The Ghosts of Halloween’s Past by Mama One to Three
In the Northeast, October is just about when we get a big season change. The days are shorter, dimmer, and perfectly gloomy. The nights are clear. Halloween is timed well to celebrate both the unfamiliar cool fall weather and anticipate the cozy upcoming days of winter.
As I thought about Halloweens with my children, I realized that with three kids–the oldest having just turned 5–the years have sort of melted together. Like that weird taffy we got as kids in our trick-or-treat bags.
My oldest, Molly, was a year old the September we found out we were pregnant with twins. By the end of October, my horrendous morning sickness was peaking. I had been planning on bringing Molly trick-or-treating around the neighborhood, dressing her as a gold-medal gymnast (we are big fans of the winter Olympics), and then ending up at a local party with all our toddler friends.
Eventually, that day, I stopped throwing up long enough to bring her outside in the stroller for a walk around the block as it turned almost completely dark.
THE NEXT HALLOWEEN, our twins were infants, and Molly was just 2. My husband was home, it was raining, and we hadn’t slept in six months. Through our sleepy haze, we dressed each of them in anything we could find in the apartment that resembled an animal–mouse, cow, rabbit, cat…whatever. Do you have grey or black clothing and a sock to pin on as a tail? Then you have a kid’s Halloween costume, I’ve learned.
We got the kids outside–double stroller, walking toy, diaper bag, diapers, more diapers, wipes, bottle cooler, pacifiers, water bottle, hats, umbrellas, blankets, and our dog–went to the playground for five minutes before it down poured, took a picture, and headed home. Success.
By 2010, we had it under control. Halloween would be easy with one child in preschool and two barely walkers. And it was indeed a festival of cuteness–thought-out costumes with accessories, treat bags, a plan. Until we went to the school party where a spookily decorated hallway scared my children into tears that lasted all day.
THIS PAST YEAR, my oldest was 4, and the twins were just 2.5 years old in October. We figured we’d try it all again with our now-walking, talking, and eager-to-party little ones. And yes, the same spooky hallway did us in.
It was already cold, and the air smelled of burning leaves as we took the kids on a hayride in our New York City neighborhood. They admired the horses and the costumes. They knew it was a special night because we were out late and they got candy before, during, and after dinner.
I see the differences in my children from year to year, while they hide themselves in our day-to-day lives. One day we were measuring their first rice cereal and wrangling them into baby carriers–the next we are watching them on a soccer field. I only noticed they outgrew their baby clothes, bibs and onesies when I stopped long enough to sweep the matchbox cars under the bed.
This year, my girls picked out their Halloween outfits–and their brother’s. The princess dresses and shark costume have been delivered. They are ordered in sizes that surprise me. The kids are looking forward to wearing them to Halloween parties, and they play “monster” regularly, happily scaring each other.
These photos from each Halloween show me something I already know well. While each year, I see our familiar, funny, hysterical, helpless, mischievous, loving, babies in the photographs, their faces change to show me entirely different people from one year to the next.
Wendy writes about raising her three kids in New York City using humor, gratitude, and honesty on her blog Mama One to Three.