Halloween is upon us. The witching hour is nigh. Winter is coming ... Wait. Er … Nevermind. Aaaanyway, I have always loved Halloween because I enjoy dressing up in costumes, and I also enjoy receiving candy that may or may not have razors in it from people that I don’t know. I like to live life on the edge.
I know that when people say things like "Having children makes you experience the joy of things all over again!" one's natural reaction is to vomit uncontrollably while blindly swinging at them hoping you'll land a punch because STOP IT WITH THE CLICHÈS, but that one is actually kind of true. Halloween has taken on a whole new level of awesome now that I have a kid. All that "magic in the eyes of a child" crap they talk about actually happens. Halloween was fun before, but it’s even more fun once you have miniature humans with whom to enjoy it. Here are a few of the things that get even better once kids join the Halloween party.
I mentioned before that I like to dress up for Halloween (and also take candy from strangers). As a grownup, I’ve been a Kryptonite-d Supergirl, a baby, a crazy cat lady, Gene Wilder from the movie "Young Frankenstein," a farm girl holding a pumpkin (when I was pregnant, we painted my stomach like a jack-o’-lantern), a hobo with a shotgun and the ERMAHGERD girl. It’s fun to pick a costume for yourself at Halloween, but getting to dress your kids up is AMAZING. Not only is it epic cuteness, but it’s also a really cool glimpse into their personalities and what they’re into. We didn't dress our daughter up for her first Halloween; instead, we hired the woman who photographed our wedding and did an awesome Halloween-themed photo shoot. Her second Halloween, she chose to be Spider-Man. Last year, she picked out a purple fairy costume and also wore a lion hat (she pretty much looked like Luna Lovegood). Her current obsession is with the PBS kids' cartoon "Wild Kratts," so she decided she wanted to be "the blue Wild Kratt." I wasn't surprised and was also happy she finally made up her mind because for weeks she said she wanted to be a "snow leopard-bat-spider-blue Wild Kratt-princess-Iron Man." DECISIONS ARE HARD.
Trick-or-treating and fall festivals
Things that are weird for adults to do without children: going door-to-door and asking people you don’t know for candy and going to fall festivals geared toward kids. Here’s the thing about that: It doesn’t matter how much you want to ride that pony. You can’t because that’s weird. And you’re also probably too big because it’s a pony and you are a full-grown person. Are you trying to kill Peanut Butter? What the hell is wrong with you? Also, stop playing that game of cornhole at the nature center. I know you’ll get a prize at the end, but do you know what that prize is? A Tootsie Pop and a plastic bat ring. Go to Walmart and buy those, you weirdo. Don’t even bother asking that lady to paint a pumpkin on your face. She saw you coming and is already calling the cops. But bring along a little princess, firefighter or blue Wild Kratt? YOU’RE GOLDEN. GO JUMP IN THAT BOUNCE HOUSE AND EAT COTTON CANDY UNTIL YOU THROW UP. It’s all good; you’re just doing it for the kids.
Remember when your parents used to "check your candy to make sure it wasn’t poisoned"? Remember how pissed off you used to get because YOU WORKED HARD FOR THAT CANDY?! Well, guess what? NOW IT’S YOUR TURN TO CHECK THE CANDY FOR POISON. Here’s a little secret: THAT’S NOT REALLY WHAT WE ARE DOING, and it wasn’t what your parents were doing, either. We are picking through candy for the greatest pieces (Reese’s and Tootsie Rolls, please. EFF THOSE ORANGE CIRCUS PEANUTS. If you give those out at Halloween, STOP IT. NOW.) under the pretense that we’re concerned for our child’s safety. And, OK, I guess to a point we are, but let’s be real here: The PRIMARY reason is that we really just want an excuse to eat our children’s candy. They take everything of ours (our food, our money, our sanity, our once-firm stomachs), so why not steal a little from them one night out of the year? I will check that candy all night long because it’s my turn to do that now. I paid my dues, and those peanut butter cups are MINE.
Built-in excuses to skip going out
I don’t know about you, but in the years before parenthood, Halloween was all about partying. My brother-in-law threw (and still throws) the most amazing Halloween bashes, and I would get absolutely, obnoxiously, belligerently intoxicated on whatever was available at those parties. Jell-O shots, beaker shots, beer … If it was there, I was drinking it. I have many fond memories of Halloweens past. Now that I’m a parent, the parties I attend are fewer and farther between; and when I do go out, I’m usually back in by 11 p.m. Mass alcohol consumption and the subsequent hangovers just don’t hold the same magic for me anymore, and crowded clubs are no longer a "HELL YEAH!" activity. Going to a club filled with sexy nurses, sexy teachers, sexy Batmen, sexy zombies, sexy unicorns and Miley Cyruses sounds like a nightmare. NIGHTMARE. WOULD RATHER GET MY FACE GNAWED OFF BY A BEAVER. You kids can keep your thumping basses, Jäger bombs (VOMIT), skimpy costumes and devil-may-care attitudes; I’m going home and watching "Downton Abbey." I have an excuse now. Got a kid. So sorry! No can do.
I'm really looking forward to Halloween this Thursday. I get to see my kid dressed up, take her trick-or-treating with my best friend, and then later eat her candy while she's in bed. To all my fellow Halloween lovers, parents and nonparents alike, have a happy and safe Halloween!
Natalie Green is a Chicago girl living in Chattanooga with her husband and their 3-year-old daughter. When she’s not working full time outside of the home, she enjoys reading, writing, singing, zombies and running. From zombies. And also beer. You can stalk her blog, Mommy Boots, or follow her on Twitter @mommyboots; or you can email her directly at firstname.lastname@example.org. The opinions expressed in this column belong solely to the author, not Nooga.com or its employees.