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Friday, May 6, 2016

Halloween in the good ol' days

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Phew, Halloween is over! The kids had a great weekend and that's all that matters, right? The costumes they individually chose turned out fine, nothing spectacular and now it's time to transform the house from spooky to normal. I look forward to Halloween every year, as I do every holiday, but then during the holiday, its total chaos and I spend it all stressed out counting the minutes till it's over.

I figured out this year why Halloween is extra stressful. It's because, as most things, it's not that same as it used to be. I know I'm getting old for even using this next phrase, but... "when I was a kid" Halloween was simple. We picked out a costume a few weeks beforehand and it was usually very simple. A plastic gown sort of getup, that had arm and leg holes and tied behind the neck with a plastic mask that went along with it. Some years we maybe just had a mask and wore matching sweatpants and sweatshirt, never anything elaborate.

These days, the costumes are planned out weeks, maybe months ahead, ordered online or bought at specialty Halloween costume shops. Some moms spend hours hunting down just the right piece for the child's costume and more hours gluing and sewing it all together. I know all this, because I'm guilty of it. By the end of it, doing this for three kids cost more than my utility bill. However, these days, even at the big box discount stores, costumes are expensive. You don't get just the gown and mask set anymore. For instance if you're dying to be Redneck for Halloween, you have to buy the checkered shirt with the cutoff sleeves, separate from the buck teeth and overalls. Then add the $25 mullet wig and you've spent over $80! That's crazy!

Plus, back in the good ol' days, we wore our costumes ONE time, trick-or-treating on Halloween night. Sometimes Mom would let us try them out around the house, and once in a while we'd we wear them to our school's Halloween carnival, but that was it! This year I finally realized the multiple costume wearing, is one of the biggest reasons Halloween has become so stressful. It's no big deal if your kid can get their costume on by themselves and there's no hair or makeup to be done, but in my house with three girls, it takes forever. I try to start with the daughter who has the most detailed costume and work my way down from there, but sometimes I have to factor in their age. I've been burnt in past years by fixing up the youngest daughter first, only to have her destroy it by the time we left. This process of getting all three of them fixed up can take almost 2 hours, and that's with simple costumes.

Another beef of mine is, these days "they," whoever they are, make Halloween last several days. There are community parties, church parties, school parties and friend parties, to name a few and all requiring your costume. By the time Halloween night actually arrives and it's time to go trick-or-treating, my daughters' costumes look like they've been rolled through a trash dumpster and run over by a lumber wagon. And by that time, I've done their same makeup and hair at least five times and I don't quite feel like doing it yet again. I find my attitude toward their whole costume getup by Halloween night becomes rather sour. As well, by trick-or-treating time, the girls' excitement about their costumes has dwindled to merely just something else they "have" to do. They're bored with it.

My point is, the 50 other Halloween activities prior to Halloween seem to take away the thrill and excitement of trick-or-treating on Halloween night. As I was curling my middle daughter's hair for the third time the other night, feeling a little disgruntled and sad about this idea, I expressed to her, "Ya know, when I was a kid, we only wore our costumes one time ... to go trick-or-treating. We didn't wear them day after day to a bunch of parties." I guess I thought she maybe would understand my hint of frustration but instead, she blankly replied, "Yeah, but you probably had boring costumes, not cool ones, like ours." I couldn't say anything. She was 100 percent right on the money.

My costumes as a kid were no match to today's, but on Halloween night, I sure thought they were cool and it was always one of my favorite nights. But, that was in the good ol' days, with plastic gown costumes and homemade treats!

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Jennifer Morgan
Motherhood Moments
-- Jennifer Morgan is the mother of three girls and lives in McCook.