Why, do you ask, am I writing about Halloween in the middle of November? The short answer is because I live in New Jersey. The long answer is because two freak storms over the past two years have caused Halloween to last longer than Christmas. For New Jersey residents, November is the new October. The new marathon duration of the season is one of the main reasons I no longer like this holiday. At all.
Hurricane Sandy wiped out power to most of NJ for about two weeks. It hit on October 29, which meant most of us were in crisis management mode on October 31.
Since most of us learned how much we hated Halloween in November from last year’s snow storm, we organized a Halloween Trunk or Treat in a nearby parking lot. The roads were still too unsafe with downed trees, electrical lines, and telephone poles blocking the way from dark house to dark house.
Hundreds of cars came to the Trunk of Treat event, parked and open their trunks. The kids arrived in costume for trick-or-treating and walked from car to car collecting goodies instead of from house to house. In a matter of one hour, each child had a full bucket of treats and most trunks were closed from running out of candy. It was a beautiful thing.
The best thing about the whole process, in my opinion, was the conversation between moms at almost every car. Looking over the heads of the costumed kids, we made eye contact and asked each other, “This is it, right? No more trick-or-treating in November? Today is Halloween and then we’re done, right?”
Despite Governor Christie’s proclamation, we all agreed that we were done that night. So, when our town got power back on Saturday, November 10th and announced that trick-or-treating would happen then, I convinced my family to leave the house for a shopping trip so we wouldn’t risk a crazed Mommy screaming at people ringing our doorbell. I was so over Halloween on Saturday, that I yelled to no one in particular, but in full earshot of innocent children and parents, “Halloween was WEEKS ago! It’s OVER!! We have no candy! Don’t even think about ringing my doorbell!!!”
And so I became known as the crazy lady of the house on the corner.
At the time, I just thought my rage was over the ridiculousness of this holiday that I never truly loved anyway, and the fact that it was dragging on forever. In hindsight, however, it probably was due in part to the fact that our beloved family pet, a black cat named Pooh, had also died that Saturday morning after a long illness.
To the rest of the neighborhood though, I was just plain crazy.
Thinking I was finally out of the Halloween woods and we could embark on a regular week with electricity, heat, and school back in session, I breathed a sigh of relief and got the kids ready for school. As I pulled into the parking lot of my daughter’s preschool, I puzzled at the unusually full parking lot. After I managed to get her out of the car and walked her into the building, a dawning of realization was followed by a wave of fresh anger and nausea. Today, Monday November 12, was the rescheduled day of the preschool Halloween parade.
I apologized to the teachers and whisked my daughter away, back to our house to find the black cat costume and get her dressed, all the while muttering under my breath of the ridiculousness of it all. Back to the school we went, and I trudged up to the room, trying to calm myself down enough to take pictures and enjoy this farce. Seeing the group of 4-year-olds dressed in costume went a long way to improve my mood and I smiled and laughed as they sang their cute Halloween songs.
When it was my daughter’s turn for her “runway walk” in her cat costume, I got my camera ready. She walked up to her teacher who asked what she was dressed as so she could announce it to the room. My daughter, made-up with a pink nose and whiskers pranced up to her teacher and loudly exclaimed,
Equal parts sad, shocked, and choking back laughter, I simply shook my head and snapped pictures. Afterward, I explained to her teachers and any nearby parents that her choice of Halloween costume wasn’t really morbid on Halloween.
Later that day, as I washed the whiskers off her face and packed her costume back into the dress-up chest in the playroom, I decided to simply own my Scrooge. I am over this holiday of costumes and candy. Even if they move Halloween to October first in future years to try to avoid another natural disaster, I will still grumble.
Bring on Fall, pumpkins, football and all of October’s other offerings, but don’t expect me to get excited over this holiday.
Bah! and Humbug! I hate Halloween.