Halloween Happiness is a State of Mind

Halloween, I have to admit, is not my favourite holiday of the year. In fact, its probably my least favourite. I don’t really like dressing up, I love candy, but I have NO willpower when its in the house, and it makes kids CRAZY!!  However, my kids LOVE Halloween, and so this year, I decided to suck it up and get in the spirit as much as I could.  And, I had a heck of a lot of fun! Huh, who knew?

My kids started bugging me to get costumes starting in September. I always wait until at least October 1, largely to try and avoid the inevitable mind changing. However, I have to say, my kids knew what they wanted, and they stuck to their decisions! They must be growing up :)  We live close to Sherwood Park, so we often shop there to avoid crowds; and I noticed that the old Save On Foods had been turned into a giant Halloween store. We walked in having no idea what to expect. I was impressed. They had a wall of costume choices in pictures, and then once you had picked what you wanted, and what size, you told one of the lovely young staff. They then radioed to someone behind the scenes who fetched the costume. When it was your turn, you were given your costume and a changing room.  The prices were reasonable, the selection was awesome, and I walked out with a VERY happy Ninja and Rapunzle.  Step one in the process, pretty painless!

Step two was a costume for me. In order to get into the spirit, I really did need to dress up. I have the old standby witch and black cat costume, but something told me that wasn’t going to cut it. Through the brilliant and inspired idea of a friend of mine in Australia, I settled on the Tooth Fairy!!  I headed over to Value Village to find what I needed. $30 later, I had a pink ensemble, some wings and a wand. I added a tool belt complete with pliers, toothbrushes and floss. Pretty good if I say so myself! My hubby picked up a “big mouth” costume (to kind of match with me), and we were all set.

Next, step 3: decorations. We don’t have many kids come to our place for Trick or Treating. It is just the demographics of our neighbourhood, and there is really only one or two other families with kids on our entire street. So I never really feel inspired to decorate – kind of a “why bother” attitude. However, just up from us is a house that goes ALL OUT for Halloween: it is seriously impressive.  We drive past this house everyday on the way to school. This causes the cries of “when are we going to get a giant blow up Frankenstein for our house?” So I have agreed to add one more decoration for our house each year. That’s a pretty good compromise, right?  The decoration that was chosen was a flat witch that looked like she had flown into the door and crashed.  It brought my DD such joy that I had to love it too.

Lastly, managing the mania that is October 31.  I taught my own class on the morning of Halloween. While they were a bit bonkers with excitement, my students loved the halloween activities I planned for them, their costumes were great, and I was really glad I had a costume as all of our staff dressed up! Good start to the day. For the afternoon, DD and I headed over, in costume, to DS’s school to help with the afternoon party in his class. His school does a school wide Costume Parade, as do many elementary schools. But wow, they take it to a whole new level of amazing. There was not a child or staff member who wasn’t dressed up, and their parade was really a fashion show. They had set up a runway in the middle of the gym, and all the classes sat surrounding it. As each class paraded their costumes in front of the school, the rest of them whooped and hollered and cheered their peers. Amazing. My DS, who is not someone who likes to be the centre of attention, loved it so much he even gave the school a wave while he walked on by!! The party in the afternoon was fun, and I really enjoyed getting to know the other kids and some of the other moms.

Then came Trick or Treating. Given the nasty weather, we were kind of dreading it, and DS refused to wear a coat for fear of people not seeing his costume and not knowing what he was – yeah for long johns and sweaters that fit under. I put my wings and tool belt over top of my coat, DS wore her coat over her dress, and wore her wig as her toque, DH popped his Big Mouth over his coat, and off we went. The kids were awesome and tough!  It was cold, windy and snowing, and they happily powered through without any complaining (ok, with way less than I was expecting!). DH and I were thankful for the friends we went with and for the Baileys in our coffee :)

What Halloween taught me, or maybe reaffirmed for me, is that most things are about your state of mind and how you choose to approach them. I could have chosen to be grumpy about Halloween, refuse to dress up and not get into the spirit. But I would have missed enjoying the joy of my kids’ joy. I would have resented the time and money and imposition, and one day, they would probably begin to dread a holiday they currently love. The kids are already talking about what they are going to be next year, and you know what… I’m thinking about it too.

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