Making Halloween a Family Affair

By: Shauna Armitage

The leaves begin to change and the weather turns chilly. My brother and I would take the boxes out of the attic and decorate our home’s front windows with plump orange stick-ons, each customized to look like a different kind of jack-o-lantern. We would rummage through our old clothing, our parent’s old clothing and our imaginations for the perfect outfit and play endless games of dress up until we got it just right. As day became night, the eerie outdoor lights came on all over the neighborhood and children gleefully took to the streets with their empty pillow cases and hearts full of excitement.

Halloween used to be one of the most exciting events of the year—when I was a child. The ambiance of the holiday begins to fade away as we each grow up and become adults, but when we become parents, we get the chance to relive all that excitement once again—if we let ourselves indulge in the season.

The year that my son turned three, he was obsessed with Spiderman. He had Spiderman everything—books, toothbrushes, sunglasses, blankets
—so it was only natural that he wanted to be Spiderman for Halloween that year too. I wanted to make his costume like I had the year before,
but I just wasn’t up for the task so grudgingly, I went to the store and purchased one instead. His joy was unparalleled, and he asked my husband and I to dress up with him for his preschool Halloween party.

Adult costumes are expensive, and I wasn’t really that into the idea, but he persisted, so after sending him off to preschool in the morning, we got to work. I found a bunch of old clothes that I put together to create a Ninja Turtle outfit; I completed the ensemble with a shell that I fashioned out of a piece of cardboard and some black acrylic paint. That paint came in handy later when I needed to draw Hulk’s abs on my husband’s t-shirt.

We certainly were the only adults dressed up at the party that afternoon, and I felt kind of silly at first—but when my son saw us that all melted away. He grabbed my husband’s big Hulk hands and dragged us from friend to friend, showing everyone in the room how cool is parents were.

Halloween is fun for kids because everything they do and see sets off a spark of imagination and wonder. Adults loose this as they age, but this holiday season is the perfect time to regain your spirit. If you are lucky enough to have children, don’t just make them sweets and walk behind them as they collect their bounty on All Hallow’s Eve, get in on the action. Cuddle up on the couch with some popcorn and watch scary movies together. Pick your favorite healthy snacks and find a way to turn them into ghouls and goblins. What did you want to be when you were little? What’s your favorite movie character? Buy or make yourself a costume, and have fun with it!

For many years my husband and I didn’t get to fully enjoy this holiday because we were too busy being grown-ups. This fall we are expecting baby #2, and it has opened our eyes to a myriad of possibilities. We can be Anakin and Padme, our son can be Luke Skywalker and we can push around baby Yoda in the stroller. Or maybe we’ll all make our own cardboard cars and go as Mario Kart characters. Now that there are four of us, we could be the complete set of Ninja Turtles. Whatever the final decision is, we all love Halloween because the spirit of the holiday is something we enjoy together.