Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Halloween is For Slackers

Halloween has always been the perfect Slacker Mom-friendly holiday. Think about it: no cookies to bake, no cards to send, no perfect holiday photo to stress over. No special fancy outfits to shop for (and then fight with your kids over, amid screams of "I'm NOT wearing THAT!"), no gifts to buy, nothing to wrap or send or deliver. No parties to cook for, no invitations to figure out how to get out of, no company shindigs where you have to make small talk with people you don't even know. No teacher gifts to buy (an impossible task, even for an ex-teacher). No deciding who to visit and how to break it to the ones you're ditching.

You buy a few bags of candy, whip up a few costumes, and you're done. Ah, Halloween!

More and more, schools don't allow the "H" word to be spoken; everything is "Fall Festival" or "Harvest Celebration" these days. Even easier. Cookies can be bought at the local bakery and dropped off at school with no guilt, since I can't use my special jack-o-lantern cupcake molds anyway. Most schools won't even let parents bake treats anymore; they have to be store-bought and can't exceed "wellness" requirements set by well-meaning (but lame) district officials.

I admit, before Slacker Mom arrived, I used to over-achieve and SuperMom the crap out of Halloween, just like every other holiday. I used to make sure each child had two costumes, one for school (sticky, day-glo orange cupcake frosting all over the fleecy baby lamb costume I spent 10 hours making? I don't think so!) and one for trick-or-treating. But last year, my husband took the kids to the costume store and told them they had 30 minutes to find a costume. They came home as a pretty witch and her sweet black cat. Wading through piles of slutty pre-teen costumes was no fun for him, but it saved me about 15 hours worth of work, and didn't cost much more than I would have spent on materials.

I used to throw an elaborate annual Halloween party for all the kids we know. I had games, treats, crafts, a full buffet, and goodie bags. I'd spend hours making homemade, hand-decorated cupcakes and cookies that were gobbled up in seconds. This year, Slacker Mom pointed out that between school, neighbors, and extracurricular activities, we'd have to invite about 60 kids. And their parents. And their siblings. And it rained on that weekend last year AND the year before. So Slacker Mom convinced me to spend that money on a more worthy cause: a mid-year trip to Florida to see friends instead. Surprisingly, the kids were totally on-board and won't even miss the party that I've prided myself on for 7 years now. Talk about a wake-up call.

Slacker Mom Says...before I know it, I'll be a grumpy old lady turning out my porch light on October 31. I might as well start enjoying this holiday instead of trying to create yet another perfectly memorable, perfectly Martha Stewart holiday. Instead, I'm going to buy costumes and cookies, take my kids trick-or-treating, and get some extra sleep. After all, Christmas is just around the corner. And my Slacker Mom detox program hasn't figured out a way to talk me down from SuperMomming the crap out of Christmas yet.


  1. Too funny--and too true. I sometimes think about who we are trying to impress when we try to be Martha--'cos you can bet that big party or no party, homemade costume or one picked off the rack--it's all the same to the kids. And since our families are the ones that matter, why work ourselves into an exhausted pile to impress--who? Ourselves? Our friends? An unrealistic image? Phooey, I say. Let Slacker Mom hit us with a more realistic expectation that actually allows us to spend more QUALITY time with our kids, free from unecessary trappings. YES!

  2. seriously. i can try to be all things to all people, but what my kids seem to remember most is that I was there, just there, with them. hanging out and painting our fingernails is just as cool to them as anything else! i'm serving up bakery cookies instead of spending three hours making cats and bat after the kids go to sleep.

  3. I've actually been considering the idea of blowing off the "perfect" Christmas and focusing on Halloween instead. There's much less pressure. Besides with a (formerly?) goth husband, Halloween is our perfect holiday. ;-) Just a thought. Of course letting go of Christmas perfection is a tough one. Another note: I'm so glad that my kid's preschool is one of the few that still allow us to bring homemade treats that do not need to be healthy in any way! Sometimes when he comes home from school and tells me he had donuts or cupcakes for a snack I do cringe a little but hey, you're only four once. Enjoy it! -Jeanne

  4. Seriously. Let them eat a little cake. Who cares? I feed them healthy stuff at home, so I don't care if they get junk now and then when they're out. We ate much worse stuff as kids and came out fine. I'm serving forked eyeballs for my kids' mad scientist parties at school: white chocolate dipped donut holes with choc. chip irises and red frosting bloodshot veins all over them. mmmm mmmmm good.