How To Survive October 31

Costumes and Candy

El Halloween is here and it can be a stressful time. Costumes and candy is something we do all year round, but en Halloween, it really was a dread to me as we were raising our children. 

When I was chiquita, I loved that candy season, a pillowcase full of all kinds of dulces that of course, I ate in moderation. That’s right, no cute plastic pumpkin basket, a sturdy pillowcase to contain all my loot was needed, besides, like every other holiday, mi ama was a minimalist when it came to holiday paraphernalia. What I didn’t know was that October 31 most likely stressed her out too. The whining and the nagging for stuff for that day rained down on her usually a couple of days before Halloween.

“Ama, can you buy me a costume like Lil Debbie’s?” A bruja costume? All the little girls were witches

Ama, we’re having a party at school, will you buy cookies? 

“Ama, what costume can I wear? I have to have a costume

“Ama, do you have enough candy for the kids that come to our house?

“Amaaaa, I don’t know what to wear for Halloween.” (read that in the whiny voice)

“Ama, can I use your _____ for my costume? I’ll be careful with it.

“Ama, can I go trick or treating? (this started around kindergarten age)

“Ama, Patty doesn’t want to go with me. (I had to bargain with Patty with candy I didn’t have yet)

Then it was over and she was left with the aftermath of too much candy and cavities lurking, waiting to pounce.

Then when I grew up, or when I turned 18 and became a Christian, Halloween became the “holiday of witches and goblins” Hijole! No more Halloween as I knew it. Pero luego, my pastor turned it into a tool for evangelism. All of a sudden, my church was out on the streets on trick or treat day, maximizing the opportunity to bring the Gospel to the streets. Y pues that was great for me as a single young woman, we created street dramas and introduced a “Haunted House” with a Gospel message, they were scary! I had a great time sharing candy and the  message of Jesus, a win, win situation. Pero! Then I grew up some more.  I got married and had kids and they learned about costumes and candy, hijole! 

I found myself slowly unraveling in my resolve to not participate in Halloween like the world did. If I dressed my kid up, was I a compromising Christian? Was I partaking in the devil’s schemes? Would I confuse my kids? What would Jesus Do? Esperate. I’m not mocking or dwindling this issue down to a “silly notion” this was a real fight within me, I was frustrated that I seemed alone in this stand I was making. 

 Here’s how it went down through the years as we raised our kids.

  • At school if Halloween fell on a school day, I didn’t dress them up, but la maestra always had back up costumes for those poor little kids who didn’t bring a costume from home. My son Jonathan, in his first year of school, asked if he could wear his cowboy boots, vest and hat to school that week of Halloween and I confess, I knew what he was doing, but I also knew that he loved to dress like a cowboy all the time, so I let him. I think it was Daniella who told me how “terrible” it was for them to be singled out as the pobrecitos, poor little kids who were denied the costume experience on Halloween. Everyone felt sorry for them.
  • At church, while the adults evangelized the kids had fun at a small church Harvest Festival we moms organized. Pero! No witches, ghosts or scary costumes were allowed. We even tried bible characters, but as creative as we mom’s got, the kids all looked alike! Once in a while a mom stepped out and dressed her kid like the Balaams donkey who talked in the bible. Like my ama, I was “the minimalist mom” with costumes. I knew how to work with what you already had at home.
  • The adolescent years were tricky. Three  kids in the mix had whittled down my resolve. The secret discussions about Halloween always happened between my kids, they planned without me and I was always impressed at their creativity. Emery was the master at pushing for what he wanted. He worded and timed his requests for help  for optimal results. Y pues, I remembered how I plotted as a kid during Halloween.

  • By the fourth kid, I was hands on in planning out costumes for Thomas. Daniella, his “little mother” was creative and resourceful, y pues we had a good time. At this point in parenting I realized that trick or treating and costumes were the least of my parenting battles. They were harassed by temptation and peer pressure at school and at church. They were facing the reality of God’s pressure. 

En conclusion:

Halloween isn’t so scary to me anymore. We buy candy to share, appreciate the creative costumes and take the opportunity to share the message of Jesus. As far as surviving, just keep the main thing, the main. Porque sabes que? Even on October 31 Jesus is Lord!

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