Several years ago, when the hubs and I were struggling to have kids, one of my biggest dreams was to someday be able to take my own kids to the pumpkin patch just before Halloween. I yearned for it so badly that I found it hard to look at other peoples’ pictures of their own kids, smiling from the middle of a huge mound of pumpkins.
I like to keep that memory at the forefront of my mind around this time of each year, when it suddenly strikes me once again how much I actually hate Halloween. The memory provides a little perspective when I’m suffering through what has become one of my least favorite holidays.
Oh, I’ve got the kids now, and they’re freaking awesome. And I still tear up a little bit every year when we visit the pumpkin patch and I get my own pictures of my sweet kids jumping around in fields of pumpkins. It always occurs to me how long I waited for those moments and how blessed I am to have them.
But the rest of Halloween? It can suck my phantom balls.
I’m not a complainer, folks. I am known in my group of friends as the one who can find the silver lining in any situation. In college, my friends would come to me for validation after they’d done something they felt bad about, and I’d dispense shit like this: “Oh, you had a one-night stand? With a nerd? Well, at least that lessens the possibility of catching an STD since you were probably the first person he’d ever had sex with…and see, you did your good deed for the day for that little guy. So really, you should feel good about yourself. Go in peace to love and serve the world, my friend.”
None of my friends were Catholic or even religious, so I could pull lines from Mass out like that and it never failed that they’d look at me in awe. I probably shouldn’t have exploited that by making up random sins that they’d supposedly committed and then absolving them only after they shared their beer with me, right?
Anyway, this week, as I found myself complaining about Halloween to friends, family members, co-workers, my priest, the cashier at Wal-Mart, and that guy in the gray hoodie that was getting into the car next to me at Panera Bread, I realized that I was…well, I was being a complainer.
This was confirmed when I was bitching, once again, to one of my sweet co-workers, and I stopped and said, “I don’t mean to be all bah-humbuggy about Halloween—"
“—But you are,” she interrupted.
“Right,” I agreed.
So I decided I might as well grab a little silver lining out of it all with a blog post…that will not make me any money, but will quite certainly make me look like a huge asshole.
Silver lining, bitches.
And so, I’d like to present to you on this special Thursday-morning post (drum roll, please):
5 Reasons I Hate Halloween
No, I will not dress up with you. You looked shocked.
Why won’t I? Because I’m fcking 36 years old and past my Raggedy Ann prime. And so are you.
Oh, you’re throwing a party and nobody gets in unless they’re in costume? Have fun, dickwad. I’ll be at the bar down the road with the rest of the adults.
Listen, peeps, it’s not like I haven’t tried. As if I needed any help being unattractive in college, the one time in my adult life that I decided to dress up, I went as Mimi from The Drew Carey Show. It was a misguided Halloween costume effort by a dorky horseface who’d been raised by her dad.
And it might have been funny, I guess, but the problem was, nobody had told me that in a college town, the most hailed and appreciated costumes were the sluttiest ones. Hell, some people didn’t even wear costumes…they just glued sparkly pasties to their boobs and called themselves hookers. (I never figured out if they were legitimate hookers or not…or how well they were paid. Not that it would have made any difference in my career choice, of course…)
Needless to say, after about 5 (okay, dammit, 10) people looked right at me and laughed into my blue eyeshadowed-face, cutting me off with an eyeroll and an “Oh, we know” as I tried to explain who I was, I finally got sick of it.
I found a dark corner of the bar, a dedicated waitress who pitied me and served me pitcher after pitcher of beer on the house, and a bucket so I wouldn’t even have to get up to piss.
Holy shit, I didn’t hang up my flannel shirts and start wearing makeup until I graduated college. People thought I was a lesbian until I was 23 years old. And now I’m supposed to have somehow found the grace and knowledge to decorate my house for Halloween?
I don’t think so.
Luckily we found some of those handpainted wooden pumpkins and ghosts on stakes for $5 a pop at the local Farmers’ Market. The hubs and I pound those fckers into the ground, throw an arm over each other’s shoulders as we stand back and look at the yard with its two decorations, then nod our heads in satisfaction before going into the house and grabbing a pumpkin beer.
Fortunately our neighbors go all out, so we’ve decided that if our kids ever start complaining about our lack of decorations, we’ll just tell them to look to the left a little bit.
We may not be parents of the year, but we sure are squeaking by, my peeps.
Oh, dear God, the amount of pumpkin patch visits that are required when you have kids. Pumpkin patch with our own little family, pumpkin patch with the grandparents, pumpkin patch with the best friends, pumpkin patch with the preschool…
Holy shit, just give me the obligatory pumpkin patch picture for the year, and I’ll be fine. And you know what? We don’t even have to pay the admission and enter the pumpkin patch for that. We can just do a drive-by.
Here, kids, get out for a second, but stand on the other side of the car so that we can see the pumpkins in the background…
The last time we went to the pumpkin patch, we had the added bonus of realizing (about 3 hours later) that my youngest son must be allergic to the airborne stuff that was flying around in the huge corn kernel pit he was jumping in.
But when I said that to my mother-in-law, she responded by glaring at me and saying, “It doesn’t look like a corn allergy. I’m sure it’s something you’re doing wrong.”
Yes, mother-in-law. It normally is, isn’t it?
Oh, and let’s not forget what happens as soon as you purchase a larger SUV: Your boys’ preschool finds out about it.
“Oh, Shay, we need drivers to the pumpkin patch again this year. You don’t mind, do you? You’ll only be responsible for 8 children—not including your own.”
Oh, and I get to install all of the carseats into my car all by myself? And 2-3 of the kids aren’t fully potty trained?
Well, fck me.
I spent no less than $40 on my older son’s costumes this year. Yes, that is plural. I said “costumes.”
That’s because the child had been asking to be a zombie for no fewer than 6 months, but then one day at Wal-Mart, he jumped the gun and begged me for the Captain America costume. He swore up and down that that’s who he wanted to be—even after I reminded him that he’d been wanting to be a zombie for months.
So we bought em-effing Captain American and his godforsaken shield. And then 2 weeks later, at Wal-Mart? A zombie costume magically appeared where no zombie costume had been before.
Hey, folks. We’ve all had moments of buyer’s remorse, so who was I to fault my little guy for it when I’d done it plenty of times myself? Especially when I, as his mother, should have known better in the first place. So I bought him the zombie costume.
A week later? He wanted to be Captain America again. The zombie might scare the old people who are out walking while we’re trick-or-treating.
And don’t even get me started on my younger son. I knew he would throw a fit if I tried to put him into a costume—he’s just that type of kid—so I googled “easy costumes for kids” and found something that he’d hardly notice he was wearing: an apron. I would pair it with his little plastic pizza set from his little plastic kitchen and call him a pizza parlor owner. I wasn’t even going to make him wear a mustache.
And even though my child ADORES his little plastic pizza set and his little plastic kitchen…even though I literally have to TEAR HIM AWAY from it all, kicking and screaming when we have to be somewhere on time…when it became a “Halloween costume,” he was.not.having.it. He ripped off the apron, threw down the pieces of pizza, and shouted, “NO pizza! NO pizza!”
Then he started in on the art of compromise, something that makes me proud that he’s learned at the ripe age of two, but also the teensiest bit annoyed because he employs it on a minutely basis with me. This time, he said, “Pizza shirt. Pizza shirt” as he pointed toward his room.
He has a t-shirt with a pizza on it, picked up at the local pizza parlor one day while we were eating lunch there. He wanted to wear that as his pizza man costume.
And you know what? I can’t say I blame him. You wanna slap on a goddamned pizza t-shirt and call it a day, buddy? Good idea. Let me go find my Wonder Woman t-shirt.
It’s not the actual carving of the pumpkins that’s bad. We kind of love that part, really. The hubs has sort of made it his thing with the kids, and we’ll all sit on the back deck and help carve, then we’ll stick our fingers in the goop and take silly pictures.
The problem arises when, inevitably, my 5-year-old asks if I will bake the pumpkin seeds. And, inevitably, I will respond with an excited, “Of course!” because the ones at the store are so fcking delicious and seriously, how hard could they be to duplicate?
And then, every year, my boys and husband will watch in breathless fascination as I pull the pan of baked seeds from the oven. We’ll all pop them into our mouths at the same time. And so we’ll all realize at the same moment that, once again, they’re chewy and soggy and gross. And I’ll look around at my family as I plaster a satisfied look on my face and try to choke the damned seeds back, and they’ll all be shooting me dirty looks.
I swear I can look into my 2-year-old’s eyes and see what he’s thinking: First the corn, and now this. You skank.