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Tag Archives: halloween
I fought it for as long as I could. Because I was the cool mom. The edgy mom. The mom with the perfectly messy Botticelli-esque curls cascading halfway down my back like one of those vacant-eyed models randomly jumping in a field of wildflowers in an Urban Outfitters catalog.
Except in reality, my long, wavy hair was always tied up in a school marm bun because my 8-month-old son has made it his personal mission to pull out each and every strand of it. And those few times when it wasn’t tied up, it tangled so quickly that one would think it would take more effort than a slight breeze (such as making out with a weedwhacker) to get that unique Bride of Frankenstein look I so often sported. Seriously, if I stepped outside, neighborhood birds started nesting there (although you can hardly blame them, what with the nice buffet of pureed peas, scrambled eggs and pancake crumbs my son had thoughtfully left for them between the strands and all).
But then came the last straw (a straw very much like the texture of my tortured hair): A windy Halloween day, me outside for most of it with my hair down and getting whipped around relentlessly while I toted my costumed baby around to run errands. A last stop to get coffee before heading home and then THIS conversation:
Barista: “What a cute baby chicken costume! And what are you supposed to be, mom?”
(Note to reader: I wasn’t wearing a costume.)
Me: “Tired Mom Whose Clothes Don’t Match.”
Barista: …(confused look)…
Me: (looking at my reflection in the baked goods glass and taking stock of my combat boots, stained cargo pants, hastily applied black eyeliner, dark rings under my eyes and tangled hair that had grown to three times its original size) “Amy Winehouse. …(sigh)…I’m Amy Winehouse.”
Barista: …(flicker of recognition)… “Oh! I love it.”
And so it was with a heavy heart that I walked into the hair salon yesterday. We had had a good five-year run, my long hair and me. But the party was over. It was time to grow up. Time to look like I didn’t spend my weekends going to music festivals and eating maple bacon kimchi cupcakes from a food truck.
Time to tell the world that what I really did was watch “Gilmore Girls” on Netflix while pulling my newly mobile baby out from under the coffee table every three minutes.
On the plus side, my hair stylist was a veteran mom herself and understood my plight.
Stylist: “So, what are we wanting to do today?”
Me: “Chop it off. Chop it all off.”
Stylist: “Um…OK. Into any particular style?”
Me: “I have a baby. But I want a hairstyle that says I don’t.”
Stylist: “So no ‘Mom Bob’ then?”
Me: “Exactly. I love my baby almost more than anything. And that one anything is a mom haircut.”
So how did it turn out, you ask? Great! I think. I mean, it’s shorter now. And stuff.
Truth be told, as soon as I left the salon, I walked home in the rain and wind, ruining the gorgeous professional styling, and then immediately tied what was left of my hair back into a teensy ponytail so I could relieve my husband of baby duty. And then I spent the rest of the afternoon playing with my son and his creepy bear that creepily says “Peek-a-boo! I see you!” when you hug it. And then this morning I immediately threw on a hat over my unwashed/unbrushed hair to walk to a coffeehouse to spend the very few free moments I have to write this.
And I realized that any hairstyle I get from now on will be a mom cut. Because I’m a mom now. A mom who, just like generations of moms before her, will choose function over style almost every time when it comes down it. Because vanity is a luxury we can no longer afford. Or even really want to afford anymore. Not when what has taken the place of that vanity is a tiny drooling person who giggles every time Mommy tickles him with her hair, no matter the length or style.
Yes, as it turns out, I do love that little stinker more than anything. Period.
I was 33 when I murdered and mutilated the dead body of my first pumpkin.
I know. I know. How did I ever manage to make it this far in my life without committing veggiecide? I mean, ripping out the slimy entrails of innocent gourds is practically a rite of passage in this country. Even kindergarteners are handed a knife and told to stab a pumpkin in the face.
Well, it’s a long story, kids. One that I’m probably going to make even longer because my editor wants at least 800 words.
It all started with my childhood…
(flashback wavy lines, flashback wavy lines, flashback wavy lines)
When I was a kid, I wasn’t allowed to go trick-or-treating. This had less to do with child abuse (as I VERY vocally insisted to my mother back then) then (as I realize now) it had to do with the time period. See, back in the early ancient period known as the ‘80s, everyone was afraid that 1. all teenagers were involved in satanic cults and 2. those satanic cults spent all their time stuffing razor blades into mini Kit Kat bars. Add on top of that the fact that most of my extended family felt Halloween glorified the Devil and I lived in a place where non-working tractors outnumbered people four-to-one (making for quite a long hike just to score some free yet probably non-name brand candy), and you have the perfect recipe for a Halloween-less youth.
Not that I was completely deprived. My aunt threw a great party every year on the night before Halloween, complete with costumes, bobbing for apples and big piles of razorblade-free candy. We just couldn’t call it a Halloween party. Because it wasn’t. Because Satan is always watching.
And there was one year when I was a teenager that I did actually go trick-or-treating. But that was really just more of an excuse for 11 of us to jump into a completely unsafe car while in costume and drive around while smoking cigarettes and sharing a bottle of Boone’s Farm (which tasted like gasoline and haunted watermelons). I did also attempt during this time period to participate in that other time-honored Halloween tradition, the haunted house, but at the first sign of a chainsaw I threw up my hands, yelled “NOPE!” and sprinted back to the car.
As I got older, I spent a few years doing the “get drunk at a bar while wearing a costume that would make your feminist grandmother cry” Halloween tradition. I also would dress in “costume” for work, but usually only as a gypsy or Amy Winehouse since neither required me to really change my hair. Or my outfit. Or the amount of eyeliner I usually wore.
So, as you can see, my relationship with Halloween has been spotty at best. Which is why I probably never decorated my house for the holiday, inside or out. And why I haven’t worn a costume the past few years (unless you count my standard “Gypsy Amy Winehoue” everyday look). And why I quickly lose my enthusiasm for handing out candy to trick-or-treaters.
“Oh look, another Iron Man and Elsa from ‘Frozen.’ How original. Take your Snickers and go. You disgust me.”
But now…well, now I’m a parent. And that has made all the difference this year. Suddenly I’m all in the holiday spirit, like the love child of Martha Stewart and Elvira.
Which is how I came to commit my first veggiecide. A task I took a bit too much glee in judging from the horrified look on my husband’s face.
“Hey honey, could you maybe not laugh maniacally while holding that giant knife and pulling out the pumpkin guts. It’s…uh…it’s creeping me out, babe.”
I’m even finally using the Halloween kitchen towels my mother-in-law got me years ago. I mean, I use them the rest of the year too. (What? Suddenly I’m a Rockefeller who can afford enough kitchen towels to not use the seasonal ones year-round?) But I’m using them now too. On purpose.
And, best of all, I already bought my son his costume (a baby chicken outfit because 1. it was on sale and 2. we want to save the Chucky costume for next year when he can walk and hold a bloody knife better) and plan to take him for his first trick-or-treat outing at what his dad calls “my work’s Halloween thingy event for children or something.”
Yes, I must say, making up for all that lost time has me downright giddy and we still have a week to go until the big day. In fact, I may even dress up in costume this year. As Zombie Gypsy Amy Winehouse. Which won’t even require makeup since I haven’t had a full night’s sleep my son was born.
Hey, you know what the world needs more of? (Warning! Warning! Sarcasm bomb about to detonate!) People complaining about how Christmas comes earlier and earlier every year. We just don’t see enough of that, you know? And I bet if we did complain more, it would totally change things.
Just like how complaining about politics and cold weather and people who think Instagram was created solely so they could share what they’re eating for lunch (Blackened salmon with roasted asparagus? Well, aren’t you fancy!) makes all those things better.
(I sincerely apologize to anyone who got hit with sarcasm shrapnel. Unless your Instagram account is just filled with food. Then you deserved it).
Yes, people complaining about how Christmas has completely obliterated Thanksgiving and is quickly encroaching on Halloween’s thunder is about as cliché now as people complaining how ironic it is we go out and shiv little old ladies to get 40 percent off TV’s and unnecessary shaving kits the day after a holiday centered around giving thanks for what we already have.
But as futile as I think it is to bitch about Christmas being three months long now, I must admit I side with the complainers. Because even though you’ll never convince Sharon, your co-worker who starts wearing light-up Happy Holiday sweaters in October, that she needs to stop, your silence means you approve. And you don’t approve. Because Sharon is ridiculous and owns a cat named Gingerbread and has a weird, creepy crush on Santa.
I too don’t want to have to sift through a bunch of candy canes before I find the Halloween candy at the grocery store in October; or a bunch of eggnog before I find my gourd-based beers at the liquor store in September.
And I sure as hell don’t want to see Christmas commercials when I’m having my annual psychotic breakdown in the kitchen on Thanksgiving.
But before you go thinking I’m all bah-humbug-y, Grinch-y, evil corporate guy in every Christmas special ever, let me throw this at ya.’ Christmas is actually my favorite holiday. Always has been. I love everything about it. The lights. The cooking (until the inevitable psychotic breakdown). The gift shopping. The wrapping. The decorating. The 37 emails back and forth with family about who got what on everyone’s list. The music. The claymation marathons on TV. The awkward reaction I get from salespeople when they say “Happy Holidays” and I reply with a cheerful “Merry Christmas” because they think I’m going to be that A-hole that gets mad that they said “Happy Holidays” when really I couldn’t care less because my body is composed of 82 percent hot toddy at that point.
And it’s because I love Christmas so much that I’m angry everyone is trying to artificially manufacture Christmas spirit prematurely. Because you know what happens when you try to artificially make something happen? It…well, let’s use an awkward metaphor to explain it…
It’s like getting all dressed up in your sexy lingerie, hair done perfectly and actual makeup on your face besides chapstick and anti-wrinkle cream, because you want to surprise your husband with some sexy, fun-time, naked, grown-up stuff. And so you carefully lay yourself on the bed in just the perfect position so that all your wobbly bits and fat pockets are hidden. And you’re just practically vibrating with excited anticipation for the night.
And then you wait.
And you wait.
And then wait some more.
And then he’s three hours late coming home from work and by the time he gets to the bedroom, you’ve already downed half a bottle of wine and eaten three-fourths of a pumpkin pie while wearing sweatpants over your teddy because all the anticipation, and thus the fun, has vanished.
That’s what you people are doing to Christmas.
If you build this holiday up too big by starting it way too early, the only place it can go is to an anti-climatic, sputtering dud. So that by Christmas Eve, you downright rage in a foam-at-the-mouth homicidal spree every time you hear “Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer” because it is the 37th million time you’ve heard it and the human brain can tolerate only 34 million times (there have been studies, look it up).
So stop ruining Christmas. Be patient. Let’s make this season a reasonable, wonderful, exciting, month-long celebration. Instead of building it up starting July Fourth only to arrive at the end with an attitude of “that’s it?”
It’s what Charlie Brown would have wanted.
And that weird, freaky-looking Yeti in the Rudolph special.
It’s been six years, folks.
Six years that I have been waiting to once again celebrate Halloween in a climate where autumn is not “hey, it’s only 91 degrees today.” Six years I’ve been waiting to wear a costume without sweat stains. Six years waiting to be able to drink a hot toddy without spontaneously combusting.
And now that I’m in Boston, it’s finally happening. The leaves are changing. The air is crisp. The ground is covered in snow.
Let me write that last part a bit slower, in case you didn’t catch that:
Yeah. Snow. That white, fluffy crap typically associated with Christmas and Minnesota.
And not just any snow. Oh no. No, Boston had to have a Nor’easter, which is, as far as I can figure out, basically a winter hurricane.
Not that I’m complaining.*
But this does bring up a rather huge dilemma for me. All of my previous Halloween costume ideas are now kind of moot…especially since I am rather attached to most of my major digits and limbs. Which means I now have to scramble to come up with some new ideas for tonight. Luckily, I started drinking early today, so the creative juices are flowing.
So far, I’ve got:
Slutty nurse wearing a parka
Girl wrapped in comforter
The kid from “A Christmas Story” when he’s wearing the giant bunny costume
Slutty cheerleader wearing a parka and long johns
Huge sports fan who feels it’s appropriate to wear all their sports gear at once
Girl wearing ugly, giant old man sweater but pulling it off because she’s awesome
Slutty slut in a slutty parka
And if all else fails, my last resort is drunk girl who is drinking until she can’t feel anything anymore.
Happy Halloween, everyone!
*Disclaimer: According to the contract my husband forced made me sign, I’m not allowed to complain about the cold or any other kind of weather in Boston since I used up all my wifely “bitching about the weather” tokens in Texas.