Fall Sunday: Confessions From A Halloween Curmudgeon

Fall Sunday: Confessions From A Halloween Curmudgeon

There are people who love Halloween and people who don’t. I don’t love Halloween.

costumes party

My dream Halloween would be spent camping and mountain biking in a tutu on the White Rim Trail in the Canyonlands with a group of friends and their kids. However, since my kids are nine and six, in their prime of the innocent and cute Halloween years, for now it I am forced to embrace Halloween — haunted house, candy, pumpkins, costumes, plastic fangs, and all.

Adding to the factors influencing my forced Halloween commitment is my youngest daughter’s birthday – October 24th — the perfect opportunity for a mom, who loved Halloween, to throw the most amazing Halloween-themed birthday. This mom would shop at Jo-Anne fabrics, make homemade costumes, carve pumpkins, and bake pumpkin-themed cookies. I’ve never been to a Jo-Anne fabrics. I am not that mom.

Mollie Pumpkin

Instead, I got on the Internet earlier this year than ever before, searching for a pre-made penguin costume for the youngest and a sock monkey costume for the oldest. I hemmed and hawed about the price of the latter and mentioned that we could easily make such a costume. My eldest is a type A planner and began planning the steps immediately.

“Okay mom,” she started. “Then we have to go to Montrose, go to that shop that sells the different fabrics…” and then she thought for a little and added, “then will you sew it or glue gun it?” She thought a little further, “We don’t have a glue gun, do we? And, what about the tail?”

I smiled at her, immediately fetched my credit card, and promptly ordered both costumes, successfully avoiding a visit to Jo-Anne Fabrics once again.

Costumes, check. Next step: the Halloween-themed birthday party.

costumes girls

Luckily the Placerville firemen were hosting their annual haunted house on October 24th. Instant birthday. I would take four six-year olds, dressed adorably as a “happy” penguin, a witch, the smallest Chewbacca you’ve ever seen, and a princess. But as soon as we stepped in line, I knew this may have been a huge mistake: I should have stuck to doughnut eating, apple bobbing, and a piñata.

The fifth graders in front of us began discussing what lay ahead.

“I heard you have nightmares for three weeks after,” one said.

“Yeah,” another helpfully chimed in, “and this year, it is even scarier than last year.”


I walked through with our six-year old crew and another dad as the kids smashed their heads into our chests and wrapped their foreboding bodies around our legs. The little witch lost her crown rounding the first turn and the crying began then spread like falling dominoes. We walked through the dark corridors, around the bends with dead zombies lying in the corners and down the halls with fog arising from the ground amongst gravestones. The birthday goers cried the entire way.

Walking back to the car, a passerby asked, “Did you like it?” 

My daughter, the formerly crying happy penguin cheerfully answered, “Yeah! I cried through the whole thing.”

Phew. No permanent damage done. We continued through the Halloween traditions.

We went to the ski ranches to trick or treat. Dads loaded up trailers with kids and the caravan of vehicles holding goblins, Harry Potters, zombie cheerleaders, and cute little animals, weaved up and down the mountainous road, stopping as children clambered out to run from house to house for free candy. After, they sorted and counted the candy, rated the value of each asset. Dots, Milk Duds, and a homemade candy apple were deemed most valuable.

Me, in a tutu. Which is not me.

Me, in a tutu. Which is not me.

And with that, Halloween was over. Gone as quickly as it came, already replaced in retail stores with turkey-themed décor and leaving me exactly one year to plan my White Rim trip.

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