My Halloween Decorations and Why I Paid Full Retail

My first ever Halloween decoration

I just went out and bought a whole bunch of Halloween decorations for our front yard.

Why now, you say?

If you’re asking why, on October 30, would I go to Target and pay full retail when we all know that come November 1, all Halloween products will go on sale, well, it’s because I needed some Halloween decorations NOW.  Selections were already slim at the store, and I just couldn’t wait, because Halloween is, um, tomorrow.

If this doesn't scare you, I don't know what will...

Why didn’t I buy these things on November 1 a year ago, you say?  I know — I’m asking the same question.

If you’re asking why, now that our kids are 12 and 14 and have pretty much figured out that Santa is not real and that tooth fairies pay more for molars, would I be decorating our front yard with Halloween trinkets as if they were still 2 and 4, well…that’s more complicated.

This is the first time in years that I’m actually going to be home on October 31.  Each year, I seemed to be singing for children at some Halloween- or Harvest-event or another, and I was always busy leading up to the performance.  I thought a bowl of candy and a functioning porch light was enough to get Halloween rolling. Thanks, honey, for taking the kids around our neighborhood.

I know Halloween has lost much of its luster for our kids.  It used to be the most wonderful night of the year (next to Christmas, of course), and we planned for weeks on their costumes.  Every year, we obliged and ended up spending way too much for a store-bought costumes that are made cheaply and which every other kid on the block also had:  Ariel, Woody, Cinderella, train conductor, Harry Potter, Jasmine, astronaut, mermaid — we’ve done them all.

This year, my 12-year old daughter is dressing up as a makeup artist.  What a stretch.  The only “costume” I had to order this year was a makeup brush belt, mail ordered for only $19.99 from  Actually, she was a hit at last week’s Halloween party at youth group and won Best Costume.

Josh, my 14-year old, is not sure yet what he is going to dress up as.  He’s into the British TV show Dr. Who right now, so he might try that route.  Just put on dad’s sport coat.  Whatever it is, he better decide soon, because his voice is about to change and I think you are disqualified as a trick-or-treater once you start sounding like a man.  This is probably his last opportunity.

This baby sings "Thriller" next to our fog machine.

So maybe that’s why I got all the Halloween decorations.  Maybe I know that childhood is nearing the end at our home, and I’m trying to slow down that process.  I’m hanging onto whatever childhood is left and trying to make up for lost time — you know, the times I was out working on Halloween night instead of walking around the neighborhood with my own children.

I’m hanging onto the notion that I’ll be able to use the same Halloween decorations again next year.  I’ll also go back to Target and catch a few more items on sale on November 1.  But then I’ll probably get tempted to purchase the cute Christmas decorations, ignoring the full retail price tag just because I’ll want to hang onto the magic of Christmas this year.

Ah, motherhood.

Halloween shopping…in May.

It’s mid-May.  It’s almost Memorial Day.  Soon, you can start wearing white.  It’s also time to start thinking about your kids’ Halloween costumes for next October!

Too early, you say?  Well, consider this: you’ll have to a) either custom make your costumes or b) purchase them at retail stores or online at places for kids’ Halloween costumes.  Either way you’ll want to get a head start on it.  If your kids are as picky as mine, you will need a lot of time to prepare for this fall event, whether trick-or-treating in the neighborhood or attending the many Harvest Festival-like events at churches and community centers around town.

Last year, I got really ambitious and actually made their costumes.  I don’t know what got into me, but I went and invested in a sewing machine!  Meg wanted a unique costume, so we went to JoAnne’s and found a McCall’s pattern for a mermaid costume, bought fabric, and got down to work.

I hadn’t sewn since high school.  The last outfit I sewed was my prom dress.  It was a pretty yellow wrap dress, one-of-a-kind.  I was making good headway and was just sewing up the final seam along the length of the entire dress, when I proudly held up my couture outfit.  I was horrified to discover that I had actually sewn the skirt I was wearing right onto my new dress!  Time to bring out the seam ripper.

My mermaid costume was not quite as disastrous, but I did have to utilize the seam ripper a couple of times.  This is how it turned out:

I was still on a roll, so I went on to sew this number for Josh without a pattern.   Yes, you heard me right: Freehand!  My son showed me a character from “Adventure Time,” and I made my own pattern on newsprint, just like my mom used to do when I was growing up.  Actually, this photo shows my second attempt at Josh’s costume, as the first attempt was…a “practice run.”  Good thing I had purchased extra fabric.

Unless you are temporarily crazy like I was last fall, you will want to spare yourself the hassle and go right to a costume store.  There are lots of them nearby, many temporarily utilizing vacant store spaces in strip malls in town.  You will need to cover your kids’ eyes as you walk past the “adult” costumes section, though.  “Mommy, why is the nurse’s costume so short?” “What’s that whip for?”  Ummmm…

If you want to avoid retail stores altogether, it is so easy to go online and find costumes.  Check out online Halloween costume stores where they have a bigger selections of costumes than you can possibly find at retail stores.  Order during the summer so they don’t run out of your favorites (as I once found out the hard way on a particular mid-October afternoon)!  Be the first on the block to get the most popular costumes.  The best thing is that they deliver right to your door.  What mom would turn that down?

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