The One Halloween Decision Designed to Make Moms Nuts

Halloween costumes

In July they both wanted to be Indiana Jones. Next my oldest wanted to be Steve from Minecraft and my youngest wanted to be "something small and cute and furry." In August we watched Raiders of the Lost Ark and they were absolutely convinced they wanted to be Indiana Jones, at least until we watched Men in Black and they wanted to be, well, men in black. Then my oldest said wait, he wanted to be Hiccup from How to Train Your Dragon, while my youngest began wavering between a Minecraft creeper and "something big and scary and scaly."

You guys, say it with me: Halloween-costume-related kid indecisiveness is the WORST. Cheezits, take the wheel.


Maybe you are the kind of mom who can whip out the sewing machine and put together an amazing homemade costume on October 30, but I am most definitely NOT that kind of mom. I can barely sew a button back on a shirt, and that's only if you give me like 45 minutes to squint at the needle and repeatedly lick the thread. I'm also not the kind of mom who's willing to scour the stores during the last couple days before Halloween night because Junior made the last-minute decision that he wants to be Rocket Raccoon from Guardians of the Galaxy instead of Emmet from The Lego Movie. Oh hell no, that is some serious bullshit right there.

This is the first year I realized I need to create some ground rules about Halloween costumes. My kids need to 1) give me enough lead time to find/assemble their costume, 2) not expect that I will magically Martha Stewart together some sort of amazing concoction that I can later sell for $200 on Etsy, and 3) commit to their choice, because if they experience a change of heart in the final hour ...

I asked my mom friends on Twitter if it sounded reasonable to give my kids Halloween costume deadlines, and most folks said they did something similar with their own families:  

Definitely! This is the only way I maintain sanity about Halloween costumes.  Otherwise the dithering will last until it's too late. -- @ryenerman

Yes. I also have a Do Not Discuss Until deadline of 10/1 so I don't have to listen to costume discussions in August. -- @cheriebeyond

Absolutely. Mine have an October 1st deadline. Then I can procrastinate! -- @mrafiki19

I intend to force them to choose and buy this weekend. No scramble please. -- @jibbertwit

Whew. I mean, I don’t necessarily need reassurance that I’m not deploying a draconian, uncommon parenting strategy, but it’s nice to have it all the time.

The problem is their ages, I think. They’re well past the years when I could simply decide for them (I don’t miss much about taking care of babies, but I’m not sure any Halloween experience can top the year I dressed my child like a lobster and carried him around in a cooking pot), yet they’re young enough to be fickle about their choices. I get it, I really do — when you only have one day out of the year when costumes are not only allowed but actively encouraged and rewarded with bags of tooth-rotting candy, you want to get it right — but my sympathies only extend so far.

This year, I put my foot down: they had to settle on their costume decisions early enough for me to Amazon one-click my way to being free of my parental obligations without any inventory SNAFUs or shipping delays. “Are you positive,” I said, hovering over the BUY button. “This is your last chance, guys.” Sure enough, after the purchase was made, my 6-year-old thought maybe Harry Potter would actually be cooler than a Ghostbuster. But by then I only had one response:

Do you have to enforce Halloween costume deadlines in your house?

Image via stevendepolo/Flickr

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