Halloween: Aka Welcome to Hell
A Solo Mom’s worst nightmare
Halloween has to be the worst holiday of the year for a Solo Mom, with Valentine’s Day, New Year’s Eve, and your birthday each coming in a close second.
Although those runner-up days may cause you to obsess over not having a partner in love, Halloween not only magnifies your singleness (Dawn of the Dead = Dawn of the Date) but also involves you being a “good parent” as well.
Seriously, when did Halloween become the biggest social event of the year?
Did I miss something? When did it replace July Fourth as our national holiday, eclipse every religious holiday on the books, and surpass Thanksgiving as the day for gathering friends and family? When did Halloween become the night to propose to your love, the day to measure friendships based on who would dress up with you, and the Academy Awards of one-upmanship in the categories of home set design, makeup, and costuming?
And while we’re at it, when did Halloween become adults only?
Is it asking too much to find an appropriate nurse or fireman costume for my kids to wear trick-or-treating (as well as to the inevitable five-hour costume parade we must endure at their schools)? Clearly, it is! Because nowadays, I can find only Sexy Raggedy Ann, Hot 50s Waitress, or Gangsta-Policeman-Pimp, along with hundreds of other sexually themed costumes—with the actual kids’ costumes, all five of them, relegated to last year’s clearance bin and available only in extra small or XXX large. Oh, wait, that XXX is the Bootilicious Barbie costume that got shelved in the wrong place.
This means that on top of everything, we Solo Moms have to somehow make our children’s costumes or race around buying what it takes to pull together something that won’t get our kids teased out of third grade. After all, we already feel guilty enough that they don’t have a two-parent family.
(A special shout-out to my own children for requesting “chick hatching from an egg” and “stop-motion animated painted woman from the Gotye/Kimbra video” costumes last year. Very compassionate of them.)
And another thing: What the F are we celebrating anyhow?
Back in the Middle Ages, when I was a youngster, Halloween was a minor holiday where children would dress up and go door to door saying, “trick or treat,” whereupon they received a piece of candy or, if late in the evening, some spare change, and if you were in a “nice” neighborhood or at the one big house on the street, a toothbrush and full-sized Abba-Zaba. The hippies or earthy families would give you apples, which your parents wouldn’t let you eat because they could have razor blades or drugs inside.
Nowadays, with our obsession on all things PC, we aren’t even allowed to call it Halloween. It’s too controversial, though I’m not sure why. My son’s school celebrates Day of the Dead while my daughter’s has a Harvest Festival. My friend’s kids have Zozobra and another’s the nifty Spirit Parade. It’s all become too confusing and mind spinning, and it’s all your fault, Charlie Brown! You introduced that freaking Great Pumpkin way back when, and nobody has gotten it right ever since.
But the worst part of Halloween has to be the night itself.
We suffered the rigors of costume making, class parties, school festivals, parades, street fairs, pumpkin-patch visits, hayrides, pumpkin carving (along with the requisite party), as well as last-minute seed baking and the frantic trip to Target to buy candy. (And, damn, all the good stuff is gone, so we are stuck with a party assortment of suckers and gumballs, which are certain to land in our garden or chucked at our kid’s head at school.)
And now we have to suffer through actual, real Halloween!
What this entails for me is more than 2,000 strangers (yes, I’m lucky enough to live on a “destination” street) trampling my lawn and garden to get to my front door, which never closes, whereupon they demand candy—hundreds of dollars worth of candy. Along with this comes our personal guests: friends and family, and families of friends, including mistresses and masseuses and their children, who also bring friends and family and want dinner . . . and wine . . . and, oh wait, that’s me drinking the wine.
The upside to all this is the interesting array of characters this scenario has produced in my home over the years: the crazy configurations of guests, known and unknown, who have shared baked ziti and broken bread in my tiny living room, in my tiny house, on my crazy street.
One year, in the midst of the 50 people congregating and conversing whilst the remaining 1,950 of humanity wandered my street, I took a moment to assess the situation. I not only spied the dude from Gray’s Anatomy and George Thorogood, but also Shelley Fabares and the goofball with the little top hat dressed up like Slash. Oh, wait—that is Slash. (Yes, this is 100% true!)
Nevertheless, in the midst of the chaos and all my pity-party grumps and gripes, I must remember that at the end of the day, and the night, the best part of Halloween, which trumps all the bad parts and turns my nightmare into a treasured dream, is tucking my littles into bed after all is said and done. Smiles on their faces, sticky fingers, sugar-sweet breath, content, full of stories and cherished memories of another truly remarkable Halloween.
Yes, I said Halloween.
Kathleen Laccinole, ESME’s Dating Resource Guide, has penned numerous films and parenting books but is best known for producing the highly lauded Greta, age 20, and William, age 16.
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