Until I had kids, the last time I remember enjoying Halloween was in college, when I dressed up as Mia Wallace from Pulp Fiction. If you're doing the math, that was sometime around 1996 and, yes, I'm old. You'll have to take my word for it that I was a dead ringer for Uma Thurman, because back in the Paleolithic era we didn't have camera phones with which to record every single second of our young and wild lives. It's entirely possible that my enjoyment of that particular Halloween may have had something to do with the copious amounts of cocaine I snorted (not method acting, just youth), but sometime after 1996 the celebration of All Hallows' Eve ceased to be fun.
Was it the proliferation of slutty nurse costumes? The over-the-top Hollywood ensembles created with the help of professional makeup, hair, and styling teams? (I live in Los Angeles -- trust me, this is a thing.) Or, the saddest reason of all, simply the fact that I'm older and no longer able to keep up with the free-flowing booze and booger sugar?
My pre-children self may have spent one too many Halloween nights sitting in a darkened living room eating fun-size Snickers bars, but motherhood has saved me from becoming a Halloween Scrooge. My kids love Halloween with a passion matched only by my love for a glass of rosé at the end of the day.
We've been listening to Halloween music since sometime in March, and any moment not spent singing along to Spooky Spooky has been used to discuss costume ideas. Here's the thing: When you see Halloween through the eyes of your children, it's practically impossible not to share their excitement.
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As I helped my kids decorate our house -- with a giant spider web and scary bats -- I found myself participating in their anticipation of that oh-so-magical night when one gets to dress up and ask neighbors for candy. We've been practicing how to trick-or-treat the last few days, and there is nothing cuter than opening a door to your two little kids shouting, "Twick or tweat!"
That exercise alone was enough to melt my vampire heart.
This is the big secret of parenthood -- that you get an opportunity for a second chance at your own childhood. Much like my own children, I loved Halloween as a kid. I, too, spent months planning my costume and couldn't wait for October to arrive so that we could put up all of the paper skeletons and pumpkins I'd carefully crafted at school.
Even as a teenager I recall dressing up and trick-or-treating long past the acceptable age because I was loath to give that up. Yet I lost the joy in the ensuing years, put off by the pressure to attend the coolest party and wear the sluttiest nurse costume or the most authentic Cersei Lannister getup.
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This year, I'm looking forward to carving a few pumpkins, taking my little princess and dinosaur around the neighborhood, and enjoying some of fun-size candy bars from the comfort of my bed after my kids go to sleep at 8 p.m.
The coolest party I'll be attending is the one at my son's preschool; there won't be any booze or cocaine, but I'm pretty sure I'm going to have an awesome time anyway. I may even dig out that Mia Wallace costume just for old time's sake.
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