.
However, the Halloween costumes of today are far better than the lame ones available when I was a kid. I remember wearing pathetic looking plastic masks that always had a cheap, cheesy, stretched out string across the back, meant to hold the mask in place but never actually did. The masks’ material didn’t breathe, and neither could I when I wore them. These days, the masks are form-fitted, breathable numbers that look like something out of a Wes Craven flick. Not only are they ridiculously realistic, but almost scary enough to make you pass out while you’re passing out candy. At our door we see everything from precious little girls in intricately detailed princess costumes—which I’m sure their moms slaved away on for weeks—to the late night teenage ninjas who show up on the doorstep, not in costumes, but in hoodies—with blank, stares being the only things masking their faces—and say nothing while they hold out their grungy pillowcases waiting for you to add to their stash.
Most costumes are store bought, but there are many mothers who make their little monsters—I mean darlings—homemade costumes. There are two possible reasons for this: (a) they’re wonderfully creative women who can lovingly craft an award-winning costume that their children, and their children’s children, will rise up and call them wonderful for, or (b) their kid couldn’t make up his mind about what he wanted to “go as,” and when he finally did, the stores no longer had it. Any time I’ve ever made my child a costume, I’ve fallen into the latter category. But either way, moms will lose sleep, lose feeling in their fingers, and lose their minds as they sew, super glue, and staple their nights away leading up to All Hallows’ Eve. Hopefully, at some point during all of this, the moms will remember to head out and get some choice candy before the stores are all out of that too.
When all is said and done, no matter how messy your yard looks, how wrong your child’s costume went, or how stale that off-brand candy you bought tastes, Halloween is a magical time of year for our kids. So don’t wish it away, because as soon as it’s over you’re going to have to not only deal with decorating for Christmas, creating costumes for your little devils—I mean angels—Christmas pageant, and baking a whole heavenly host of holiday cookies, fudge, and fruitcake; but you’ll also have to shop till you drop, wrap till you weep, and feed your family an endless supply of festively fattening feasts.
Please check out my latest YA fiction novel: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/32733457-surviving-gretchen