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I used to love Halloween. I loved the Halloween decorations, the mystery, the chill in the evening air. It was the one time of year that my mom allowed me to dress up. It was the early '80s and we all had those flammable plastic costumes with the face masks — the kind that came in cardboard boxes and were sold in drugstores. I must have been Tinkerbell three years in a row. I can't remember if I kept buying the same costume or if my mother recycled it; most likely the latter. Either way, my mother still painted my face. I wore pink blush, red lipstick and black eyeliner. Sometimes my mother even put glitter in my hair. Then my mother would take me, my brother and a few friends trick-or-treating to all the stores up and down the block. Sometimes we even stopped by a few houses on the way back home.
As I got older, Halloween evolved into something else: a big party, an event to plan for, and a contest of who had the sexiest costume. Halloween became just another day rather than something to look forward to. It became the thing other people did because I had lost interest in dressing up.
And as much as love Star Wars, Disney and all things comic-inspired, I could totally bypass Halloween. It seemed silly to put so much time, money and thought into just one day. I didn't bother decorating because I didn't want to invite trick-or-treaters.
Then I became a mom.
Before motherhood, Halloween was optional. But the moment I became a mom, Halloween became mandatory.
For my son's first Halloween, I didn't buy a costume. I thought it was a waste of money. Norrin was just learning to walk, couldn't speak yet, and he didn't even know what Halloween was. Why would I dress him up and parade him around town asking for candy he couldn't eat?
Speaking of candy, I have a hard time going door to door asking for candy. Funny thing is, as a kid it never bothered me. And now I feel I could just buy my kid the candy he really likes. (Or the candy I really like because let's be real: at the end of the night, I'm the one eating it.)
As a working mom, Halloween just adds another layer of stress. For the last few years, I've lucked out because it's fallen on a weekday. It never made sense for me to take a day off of work to take him trick-or-treating, especially when he celebrated in school. Some years it's a mad rush to get home, get him dressed and out the door. And I'm usually that mom, scrambling around the stores the week before Halloween to buy a costume.
Most years we celebrate by watching our favorite Halloween cartoon and calling it a night. And I never feel guilty about it since we do other Halloween activities (like visiting the zoo, special attraction or an amusement park) throughout the month.
This year, Halloween falls on a Saturday night. So the pressure to dress up and celebrate has increased. This year there are no excuses. My husband (who loves Halloween) has a Halloween weekend extravaganza planned.
So I will buy a costume (because I am not crafty enough to make one) and go out with my guys. I may even dress up to make my son and husband happy. We'll make jack-o-lanterns and decorate the apartment. As much as I don't want to celebrate Halloween, I will, but only because I remember how much I liked it when I was my son's age.