Friday, October 31, 2014

The Halloween post, here it is Halloween. The truth is folks, I have a sort of love/hate relationship with this holiday these days. It comes from being an allergy mom, I know this, but it is what it is.

Here's what I love:
- I love that my oldest boy enjoys dressing up and pretending. He didn't always so this is a measure of his growth that I'm pleased with.
- I love that the holiday gives me a good excuse to put on a costume for Zumba. It's fun to do and makes me happy, but it also seems to delight those around me too.
- The Teal Pumpkin Project. A new initiative where a pumpkin painted teal represents a house offering non-food items as Halloween treats.

Here's what I hate:
- Having to go to the elementary school for the class party (this is true of Christmas and Valentine's too, to be fair to Halloween...). And I do -have- to go. At least right now. When my older son is in third grade he'll be old enough to handle the food situation without my supervision. But for now, I have to be there making sure he's not given anything he can't eat by well-meaning "room moms". Why don't I like being there? It's crowded with tons of parents and noisy as all get out. I have to bring the younger one with me to the school and he needs to be in a stroller or he'll make mischief. The problem is that it's so difficult to get a stroller through the jam-packed hallways to the classroom, which by the way is also jam-packed and not just with people but chairs and desks. So upon reaching the classroom, there's not a great place to park the stroller. Before I even get into the building though, there's rarely a good place to park for anyone who doesn't show up 20 minutes early (at least!). The school's lot fills up fast. As does the lot across the street at the early childhood building leaving the stadium lot the next nearest place. And when I say "near", it's relative. Within walking distance? Yeah, it's not bad...unless it's raining and you can't hurry or rush because have to push your younger son in a stroller while balancing a bakery box filled with two dozen cupcakes!
- The weather. It seems like every year the weather is either cold, wet, or a combination of both, making outdoor events a miserable experience.
- Wading into the fray at Party City to get my older boy a costume. This didn't happen this year, thank goodness! Last year though...*shudders* Picture it: there I am in the Party City store three days before Halloween jockeying for a spot to view the costume wall amongst a group of other desperate parents shopping at the last minute....struggling to get the attention of the lone clerk manning the costume center...finally getting my turn to ask her for "an Iron Man, size small"...only to find out from a voice on the other side of a walky-talky that they only have the Deluxe Iron Man left in size small. Seriously? You know what the difference between regular and deluxe was? It was colored gold instead of yellow and cost $15 more. Yeah... Why did I put myself through all of that? Because I love my boy. Even when he assures me over and over that he doesn't want to dress up for Halloween and that I should definitely -not- buy him a costume that year, only to have him tell me the exact opposite while we were waiting for his morning bus three days before Halloween. This year, I asked him during the second week of school what costume he wanted so as not to repeat that awful experience. I've had a Bumblebee costume (that's Transformers for those of you not in the know...) ready to go since September and I got an amazing price on it since it was clearanced from last year. And the best part? I bought it online so I didn't have to set foot in the store.

Alright, mommy-rant over.

Last Halloween was the first time I decided to wear a costume to Zumba. Since last year was such a good experience and I got such a positive reaction from my classmates, I decided to dress up again! I mean, why not, right? The only thing was...I needed a new costume. Last year, I dressed up as Wonder Woman. I wasn't really sure what I was going to do this year though, until I was shopping in Wal-Mart way back in July and walked past a PJ's display. There on the rack was a black racerback tank top with a big old Batman symbol on the front. It was the last one, it was on sale and it was in my size. Sold! Frankly, I'm amazed there wasn't a giant neon lit arrow over it saying "Here is your costume!". You know what goes really with a black Batman tank? A yellow tutu. Lucky for me, Oriental Trading Company set up a section of their website as a "spirit shop" this year and started selling adult-sized tutus in practically every color of the rainbow. I simply bided my time, waited for a "free shipping on any size order" code, and the bought myself a couple of tutus, one yellow and one red. Of course Bry asks me, "What's the red one for?" to which I replied, "It's to match the Superman tank top I'm planning to have by next Halloween." Heh. 
By the way, my Wonder Woman costume wasn't a one-time thing. Last year, I only needed one costume because I only went to Jae's class Halloween week. This year, I still did that, but I also taught my own class. Two classes = two costumes! I made a change to this one from last year. I ditched the gold bangles...those things bent and broke way too easily, and I added a gold sequined headband. Would you believe I found that headband in Dollar Tree? It came in a 2-pack that cost me $1. The other one is pink, I just haven't found something to wear with it. Yet!

So, was I the only one in Jae's class dressed up? Yeah. But people smiled which made me happy, and the lady whose spot is directly behind mine said she thought my tutu was "so cute".

And was I the only one among my own class who dressed up? Actually no, but I sent them email in advance to tell them that if they dressed in something, anything they were comfortable with, that was in the "spirit of the season", they'd get a treat. I told them to be creative and festive and that it could be something as simple as wearing a bracelet or a hair tie, or even just the color orange (I didn't want anyone to feel like they had to spend anything).

***Side note: I teach in a church, so I was very careful how I phrased my email. I did -not- say wear Halloween stuff. And I did -not- use the term "trick or treat". I wanted to be fun, and yet respectful of anyone who might not celebrate this particular holiday.***

It was a lot of fun and they enjoyed pulling a treat out of my pumpkin bag. What was the treat? I gave away bracelets!
You weren't expecting me to say candy were you? The last time I ordered from, I made a point to buy a set of silicon bracelets that were on sale; individually, each bracelet cost me less than a $1. The thing with Zumbawear is this: it's expensive and, unless one has the instructor discount or is just a die-hard Zumba-freak (a-hem...), regular class-goers won't/don't/can't buy it. But that doesn't mean they don't wish they could. So, as treats go, these were a huge hit. I let them dig through the bag and said they should pick whatever color they felt spoke to them. And you know what was one of the best parts about offering bracelets?

Best advice: Halloween doesn't have to be all about the sugar. Try handing out some alternatives this year. Allergy parents will thank you. So will the childhood obesity epidemic for that matter...

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