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So You're a Mom of a Teen on Halloween...

There’s something spookily sad about being a mom of teens on Halloween. It happens so suddenly! By thirteen, they don’t need you to assemble their costume; they just want your credit card to order it on Amazon. They make their own plans for Halloween night – maybe trick or treating, or a hangout or party at a friend’s house. There’s no invitation to come to school to watch the students parade around. (Though, on the plus side for working moms, no more trying to fly out of the office mid-afternoon to arrive in the nick of time.)

Sometimes, all you get is to see your teen’s candy haul at the end of the night. OK; I’ll take that. But you’re neither here nor there. You can’t relive your youth, except for maybe sorting through that candy haul and hoping for a mini $100,000 bar so you can taste the eighties again.

When my kids were toddlers and grade schoolers, I often encouraged them to dress up as things I fondly recalled, like a clown! Or a bucket of Kentucky Fried Chicken (I won second place in the park district costume contest for that one – thanks, Mom)! But they had other ideas. Most years, they just wanted to dress up as football players. Guess what they are today, in real life at 13 and 17? They are football players.

I got a real charge out of being part of their school Halloween parties, even though I wasn’t one of those crafty moms and was often assigned to the art project station or room decorating committee. I tried, and struggled, but I had fun. I was caught up in the holiday magic I remembered so fondly from my grade school years.

When my kids were young, we went to the pumpkin farm. I dreaded schlepping out there. Now I’d do anything to take them back – and be patient. As they got a bit older, our pumpkin purchases simplified – the nearby grocery store or neighborhood roadside market would do. We did our best to carve them. I never did work that battery-powered electric carving knife well, but I tried. I had fun. Again, part of the Halloween spirit.

That spirit has floated away now, like the ghosts of Halloweens past. My boys are 13 and 17. I don’t even know what they’re doing for Halloween tomorrow night yet. Maybe my younger one will need a ride. Nobody has talked to me about a costume. Nobody needs my presence at a school party or trick or treating caravan.

It’s over. But there was something…I finally remembered, 24 hours out, that I had a box of Halloween yard decorations in the basement somewhere. I dug it out, alone, but excited. I arranged everything along our path and porch. I was proud of myself, and happy, looking at it after. Maybe Halloween is one of those things we must remake and redefine for ourselves as our kids get older. As we get older. Their childhood years and mine may be long gone, but the Halloween spirit lives on somehow, at least in a little way.

Some interesting tidbits from the Crest OnePoll Halloween survey:

  • The average candy-snatching parent devours a fourth of their child’s total Halloween haul!

  • Four in 10 adults say they enjoy the holiday even more now than when they were a child.

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