I’ve always been a Halloween girl. My birthday is Oct. 28, so I guess that’s not a surprise. I couldn’t wait to dress up and trick or treat as a kid. I never missed “It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown” and could even recite more than a few of the lines. Now, as a 45-year-old mom, I love to experience all the ghoulish glories of my favorite holiday vicariously through my children.
Or at least I used to.
I made their costumes by hand (well, I did one year anyway). I covered my shrubs in cobwebs and planted tombstones and skulls in my flowerbeds. Mummies, skeletons and giant spiders welcomed visitors on our porch. The living room looked as if Frankenstein had vomited pumpkins, ghosts and witches all over it. Not a spot in the house went undecorated. Halloween was everywhere.
But this year was different.
I only dug out one bin of decorations from the basement (I have at least five). The porch featured three Pottery Barn-esque clay jack-o’-lanterns and a tasteful copper skeleton. I left the cobwebs to nature, and Frankenstein never even made it out of the crawlspace.
It’s hard to feel, well, Halloween-y when your kids reach the tween and teen years. They want to trick or treat alone or at least at a distance. First you are relegated to the end of the block; eventually you aren’t even asked to tag along.
This year my 13-year-old wandered the neighborhood with his horde of fellow hoodlums, I mean, teenagers. My 11-year-old trick-or-treated and partied with her best friend’s family. And my husband and I stayed at home to hand out candy.
I have to admit that I was more than a little bummed to be left out of the holiday revelry. I wore my hot pink skull T-shirt. I stocked my cauldron with fun-size chocolate bars. But I just wasn’t feeling it.
Until 15 teenage girls and boys descended upon our house.
Don’t worry. They were invited. My husband and I skipped the Halloween fun this year so our son could host an after-party. Chaperoning is far less exciting than partying, but it was a great group of kids and we didn’t have any problems. The kids exchanged candy and ate pizza. I think there may even have been a game of Truth or Dare in the basement. But of course I can’t be certain because I never, ever spied on them.
Who am I kidding? Of course I did a little spying. I was thrilled to overhear more than one of the kids say they had a great time, and someone actually told my son his parents were cool.
It was a very different Halloween this year. It wasn’t all about me. In fact, it wasn’t at all about me. But my teenager and his friends had an awesome night.
You know what, Charlie Brown? I’ll take that rock.