Tales from the Halloween Grinch: A Mom Who Can’t Even Halloween

pexels-photo-112352Each year, it seems like stores everywhere unveil their Halloween displays earlier and earlier. Up go Costco’s princess and superhero costumes in August. Down the aisles of Target are rows of overpriced, fun-sized candies in September. School has hardly started before some very together mom-friends of mine have Halloween costumes planned, coordinated, and laid neatly at the top of the closet, just waiting for their spooky debut. What is this world?

When I was pregnant with my first child, I couldn’t wait to get my hands on some adorable baby costumes. I delighted in the thought of my own squishy monkey, elephant, or some other kind of cuddly creature. I looked forward to my children growing older and jumping around excitedly as he declared his costumes each year. Halloween was such a magical time for me as a kid, but how much more so as the mother who gets to make the magic? False.

Kids make Halloween hard. Making the magic for our little people takes work, thanks to the following components.


Unless your child is a newborn and essentially sleeping the day away, babies are not big fans of being in costume. Babies who live in Texas are especially irritated by the warm, snug material that makes them want to bust out of said costume like tiny Hulks. We don’t have the cool fall weather around these parts to make them comfortable enough.

Being a first-time mom, I was a tad over-zealous and bought two costumes for my little victim. As a result, we had one very cooked chicken being propped up among the pumpkins of Hall’s Farm in Colleyville for pictures. We had to peel the yellow padding off of my four-month old and rush him out of the 90-degree heat. This incident, however, felt like a success compared to attempting the Dallas Zoo’s Rhino Run a couple of weeks later. This time, I had a deliciously cute dragon strapped into a jogging stroller for what I thought would be a nice family run on a fall morning. In actuality, my dragon screamed so intensely and so often that I stopped enough to be the last runner on the course. And instead of the race going through the zoo, we found ourselves schlepping the streets of Dallas around the zoo in 90-degree heat. My dragon would have none of it. The race officials were forced to retrieve us as they picked up the orange street cones. Babies are not concerned with the magic of Halloween.

Scared Dragon
My son, the dragon, who helped teach me that putting babies in costume is really the worst.

Costume Changes

Young kids tend to be incredibly indecisive when it comes to Halloween costumes. Can you blame them? A night when you get to be anything your heart desires! Exhausting each and every idea is crucial to executing the perfect costume, says the child. You might buy what you think is the costume from Costco. You take it home where it meets the approval of your Halloweener, only to hear a few days later the previously accepted costume has been DENIED. Tough stuff, friend! This scenario could occur several more times, much to the dismay of your sanity. For example, my three-year old daughter told me this summer she would be nothing for Halloween if she couldn’t be a carrot. A carrot! (When I asked her what she’d like to be if I couldn’t find a carrot — ’cause this sister surely ain’t the costume-making type gal — her reply was,”It’s fine. Then I’ll just be celery.”)

Sweet mercy. Where is the hidden camera? For the past few weeks, she has decreed that she’d rather be “Dark Vadar,” but only the girl kind. And believe you me, this is not the kid who will shrug her shoulders and put on whatever you tell her. There could be a battle of epic proportions come Halloween night if I don’t meet her costume criteria. (Cue scary music.)

Coordinating Family Costumes

I see them all over Pinterest, and they flood my Facebook newsfeed in October. How do families manage to creatively and resourcefully put together these family-wide costume themes? One word: Mom. You know Mom is gathering materials, sizing her little ones, and threatening Dad to get into the spirit. I, myself, have always been a walking Halloween fail. I put off buying myself a costume (remember, no crafty bones in this body) and usually resort to borrowing one. I’m the cow at the party who is desperately batting people away from her udders. (I wish I were kidding; I really do.) The time it takes to outfit the children in non-hot, kid-approved Halloween-ware might still be easier than finding a costume that Mom and Dad will actually put on. And make sure they all go with the theme! Really? I can assure you that this Halloween Grinch’s free time is going towards more useful things like naps and trips to the Halloween candy aisle at Target to get mamma a little something-something.

Speaking of candy, it’s time to spit some truth. From the kids’ perspective, Halloween end-game is candy. Not a huge revelation. They may or may not remember what costumes they wore from year to year, but they will always remember the houses on the street that gave the full-size candy bars. Our children, with vault-like memories, will recall the people who insisted on passing out toothbrushes and those who left out bowls of candy for them to raid like tiny vikings.

Why fight it? On Halloween, I will join forces with my little people and help them score as much candy as their little bags can hold. I may not be a whiz at on the crafting front, but I will let them dive into their loot and swim through their piles of Tootsie Rolls like Scrooge McDuck. I can promise you, perfect costumes or not, I will be the Halloween Magic-Maker on that night . . . until the sugar crash kicks in.

Ashley is from Hurst, and though she’s flown the nest a few times now, she always seems to boomerang right back to her hometown. Her latest stint took her family to Chicago for the last four years. While Ashley, her husband of almost 16 years, her son and daughter loved life as honorary Midwesterners, Texas called, and it was time to answer. Though her children are in upper elementary school, Ashley found her groove as a stay-at-home mom and is not eager to give up the title quite yet. You can find her putting in the miles all over town with her “doggy clients” as a Rover walker and caregiver. (Dogs talk back less than children.) Ashley is often the loudest mom at the ball fields but comes in peace with the best snacks. She recharges with a run around Hurst, a ride on that stationary bike everyone’s talking about, or on a patio with a margarita and her very funny husband. Ashley has written for local mom groups, church and is a returning writer for Fort Worth Moms. Her husband hopes she will stick to more pieces on motherhood and less on disappointing stays at grimy hotels.


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