How To Halloween In 2019

IMG_7456

Halloween.

When I was a kid, Halloween was a day that I looked forward to every year. I mean, what other day could be more catered to children than a day you get to imagine you’re anything you want to be and every house you visit gives you free candy? One day of absolute kid heaven.

Growing up in the 80’s and early 90’s Halloween was exactly that: one day of kid heaven. We would decorate our house and carve pumpkins some time leading up to the big day, and we’d go through our dress-up box to pick out our costumes, but that was about it. There was not a lot of prep work or parental stress involved in the day (Other than, perhaps, the fact that my mom had to pick up a bag of Tootsie Pops when she was at the store buying herself Tab.). These were simpler times before Pinterest and Instagram and the mass-commercialization of just about everything.

Not so now. No, today in 2019 Halloween is a different beast altogether. If you have a child in 2019, your Halloween timeline probably looks something like this:

July 5, 2019
Begin your Halloween costume shopping at Costco. If you aren’t ready to make a costume commitment by the day after the 4th of July, you risk having your kid’s favorite character and/or size completely sold out by the time school starts in the fall.

August 2019
Begin the prep work for your Halloween decorations. You should pin ideas from Pinterest boards that will really make your house stand out on the block. You’ll need a couple of months to gather the supplies and craft your beach ball googly eyes (to hang in your trees) and life-size spiders made out of styrofoam and weather-resistant papier-mâché (to cover every facade of your house).

September 2019
Return the superhero costume you bought at Costco two months ago. Now that school has started your kid’s friends have introduced him to some new video game and he wants to be an obscure character from the Nether world. After a quick search on Amazon you find the newly-desired costume (for three times the price of the Costco one, thankyouverymuch). Thanks to Amazon Prime, the costume can be delivered tomorrow by a somewhat sketchy guy who will show up in your driveway in an unmarked car when you’re home alone.

October 2019
Visit at least one pumpkin patch each weekend during the month of October. These farms are only open for a short window of time, and you must get the requisite fun out of them while they’re available. Dig deep to smile when it costs over $100 to take your family to look at gourds in the mud. It will all be worth it, though, when you get photos of your children in a wheelbarrow full of pumpkins (#mylilpunkins) and eat your body weight in apple cider donuts.

October 5, 2019
Your daughter has decided to be a VSCO Girl for Halloween. You  have no idea what this is so you Google the term. Every search result is just a photo of you and your friends in middle school. Thank goodness Amazon Prime also delivers hair scrunchies and Fjallraven-Kanken backpacks.

October 12, 2019
Go shopping for trick-or-treat supplies before the stores replace all of the Halloween candy with candy canes and gingerbread houses. Buy enough candy to fill the entire trunk of your car–you don’t want to be that house that runs out of candy halfway through the big night. Make sure your chocolates are fair trade and your gummies are organic and dye-free. Also buy allergy-free trinkets for your teal pumpkin and teen-appropriate gifts for the teens who may or may not come to your house because they still want to enjoy a bit more of their childhood (aka free candy).

October 19, 2019 
Pumpkin carving! Spend a few hours researching pumpkin designs online. Print off your desired templates and affix to your pumpkin. Break out your specialized carving kit containing intricate tools of the trade. Also make sure your Dremel Tool is available for additional artistic edge. Sharpies and steak knives are so 1993.

October 26, 2019
Attend the Fall Family Festival at your husband’s work. Marvel at how quickly your children can consume an entire plastic pumpkin’s worth of candy on the car ride home.

October 27, 2019
Attend your community trunk-or-treat Halloween pre-funk. Your children now have approximately 50 pounds of candy each, and we’re still half a week away from the main event.

October 28, 2019
Open up your NextDoor app so you can plot the best trick or treating route. Luckily there is a special Halloween feature where your neighbors have already indicated with icons whether they will be offering trick-or-treat incentives such as full size candy bars, a haunted house, or booze for the parents.

October 30, 2019
Your son rips his costume in half because he’s been wearing it non-stop since he got it over a month ago. Stay up until 2 am sewing the pieces back together.

October 31, 2019
Halloween Day!
Wake up at 5:30AM so you can make your traditional pumpkin pancakes and hot chocolate breakfast.
Get your kids dressed in their costumes so you can take pictures before school and post them to your social media accounts.
Arrive at school 30 minutes early so you can help decorate the classroom for the Halloween party.
Rush home after school starts so you can change into your costume (no weapons or masks) and get back to school in time for the party.
Drop off your toddler with your neighbor’s mother because all of your friends who usually help watch your kids are also at school for the Halloween party.
Get to school just in time for the first party. Enjoy watching first graders decorate “cookies” covered in an entire jar of frosting and bajillions of sprinkles.
As soon as the first class party is done, rush across the hall to your other kid’s party. Marvel at how many video game characters from the Nether world exist in the third grade.
After the party, rush home and pick up your toddler from the sitter so you can rush back to school to pick up the older kids after school.
Get home from school and try to force feed your children something with nutritional content before the next deluge of sugar.
Double check that your flashlights have working batteries. Realize that none of your flashlights have working batteries, so call your husband and have him pick up some extra batteries on his way home from work (which is taking approximately 4 hours anyway, because every other parent is also rushing home from work right now).
Attempt to bundle up your children for trick-or-treating because you live in Washington which means the weather on Halloween will either be A) cold, dark and rainy or B) freaking freezing cold (This was also the case in Washington during the late-80’s. Some things just never change.). Your children will have none of this bundling up business because the coats you’re asking them to wear cover up important details of their costumes. They say things like, “Dragons don’t wear rain coats.” and “Elsa doesn’t get cold because of her magical powers.” and “Kung Fu masters don’t wear shoes.” 100% of your children reject 100% of the weather protection you offer. May the odds be ever in their favor.
Spend the next 1-2 hours wandering your neighborhood in the dark while your children complain that their candy bags are too heavy and they are too cold.
Get home from trick-or-treating and allow your children to empty their candy loot and indulge in their every gluttonous tendency.
Finally wrangle the over-tired, over-sugared children to bed an hour past bedtime.
Print off a certificate of achievement for yourself because you have survived Halloween 2019.

Happy Halloween, friends! May it be a day you’ll always remember.

Pinterest V. Reality

About a year ago–when I was spending about 8 hours a day sitting in a chair nursing my newborn–I discovered the addictive internet time-suck called Pinterest. For those of you who have managed to evade the world of Pinterest and pins and pinners and all that is “pinteresting”, let me fill you in.

Pinterest is a website where you basically create virtual bulletin boards of images from the internet. Each “board” is a collection of ideas and inspirations that you create and share with others on the website. You might have one board full of cooking ideas, another with birthday party ideas, another with fashion tips, and so on.

When I last checked, I had over 20 different boards chock-full of amazing ideas. Ideas that, last time I checked, have pretty much all remained at the “I should try that some time” stage. Because, you see, Pinterest is not reality.

I like the idea of beautiful organization and creative DIY projects and over-the-top parties. But I can’t do that stuff. Pinterest is beautiful and clean and well-planned–real life, though, tends to be more chaotic and dirty and thrown-together. Here are a few examples of how my real life compares to the magical world of Pinterest.

Pinterest: Cute little bins for each day of the week to entertain your child during quiet time. Each bin is full of interesting activities that will captivate even the most restless of preschoolers. 6bc6827a1ce63bc452626ccfe913ef39 Reality: About two weeks ago David gave up his naps. Cold turkey. He’d always taken a 2-3 hour snooze in the afternoon and then, out of the blue, he just quit taking naps one day–and he hasn’t looked back. So now we have “quiet time”–time where he is supposed to retreat to his room and rest or play quietly for half an hour so I can prep dinner or watch YouTube videos in peace. I have discovered, however, that the quieter he is during his quiet time, the more trouble he’s getting in to. Case in point: IMG_2862 Moral of the story: the only thing worse than a noisy 3-year old boy is a quiet 3-year old boy.

Pinterest: Cute, hip, trendy, fashionable. This is how I should look. f7e92c834559481edbeb1a1aec3aa0f5 Reality: My baby would smash bananas on the cute shirt, my 3-year old would break the shiny glasses, I’d trip in the ooh-la-la shoes, and the bag would be full of diapers and spit-up rags. My mommy uniform of choice consists of black yoga pants, a technical shirt and my fuzzy Ugg-inspired slippers. If you ever see me looking even remotely cute or hip or fashionable, you know I’m just putting on a show for you. photo

Pinterest: An immaculately organized closet for baby. Everything is sorted by size and color and adorableness.d418b4dee37c29c8dab3b20c4ec6b922

Reality: We recently moved into a smaller space (and, by smaller, I mean that Jacob literally sleeps in a closet now). We have to make the space work for us. And, by work for us, I mean we have stuff crammed into every nook and cranny we can find. Jacob’s closet consists of his jackets, boxes for the too-big/too-small baby clothes, a laundry basket full of diapers and wipes, more diapers piled up the sides of the closet, a Pac-N-Play on the floor, and luggage piled up to the ceiling. Hey, it works.

photo (5)

Pinterest: Dazzle your child with this rainbow-layered sprinkle cake. 2013-06-20-6341922529_877ef3437e_o Reality: I made a sprinkle cake, too: chocolate cake mix from a box, topped with sprinkles. IMG_3060 …and within about 2 seconds, it looked like this: IMG_3066 I bet mine was just as yummy, though!

Pinterest: Look at this cute way to organize all of your child’s art and craft supplies. Cute, cute, cute. Perfect little jars arranged on a shelf. Notice how each jar contains exactly one type of supply. Notice also how all of the crayons are in one piece with their wrappers on, the markers all have lids, and the chalk is unused. 85a85f7d2bf5d923ae05494459b02fb1 Reality: We have a large Rubbermaid bin that I stash under a bench in our kitchen. Into this bin we stuff all of our crayons, paint, markers, Play-doh and stickers and we pull it out any time we feel like getting crafty. And, just so you know, half of the markers are lid-less and all of the crayons are in tiny, broken shards. photo (3)

Pinterest: A DIY family rules sign. Charming. All you have to do is go out to the woods, chop down a tree, plane the wood until you have a smooth working surface, prime the wood, paint the wood, apply a second coat of paint, create text stencils on your Cricut, adhere the text with a glossy varnish, “weather” the wood with sandpaper, and drink a glass of wine to reward your hard work.24x48_wood_house-rules-2

Reality: I bought this sign on Etsy. It took me less than two minutes to select the product, enter my credit card info, and hit “submit order”. I still drank a glass of wine to celebrate a job well done.

photo (4)

So, Pinterest: I love you. I hate you. You inspire me, you guilt-ify me. In the end, though, you really just entertain me. I know that I can never live up to your unrealistic expectations, and that’s fine by me. I’m just gonna keep on going the best way I know how–and it’s gonna be messy, and unorganized, and frumpy. It’s gonna be real.