Today is Halloween. Most years we would have spent the last few weeks assembling costumes, decorating the house, attending parties, making cupcakes and cookies, and all sorts of various Halloween festivities. This year that wasn't happening. We had a home full of guests, school work coming out my ears, and the month just slipped right by...
Yesterday I woke up in a panic - I was going to have ruined Halloween for the boys. My lack of planning was going to leave them with lame costumes and nothing fun to do in them. Ack! So much for celebrating our time together, right? They were going to go to school Monday and hear about all the parties and scavenger hunts and corn mazes that they didn't get to do. And it was all my fault.
So, I did what any mom with a strong love of the internet would do. I began searching for local activities we could do all weekend. I found a million ideas - "Howloween" at the zoo, costume parades in neighborhoods across town, face painting at the library, and even cake decorating at the grocery store. But as I read each idea, the stress began to rise. My mind filled with visions of crowds of less-than-well behaved grownups, overtired children, confrontations with more sugar than we would allow in a year, and a mom and dad who really didn't want to do any of it.
And it hit me. We are trying to SIMPLIFY. I was looking for ways we could keep up with what other families were doing, but at the same time I don't want to be those families. This was the perfect year to stick to our goal and keep our lives balanced. We were going trick-or-treating. That was it. That's all.
You know? It's enough. Instead of all the Halloween activites, we were greeted with a beautiful sunny day. We cleaned out the garden, raked leaves, and danced to the theme from Ghostbusters too many times. The big one and I planted tulip and narcissus bulbs - an October goal that I had almost given up on for the year. We gathered costumes from the dress up box that boys are excited to wear and cost us nothing. After nap we will read Halloween stories, then go visit grandparents. Mummy hot dogs followed by trick or treating in our neighborhood, and we will be home in time for bed.
When I look at it all that way, I'm thrilled with how we are celebrating this holiday. It reflects our values - not purchasing things that we don't need (especially single use items), eating junk food in extremely limited quantities, spending as much time as possible outside, and sharing special times with people we love. We aren't stressed out fighting crowds, and our boys are able to spend the day being their better selves.
And maybe, just maybe, if I write this all down now, this holiday simplification will carry over into the next few months of Thanksgiving, a birthday, Christmas, and New Years. How can we bring balance to those times as well? Because tomorrow I won't be thinking about all the things we "missed out on". I'll be remembering the great time we had.