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  • Melissa Porteous

Halloween - the 3rd best day of the year!

Updated: Dec 1, 2022

Hey everyone, so the 3rd best time of the year is right around the corner - and by that, I mean it's less then a week away. Third best, because we all know the best is Christmas and the second is birthday. Maybe Halloween doesn't actually make the top 3 best, but in my opinion whatever holiday is coming up next ends up third best on my list. It's just another reason to get excited for something, count down the days and see family and community members. Sounds like a good time to me.

For the past 5 years, I've been pretty good at making my kids Halloween costumes, but this year I broke down and did it.. I went out and bought their costumes. And I did it early, it's not like I waited to the last minute to make their costumes and then ran out of time so I had no other option but to go out and buy them. No I just made a stress-less decision to purchase them from Walmart.

Here's the backstory - there will always be one. Last year, I spent hours - and I mean hours (over the span of days) - making our family costumes. My sons name is Jack so I like to play on that name. (Don't worry a list of all his previous costumes is coming up later). So last year we went as cards from a deck of cards, my husband going as the king, myself the queen, Jack as the jack (good guess) and our 1 year old son as the ace of hearts. I hand drew 2 sets of each card onto paper then glued the paper onto rigid cardboard, then attached them with rope, placed around our necks to hang over our chest and back. Now once we went out on Halloween night, I realized our costumes did not look that impressive - it looked like I just hung some cardboard around our necks and went out asking for candy. I was looking around at all the other kids out trick or treating in their store bought costumes that covered them head to toe thinking that their costumes look more involved.

I didn't think I was comparing, however look back now I guess I am. I'm just thinking that the people handing out candy might have thought "wow look at these people barely putting in an effort" when in reality there was much effort on my part. And actually Jack himself helped with coloring his jacks. And by people, I mean people I know. We live near a very small town, an everyone knows everyone type of place.

Anyways, Halloween has now come and gone, and it was jam packed full of stuff to do. Jack had a school dance, which siblings were invited to attend, so me and the three kids went to that on Thursday night, then Sunday we went to an AHL (American Hockey League) game in which the kids wore their costumes and did some trick or treating in the concourse of the arena (we arrived late so we missed that part). Afterwards we went to my parents house for our annual pumpkin carving contest. Then Monday Jack wore his costume to school and out we went trick or treating. Busy busy, and a few late nights make for tired cranky kids. In case you didn't know this about me, I'm a fan of kids getting in their regular sleep. Of course life happens but too many days in a row spell out disaster.

Usually when we go out for things like this, I end up yelling or getting frustrated or annoyed at simple things the kids do. I worry and try so hard to make this such a fun night for them - as it should be - but sometimes I forget that they are kids and worry about social expectations. Such as hitting certain houses - remember it's a small town so I feel the need to go see certain people. But then the kids just want to walk down the streets and stop at houses that aren't necessarily on my list. This time, Jack ran into a friend from school and wanted to walk around with his family. So what I'm trying to say is, in trying to keep on a schedule and stop at certain houses, it caused me to stress because we were taking too long and I wanted to be home at a decent time to get the kids to bed. I think I need to learn how to let things go maybe?

I made a deal with myself that I wouldn't yell this year, and I didn't. Yay for me! But as the night went on, stopping at a house, unloading the kids, then loading them back up and doing it all over again a hundred times, I could feel myself starting to get.. I don't even know what the word is. Maybe I could see the kids were getting tired and I knew a meltdown was coming which in turn starting stressing me out. Or I was watching the clock knowing that each stop was making us later and later for bedtime, on a school night!.. I'm not really sure. All I know is that as a parent, I'm not even sure I like Halloween anymore. I mean really, we dress the kids up in costumes that either cost us money or time and in my experience are a pain to move in and sit in a car seat or they complain about a certain part of it, then they go out and get so much candy and junk food that you are constantly the bad person for the next 8 months, having to say "no" all the time when they ask to eat candy for breakfast, lunch and dinner - and snack time. But then I remember how much the kid in me actually loves Halloween. You get to dress in any costume you want, go out during the dark walking all over town, running into friends from school, getting free candy and then of course that means there is candy to eat for the next 8 months. Ok it really is the 3rd best day of the year. But actually, let's start a vote to move trick or treating to the Friday or Saturday closest to Halloween. Who's with me??

(Here's our annual carvings - feel free to vote! I won't tell you which one is mine)

Now, if I'm going to think sustainably, oh boy. Well there again is a downside to Halloween. All those plastic wrappers on all those sugar filled candies is really really terrible. How to encourage sustainable living and healthy eating when Halloween hits. If you have any ideas, I'd love to hear them! As I'm writing this, I'm thinking maybe instead of letting the kids just walk to all the houses they want, even as they get a bit older I could keep it to just the core houses we usually go to. Family and close friends. Of course, as many plans require, I could revisit it when the kids get older-older and start going out with their friends and stuff. But for now, with young kids, I can still make those decisions for them. I remember filling pillow cases full of candy when I went out, and for what purpose? I don't know. All I know was as a kid that seemed like the best decision.

So, as with many things that have such a build up to it - I look forward to it so much but then it's a huge sign of relief when it's finally over. I've already packed up my Halloween decorations, bought a few more on blowout sale for next year and now I'll relax for a few weeks before getting ready for the best time of the year! And by relax, I mean I'll get back to canning and preserving the last of the fruits and veggies we've grown in this great Earth.


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