I know Halloween is over and we are already on to Christmas and that in between holiday known as Thanksgiving. So, why am I still going on about Halloween? Well, I learned a lot about how driven I am as a mom to make perfect memories at every holiday. And by perfect I mean making my family look like everyone else’s. As in going to all the same parties and activities. Navigating the social scene as a parent is way different for me than it was for my parents. I wrote this the weekend before Halloween when the pressure was high to get in on all of the festivities at once.

My how times have changed since I was a kid. We got dressed up for one party in a costume that my mom made from things we found around the house, and we hit one neighborhood for candy. We got what we got and we liked it. We didn’t complain! Not even when we were forced to pick up a penny with a fork (some adults idea of a good time on Halloween). Now it seems there are parties everywhere from church parking lots, to your local library to main street businesses. It is almost overwhelming to choose the perfect party to attend so that you don’t miss out on the fun. I’m an adult with a full case of FOMO (fear of missing out). I can only imagine how the hoopla at every holiday makes a kid feel! I don’t want to be the only one not posting my pics of free swag, or fun stuff we picked up at some party. I don’t want to be the only parent sitting on the sideline from having a fun filled day and making warm, perfect memories for us to rummage through in ten years. But I am.

Our weekend plans did not happen; mostly because they were only MY plans. No matter how much fun I threw at my kids this weekend they were not having it. One kid wanted to go to the pumpkin patch, the other kid didn’t and neither kid wanted to walk in a parade. My kids hate crowds and really noisy places. All of the fun things required us to join a mass of strangers and make things, or dress in a costume to ask for candy. I thought these all sounded like great ways to participate in Halloween. No one in my family felt the same way. And honestly, it felt a little soul sucking. I am not much of a homebody. I like to be home now and then to relax from the hustle and bustle of being social. I love the feeling of being out of the house all day enjoying time with friends, being outside and enjoying new experiences. But that is not how my kids are hardwired, and frankly neither is my husband.

Very early in the day on Saturday I became completely frustrated and about to throw in the towel on having a fun weekend making memories when my kids totally surprised me. One kid pulled out a bag of Halloween crafts we had yet to finish, while my other kid asked her dad to cue up the Halloween play list. Then a kid suggested,” why don’t we make some goody bags for our friends and teachers at school? We definitely have enough of these crafts to share! “And so the project began. When I looked up from my stickers and pom-poms I could see my kids rockin’ out and jamming along to the Munster’s them song, jumping up to dance to Thriller and completely enjoying themselves. This is their element- being at home.

By Sunday I gave up on getting us out of the house to participate in festivities. I left to go grocery shopping and returned to a fully decorated house, “they insisted” my husband reported. There were all their favorite hand print pumpkins hanging about and they hung the Halloween garland I completely forgot about. As I unloaded the groceries my daughter asked me if we could make an apple pie with the apples still left from her school apple picking trip. “Sure,” I said.

Again someone cranked up the Halloween tunes and we got to rockin’ in the kitchen, all of us together as a family. It was literally like a scene from a movie depicting an exaggerated picture of family togetherness. My daughter was singing into her wooden spoon in between stirring, my other daughter was busting out some dance moves on the spot, while I hummed away at peeling the apples. My husband dutifully played his part as the bumbling dad trying to make everyone laugh with his (not so) cool moves. It was … perfect. It wasn’t what everyone else was doing that weekend. But it was what we were doing… together. And when everyone is trading their cookie cutter weekend stories, we’ll be sharing memories that are uniquely our own.

How do you let go of the feelings of missing out on special things during the holidays?


The Whatever Mom is a twin mom learning to let go of perfection. She shares her real life struggles with parenting through her blog and contributes her time and talents as a writer to Hudson Valley Parent and Masshole Mommy. When she isn’t writing you can find her chugging coffee, folding laundry and not judging other parents. Don’t forget to subscribe via email so you never miss a blog post again! You can also find her work featured on Mamapedia 


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33 Comments on The Let Down of A Not So Perfect Halloween

  1. We don’t really miss out on much. My youngest is very much into the festive spirit of every holiday, and always makes sure that we participate in everything possible. However, when my oldest daughter was an only child, she didn’t want to do much, and I had to learn just to let go.

  2. Halloween can be kind of hard and hectic honestly. Between my daughter’s dye allergy and the kids’ costumes not being up to what they wanted, the kids running off, it’s just a lot! Sometimes a little goes along way!

  3. We do a lot of stuff. We like going out and being part of the crowd. However, we also like staying home and doing stuff there. I think it is all about what you and your family need. You did a great job recognizing it and not pushing your agenda. That’s what a great mom does!

  4. I have tried to keep the expectations low for my kids. NOt to be a party pooper but things have changed each year and I never know if I can really keep things up.

    • That’s so true about keeping up. Not just with other people, but ourselves. If we set the standard too high out of the starting gates we are in for some major work the rest of our lives! lol

  5. I’m not that into Halloween so I let go of the FOMO feeling long ago. I loved it as a kid but as a grown up, it’s not my thing. It is hard to plan for the holidays. We all want to make it perfect and enjoy every activity, but sometimes things don’t work out and that is okay.

  6. We had a crazy Halloween here due to a wind storm that caused a massive power outage in our community! Luckily, the kids still got to go to a party and have fun though!!

  7. Real confession…. we have not made it to a pumpkin patch in 3 years :/ I always feel like I’m robbing my kids of some crazy memories, but really I don’t think it actually matters that we got our pumpkin from publix instead lol

  8. When I was younger I was so into Halloween and I honestly couldnt wait until I was older so that I could throw these awesome, themed dinner parties with the themed food and everyone dressing up think a mixture of what you see on magazines and the episode of friends when they all dressed up. Then life hits you and you realize it might not happen.

  9. Sometimes a kid gets sick or life just happens and plans don’t work out as you imagined. Finding a way to make the best of it and enjoy time with you family can create more vivid memories than a fancy party or planned event can!

  10. Now, what you actually ended up doing sounds perfect to me – but I’m wired the way your kids are! I’d much rather skip the crowds and have a blast at home!

    It’s tough, though, when you are your kids don’t see eye to eye on this – hard to avoid someone being frustrated. I’m glad you were able to relax and see what they were doing (and hope you had some fun, too!)

  11. I always set low expectations. That might sound sad and even a little lonely but when I don’t believe it’s all going to be amazing, it ends up turning out to be just that – regardless of how it really went.

  12. We live in India where the concept of Halloween kind of doesnt exist but the world is a melting pot and all that and we now see a lot of Halloween stuff going around. So I am sure my time will come soon. But I am so impressed to read about how your kids took the initiative and did something fun at home. Thats the sign of a real good holiday.

  13. I think this concept is so important during this time of year. It rings true for Halloween like you said, thanksgiving, even Christmas. It won’t always be perfect. Sometimes there’s drama and arguments when family gets together. We shouldn’t build up our hopes and expectations and just let it roll and let it go.

  14. I felt like I was reading something I had written about my family! It is so hard to have things not go as planned and then get over that disappointment. Holidays are especially hard because we build them up in our heads so much!

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