Approximately 31 days ago, I opened a blank Google doc and prepped work on some Halloween content ideas. The season felt fresh and I was jazzed on pumping out some spooky stuff.
I had plans for writing about the new Halloween, perfectly topical TV, and even did research for a new video. Plus, we had another podcast episode in the mix.
Like most scary-minded folk, I was looking for Halloween inklings in August. As always, that crafty Michaels store came through with early hauntings, but it seemed like every other main player was biding its time. Come mid-September, our own Target – TARGET! – was still dragging its heels in the dirt with their Hide and Eek display. And the hold back was getting to me. After all, the month of Halloween was soon approaching and I needed to be prepared for full enjoyment.
And in rolled October….
To be fair, the month of October is always busy – usually with pumpkin patch plans, pre-set movie schedules, and the like. And 2018 was no exception as all weekends were jammed. (We even planned an adults-only mini vacation to see friends!)
But then real life interjected and threw a few good wrenches in my frightened direction. My work schedule got wild as several staff members resigned (including not one, but two office BFFs). My key content creation time (i.e. lunch breaks) transitioned into working more. Not to mention, office turmoil and depression kicked into high gear.
Right after the first weekend, I got sick. But seeing as time was tight, I shook it off as a cold and held out, waiting for my sniffles to pass. Three weeks of party girl/Peter Brady voice and a wretched sore throat later, I finally went to a doc-in-a-box and was promptly prescribed antibiotics, steroids, and cough meds. (Kids, take care of yourselves!)
In the midst of my own illness, while I was at an after-hours office event, our 13-year-old Boston terrier, Marla, went to the emergency vet with Johnny. One hefty bill later, we learned that Marla has an enlarged heart. After additional vet visits, it was also discovered that she has a tumor in her heart. As I write this, Marla is still with us*, but she’s on a decent amount of medicine to keep things regulated and comfortable for her. And that’s all we can do.
Large black clouds loomed over me this October. And they’re still lurking as we see this month out. But that being said, we still found time to decorate the house; enjoy a weekend with great friends; take the kids out for seasonal events; watch a few specials; and visit a pumpkin patch… even though two of our pumpkins fittingly rotted shortly thereafter.
So, here we are. October 31. While the days of leisurely marathoning movies and devouring pumpkin flips are over, today is filled sunup to sundown. And perhaps a perfect Halloween day can salvage a lost season. At least for this girl.
We all can agree that weekday Halloweens kind of suck. Especially when it’s a Wednesday, right?
Work is up first – and it happens to be the last day for one of those office BFFs. But the sendoff should be sweet as we’re having a Halloween potluck! So, costume on body and cocktail meatballs in hand, the spirit is present, The Office-style. Plus, I get to leave early….
…to attend my youngest’s (last) Halloween parade at preschool! It’s as cute as it sounds. From babies to pre-K, the kiddos shyly stroll/walk the length of the school as proud parents watch on, cooing and snapping pictures. From there, we’ll head home to prepare for the night!
My sister and her family will join us for dinner (pizza) – none of which the kids will actually eat. Come on, it’s HALLOWEEN! They’re ready for tricks and treats! And once the clock strikes six, it’s time to hit the streets. (Note: we leave a bowl of candy on our front steps. #sorrynotsorry)
Let’s be real, trick-or-treating with your kids can be a… chore. They’re hyper. They want to eat the candy ASAP. And then they get tired and uncomfortable while pieces of their costumes start unraveling and disappearing into the neighborhood blackness.
BUT… it’s also totally worth it. There’s kiddie joy and confidence and a sincere community sweetness that strikes deep into my hardened heart. Despite the work and exhaustion, I adore the experience as much as my kids do. (The libation in my own sippy cup also helps.)
Once we meet our candy quota, it’s back home to check the goods and watch the Garfield Halloween special (for the umpteenth time this season). Candy will be eaten. Costumes dismantled. Children grumpy.
Once the kids begrudgingly go to bed, Johnny and I will watch Trick ‘r Treat and most likely fall asleep before Anna Paquin turns into a werewolf. It should be a good, long day. And that’s all we can ask for.
So, while I may secretly (or not so secretly) yearn for November 1 as a fresh start, I will not let a horrible October take Halloween day away from us. The spirit may be dying in me, but let us remember this: Halloween was made for the dead.
Check back with me tomorrow morning, yeah?
*Marla passed away on Saturday, November 10, 2018. It wasn’t easy, but it was time. I like to think she’s now running up there somewhere, chasing rocks, and snoring without consequence.