Every fall, Adam, our youngest, changes his mind about his costume a few times before October even hits. One year, it was a military guy. The next, he was a knight (I think we reused an older costume from his older brother’s pile). The following year, he was a football player, only because he couldn’t make up his mind until the last minute, and his New England Patriots jersey was a favorite. If you ask any kid right now, chances are he’s changed his mind about his costume for the second or third time.
The advent of Halloween often generates two camps of parents: those who love it and those who get through it. I am envious of the families who really take the time to plan a group costume as a family, the ones who build haunted houses on their lawns and in their garages for the neighborhood kids. I always wonder, where do they find the time? The Marcelos are in the second camp – while we love the festivities and the special energy Halloween brings, we always seem to be scrambling at the last minute for costumes, candy, and decorations if we’re lucky.
Halloween presents challenges for parents for a few obvious reasons – for one, we’re the masterminds behind the creation of the costume. That Halloween costume parade at school is a big event, and your child does not want to be the third witch from the left. So some of us sew, glue, glitter, or weld things together for our children, and they leave the house with our blood, sweat, and tears all over those handcrafted wire butterfly wings that eventually get caught in the school bus doors. Some of us head quickly to the nearest costume aisle in a department store or specialty shop to find that toddler-sized Superman outfit or that ready-made Disney Princess costume. We always tried to look for things that we already had in our house, to cut back on expenses and to challenge our creative brains. That’s how we came up with some of our best costumes!
Whatever Adam and Ryan eventually decided, once the costume was made or bought, they wanted to wear it immediately -- even if it was October 1. It was good to know about places in the area that embraced this need in our children – check your local city zoo, as they often have “dress-up days” through the month of October for kids just like this!
Another challenge for parents is the mountain of candy that accumulates in our child’s pillowcase as we head down Main Street, and figuring out how to prevent our children from bingeing on all that chocolate and sugar in one night. In our family, we developed a system with the kids; they were allowed a certain amount (say, five pieces of their carefully selected favorites) and then the rest of the bag would be siphoned out to them over the next few months for good deeds done.
As a working mom, Halloween for my family was often a day-time event, and it was always difficult to be home in time for trick-or-treating on a weekday. Sometimes I had no choice but to ask my nanny to take the kids around the neighborhood. But should it always be the parents doing this? Believe it or not, some people have raised eyebrows at the thought of having the nanny take the kids around – to the point of being almost judgmental. I always wondered, is it really that big of a deal? What do you think?
Do you have a favorite Halloween memory? Post it in the comments section. And if you have a great Halloween family photo, post it on our Facebook page – we’re starting a collection!