Don't freak out; I'm not a Scrooge about trick-or-treating. I never pass out raisins, so please don't egg my house. But what really rattles my bones are the hordes of Halloween decorations that Target wants me to buy.
It's enough of a nuisance to store our red and green Christmas tubs 11 months out of the year. If there's one thing I've learned in adulthood, it's that there's no good place to store an artificial Christmas tree (except Grandma's house).
So I'm pretty sure there isn't any room in my imaginary storage room for plastic pumpkin lights. But even if I wanted to go all Munster Family on my front lawn, how much is reasonable for a family to spend on Halloween anyway?
We have chosen not to buy Target's 31-piece graveyard kit, and Halloween is still expensive. Our family usually prioritizes by putting our Halloween dollars towards pumpkins, candy and costumes.
Costumes present the biggest challenge.
There are three pirate outfits and four princess dresses on our playroom floor already. That's not stopping my kids from drooling over every new "Costume Express" catalog that comes in the mail almost daily. The Ebenezer in me tosses those magazines straight in the trash.
If I was the Ghost of Halloween Past, however, I'd tell you that Jenny Williams' favorite part of Halloween was a different new costume ever year. A younger me would assure you that there is no such thing as too many ball gowns or hoop skirts.
The Ghost of Halloween Present would tell you that Jennifer Bardsley has given her children a miserly costume budget. Twenty bucks each; take it or leave it. That will barely pay for a new Jedi light saber!
Now is when things get spooky. What does the Ghost of Halloween Future have to say? Will the Bardsley kids grow up to become the neighbors with a complete haunted house in their driveway?
I can see my daughter now standing next to a headless scarecrow. She's a 30-year-old Goth princess passing out caramel apples to kids.
"My mom was a real witch," she's reminiscing. "Mom made me wear the same costume two years in a row!"
Oh, the horror!
My 34-year-old son is wearing a movie quality Batman suit, complete with the grappling hook I refused to buy him when he was 7.
Guess what? That grappling hook really does work, and he's rapelling off the side of his house just to prove me wrong.
Goodie for me though, because I've just answered my own question. The way to say "Bah, humbug" in Halloween is: "Boo hoo."
Cry me a river, kids. Recycle a costume or invent a new one from what you already own. Let's go buy some candy.
Jennifer Bardsley is an Edmonds mom of two and blogs at teachingmybabytoread.blog.com.
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