30 years ago, Halloween was one of the highest points of a child’s year. Right up there with Christmas morning, Easter egg hunts, and birthday parties. The excitement of picking out a costume, the thrill of running around the neighbourhood with siblings and friends, collecting obscene amounts of treats, and the days – even weeks – worth of candy, chocolate, and chips to enjoy. I remember being Pippi Longstocking, a parrot, and a rabbit. My mother was the kind of person who would allow us to choose whatever costume we could think of, then she’d make it come to life during the weeks leading up to Halloween. That’s a tradition I’ve enjoyed carrying on with my own children.
These days, it seems things aren’t so cut and dry. More and more people are forgoing the tradition of door-to-door treat gathering, choosing instead to have All Saints parties, trunk-or-treat parties, or just skipping the night all together.
I’m not sure exactly when or how things got so complicated, but they have. There are issues with food allergies and sensitivities that prevent children from being able to eat any of their Halloween spoils. There are fears that a holiday of Christian origins has been taken over by too much darkness and gore. There is a general mistrust of what some kids (perhaps with eggs and TP in their backpacks) might be up to on October 31st.
Frankly, I understand all of the concerns. We try to shelter our children from many things, including a lot of the spookiness that goes along with Halloween. We don’t eat wheat and we try to limit refined sugar, so treat-consumption is somewhat challenging as well. But when it comes down to it, the decision we’ve made is based on one major point: trick or treating is just so much fun.
It’s simply kind of magical. It’s one of those nights when kids can really just be kids. It’s crazy, being allowed to accept candy from strangers. It’s uninhibited. It’s playful. We steer our kids away from houses that are decorated to look creepy or ghoulish, and stick to ones with friendly jack-o-lanterns. We certainly don’t allow costumes that are in any way dark or gory, but stick to ones that are fun and imaginative. (Last year we had a farmer, a bunny, and a carrot.) Tonight I think my kids were only out for about 35 minutes before they’d filled their (small) bags and had all the excitement they could handle. It was more than enough! (Really, more than enough. In fact just a few days ago Princess threw out the remains of last year’s Halloween haul.)
The bottom line is this: I completely respect whatever decision people make for their own families, whether it’s similar to ours or completely the opposite. Send your kids out! Keep them home! Have a party! Whatever fits within your comfort zone is what is right for your family. Our decision may evolve over the years if our needs or circumstances change, but for now Halloween is all treat.
1) I am in over my head, folks. Granted, I am a fairly short person, but right now my to-do list is longer than I am tall. I’ve got a killer combination of baby showers, Halloween costumes, birthday presents, Thanksgiving dinners… The first thing I do when I start to get overwhelmed is make lists. I make a lot of lists. And always, always, the first list I make, is a list of all the other lists I need to make. Crazy, right? The first list is always something like, “Groceries to buy. Crafts I need to finish. Chores that need to get done.” And so on. Then I get into the details of each individual list. (Please tell me I’m not the only one who does this!)
2) Anybody else have attention deficit issues when it comes to crafts? I’ve been making hats, bookmarks, baby shoes, capes, masks, and Halloween costumes. I bought some of these for some tiny embroidery. And I’ve been painting. I just need to learn to sit down and finish one project before I find something new and awesome to start.
3) I love Halloween costumes. My kids only go to about a dozen houses for trick or treating, but I love letting the kids pick what they want to be, and working on making their ideas come to life. This year we’ll have an Elsa, a robot, a pink poodle, and a bumblebee. We have a history of bugs for first Halloweens. It’s all about those antennae.
4) It’s almost (Canadian) Thanksgiving! We will have the pleasure of enjoying two turkey dinners this year. I’m cooking one dinner, but supplying desserts for both. Help me decide? Apple crisp, pumpkin pie with gingersnap cookie crust, lemon tart, apple pie cinnamon rolls, or something else. I need at least two. Oh, and did I mention I can’t eat grains, dairy, soy, or eggs?
5) After seven months of extraordinary sleep-deprivation, Pooter decided to start sleeping through the night last week. Six nights in a row of seven to twelve hour stretches. And then, just when he’d lulled me into a false sense of security, he’s been back to his old tricks for the last two nights. For a while there, I was drinking coffee because I liked it, but not because I needed it. I cling to the hope, however, that since he’s proven he can do it, he will go back to doing it sooner than later.
You know what’s lovely? When your in-laws invite you over for a Sunday supper. You know what’s even lovelier? When they suggest you drop the kids off early and go out with your husband for a while before said supper. *Delightful* (I just happen to have some of the nicest in-laws in the whole world, by the way.) Normally we’d just leave the three “big kids” and take Pooter with us, but they suggested we leave him, so we had a rare time out completely kid-free.
I really did intend to get a picture of me actually wearing this outfit, but our afternoon got too busy. And way too fun.
Black dress and nude tank top, Old Navy
Nursing necklace, here
First we stopped at Starbucks, for a little “free splurge” – my husband the teacher gets lots of gift cards from his students at Christmas. Then, knowing we needed to get new running shoes for Princess, we went into the shoe store next door. There we saw a pair she would absolutely love – black and purple and sparkly. Oooooh! But for $54.99? Just not in the budget right now!
We went to our favourite thrift store on the other side of the parking lot. First we dropped off two garbage bags full of donations. (Doesn’t it feel good to purge?!) Then we blitzed the store. We didn’t have much time to hunt, but we did well. For under $40 (well under the price of one pair of brand new running shoes for a six-year-old), this was our haul:
The big ticket item was a Mexx dress shirt for my husband (for $12.99). We also grabbed three books for Christmas gifts, the much-needed running shoes for Princess, Osh Kosh dressy boots for Princess (the faux-fur lining is incredibly soft! She was thrilled with them.), and Columbia boots for me.
Great deals, a lovely afternoon with my number one guy, and a delicious family dinner. Good day all around!
When Jenna shared her experience with miscarriage here nearly a year ago, I was eager to follow her post with one of my own, based on my own experience with miscarriages. But at the time I was pregnant, and my previous pregnancy had ended in miscarriage. When I sat down to write, I found it made me too anxious to try to share my thoughts and decided I’d rather wait until after my baby was born. Now that Pooter is six months old, here are my thoughts.
I remember having moments of crippling fear, back in high school, that I would one day get married and discover I was unable to have children. I don’t know where that fear came from, but it was very real and very upsetting. When my first pregnancy ended in an early miscarriage, I felt like that fear was being realized. I felt that I had somehow failed in one of my most basic roles as a woman – that of child-bearer. My body had failed, and my baby had died. I blamed myself. Many years, one more miscarriage, and four healthy children later, I have come a long way and learned a few things I’d like to share with you.
For those who have experienced (or will one day experience) miscarriage:
There is no right or wrong way to feel. Some people are able to take it in stride, while others need to go through a grieving process. You are not callous if you feel okay about it, and you are not weak if it brings you to tears to think about it even months or years later.
People don’t know how to talk about miscarriage, and as a result you may receive some insensitive comments. Try really hard to be patient and understand that it’s unlikely someone is trying to make you feel worse by saying, “There was probably something wrong with it anyway.” or, “You can always try again.”
Take as much or as little time as you need to process what happened. If your experience was particularly difficult physically (if you had to have medical intervention, for instance), be sure to rest and recover.
Name your baby, if you’d like. After both of our miscarriages my husband and I felt certain of the baby’s gender, and we chose to name them Sophia and Thomas.
You may find some comfort in finding a way to remember your baby, whether it’s planting something in your garden in their honour, wearing a special piece of jewelry, marking their due date each year, etc. We say grace together every evening, and at the end we give thanks for each member of our family by name, and we include the names of our miscarried babies to show our other children that they are still part of our family.
If someone in your life experiences a miscarriage:
Tell them you’re sorry for their loss. Do not use the words “little loss”. While the baby may have been physically small, the loss itself is not.
If you know them well enough, you can ask if they would like to talk about it.
But let them talk. Don’t feel like you need to say anything. There is nothing you can say that will make them feel differently, so you don’t need to try.
You can also ask if they need anything, particularly any practical support. Especially if they have other children to care for, they may really appreciate a bit of babysitting, a load of laundry being put in, etc. When I had my first miscarriage, hardly anyone even knew that I was pregnant. But one of my friends who new I was miscarrying showed up at my home with cheeseburgers, salad, and chocolate. I will never forget that gesture of love and support. (As a general rule of thumb, in times of grief a gift of food is always a thoughtful thing.)
In a culture that so openly accepts abortion, it’s sometimes hard to talk about the loss of a pre-born baby as a loss that needs to be grieved. It’s sort of invisible, especially when so many miscarriages take place before the parents have shared their pregnancy with the world. Mothers are often left feeling uncertain of how to feel, or how to cope. We are accustomed to mourning the loss of people we’ve had the pleasure to know and spend time with, but a miscarriage is the loss of someone we had yet to meet – and yet still loved deeply.
I don’t know what your personal beliefs are, dear reader, but I will tell you mine: I truly believe that each lost baby is now in Heaven, I believe they are grateful for the parents who loved enough to bring them into existence, and I believe that they rejoice with the Father for all eternity. And I live with the hope of one day being reunited with my Sophia and my Thomas.
Wow! It’s been awhile. How’ve you been?
That’s great to hear.
Us? Oh, you know. Same old. Trips, new babies, school days, pantry challenges, the magic and hilarity of the everyday.
Mama Might was born out of a desire to share the mutual experience of motherhood, but it turns out that motherhood is a lot of work! So much work, that we’ve found ourselves with little time to write. We wanted this to be a place where we talk about what’s real, and the reality is that we’re all in this same busy season of our lives. So why not talk about that?
Watch this space for regular glimpses into our lives: what we wore (No designer labels here!), what we ate (Who loves a food budget? We do!), and who we are (…evolving?).
Speaking of evolution, we’d like to introduce you to our newest Mama Might co-author, Katie! We can’t wait for you to get to know her.
Thanks for stopping by! You’re welcome here anytime.