Allow this unapologetic enthusiast to share a fervent ode to my great and undying love* for Halloween!
Why, you might ask? I mean if there really even needs to be another reason besides pilfering the candy stash after Darth Vader’s bedtime? Because let’s be real, Reese’s peanut butter cups > candy canes all day, every day. But beyond confection superiority, I contend that Halloween has the highest fun factor to lowest stress quotient making it, without question, this mom’s all time favorite holiday. And yes it’s true that in a former life (before kids) I spent my days roaming the theatre department and loitering at Renaissance faires. So perhaps it comes as no surprise that any excuse to dust off the old corset and witch nose kit, is going be a winner in my book.
But hear me out.
1. Obligation Lite
First let’s talk about all things you don’t have to do for Halloween and why that makes it oh so magical! There are no required hours spent stirring, mixing, and stuffing any number of the same old tired dishes. These same dishes that you will undoubtedly be coercing yourself and your family to eat for the next several days until one of you finally breaks and cries for tacos. Also mercifully, there is a lack of expectation to shuffle the kids from one family member’s gathering to the next when no one has napped, everyone is wearing itchy sweaters, and somehow everyone has managed to forget your family is vegetarian. Again. And no one is bummed at you for gifting a Starbucks card for the fourth year in a row because you simply ran out of time, creativity, and the will to live. There is a glorious lack of obligation and expectation surrounding Halloween that warms the soul like frothy mug of steamy butterbeer. Drink up.
2. Go Big or Go Easy, Who Cares?
It’s entirely up to you. Want to go DEFCON Pinterest crazy and piece together the most insanely cool costumes this side of Elm Street? Go for it! Or, if you’re anything like this lady, you can slap down $2o bucks at Target and walk home with baby Yoda in a bag and a tall soy two-pump pumpkin spice latte on the way out. So #basic, so what. And the beautiful thing is that your kids will likely be ecstatic either way. So if you’re dying to try out the salted caramel popcorn ball recipe you just saw on Buzzeats and want to pass those hand-dipped beauties out this year to Trick or Treaters, do it mama! Prepare and accept some level of stink eye from other moms wondering where you found the time. But just shrug it off and rest assured that if instead you scorch those popcorn balls, the grubby little ghosts and wonder women at your door will happily take your grab bag candy without complaint or judgment.
3. Kids Love It
Yes there are certainly exceptions in some far off remote regions of the world that don’t celebrate the holy union of Marvel and Mars Candy. But generally speaking, kids freaking LOVE Halloween. Without question that love is largely due to the promise of bulging sacks of candy and the freedom to tear through the streets after bedtime. But I believe there’s more to it. Kids love Halloween because it speaks to the shadowy corners in the imagination that love a good spooky story told over flashlights and anything that’s gross and/or weird. Fake eyeballs, bats, spiders, and other such macabre bric-a-brac come right out of the childhood playbook for a guaranteed good time. The last day of September is like its own holiday in our house when we open the closet under the stairs and pull out the black storage bins that entomb the giant tarantula that goes up on the side of the house and the pirate skeleton that sits on the porch with a friendly wave. Our kids get crazy excited for it!
4. Fun’s Only Begun
Finally, I conclude that Halloween is the tops because it signals the beginning of the most wonderful time of the year when fall is in full glory. There are chilly nights with cider, scarves and leaning in still to come. There are s’mores to be eaten and campfires to sit around. There is hope that the crispness in the air will hang on just a little while longer before turning to a chill. And for all the above snark about the other holidays, I admit, I do love them all. Yet Halloween remains my absolute favorite, as it’s only the beginning of this magic time of year, in this tiny fraction in time when we have those young enough to truly believe it.