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Julie Bowen Is Not Into Halloween as Much as Claire Dunphy Is

Photograph by Getty Images

If you've seen one Halloween episode of Emmy-winning TV series "Modern Family," you know Julie Bowen's character Claire is in it to win it—in a big way.

Not so in real life.

"I can't stand it!" Bowen tells mom.me about holiday horror. "I don’t understand the blood, the gore. I don’t get any of that."

Despite her qualms about the Halloween madness, the 44-year-old mom of three revealed that she is going as Captain Underpants this year. As for her sons—7-year-old Oliver and 5-year-old twins John and Gustav? Well, the actress and Neutrogena spokeswoman gave us the inside scoop on that parenting dilemma, as well as her mom-friendly beauty essentials and her 10-year marriage to software developer Scott Phillips.

What are your boys going to be for Halloween?

Creepers. "Minecraft" is very big in my house. I’ve got two creepers and … it’s unclear. (My oldest son) has an Abe Lincoln and a phantom. He wanted to go as Dead Abe Lincoln, and I had to explain why that might not be that great. He’s like, “Mom, I can be Abe Lincoln—but dead.”

I’m selfish—I don’t want (my kids) getting scared because that comes back at me at 2 a.m. when they’re not sleeping.

"Modern Family" goes all out for Halloween. Is there anything you can reveal about that episode?

Phil (played by Ty Burrell) wants to have a really yippy-skippy Halloween. It’s awesome, and he calls it "Awesomeland" in our front yard, and it’s like butterflies and rainbows, and Claire wants to keep it gritty and disgusting and gross to compete with the seriously white-trash neighbors that we have. They are so funny. We have a scene where we face off with the neighbors. It was one of those scenes where we just laughed and laughed and laughed, because it’s Steve Zahn, so it's deeply funny.

And by the way, they call themselves "white trash." That was not me. No judgment. I love everybody.

MORE: Julie Bowen Gets Real About Her Son's Life-Threatening Allergies

What are some mom-friendly beauty secrets for those who don't have access to makeup artists?

And who does? I have access to makeup artists and hairdressers and all those things when I go to work, but when I’m getting up and dashing out the door and leaving bowls of oatmeal in the sink to come home to later, which is the worst idea—I could build a house out of oatmeal, by the way—it has to be fast. You’ve got to cut down to the things that matter. I don’t have time for things that are smelly and that’s it or things that are just silly or extra. I need something that moisturizes. I need the retinol because you’ve got to get the age spots and the sun spots and the wrinkles to go away—that’s what the retinol does—and you need sunscreen.

Noticed on your Twitter account that "Orange Is the New Black" and "Transparent" are among your favorite TV shows, besides "Modern Family." What else is must-watch TV in your house?

The kids—you know, they’re boys—so they like things that explode. They watch a show called “Chowder.” I couldn’t tell you what channel it’s on. It was so funny, I was giggling so hard. It’s ridiculously funny. I try to keep screen time sort of limited, and pre-screen stuff. Luckily, they’ll watch "The Lego Movie," which is the greatest thing ever, but they’ll watch it a thousand times, and I know there’s not a scary, weird, inappropriate thing that’s going to suddenly happen in the middle. I’m selfish—I don’t want them getting scared because that comes back at me at 2 a.m. when they’re not sleeping.

You recently celebrated 10 years with your husband. Do you use Dunphy "alter ego" strategy for keeping things interesting? No! If my husband and I won the lottery, we would probably both put the lottery ticket in an envelope and not discuss it. We don’t want to look at things like that. We’ve been married for 10 years—that’s a monumental achievement—we’re not going to examine that too closely.

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