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I am not a Halloween hater, although I admit that there were a few awkward years in there. Like the one, pre-Maya, where Matthew and I went out to a bar on Halloween night dressed in odd clothing from our closet that could only halfway qualify as a costume. (I don't remember what we were claiming to be but I do recall one woman referring to us as "Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez.") And the year when Maya was almost one, where we dressed her as a pumpkin and went trick or treating by pushing her around in her stroller. I am pretty sure she slept through most of it. I know she had no idea what trick or treating was. Can we all just admit that if you are taking your one year old out on Halloween you are collecting candy for yourself? Its ok, we all did it. Just be honest.

The past few years, however, have been a lot of fun. Maya now has a full understanding of the point of this October holiday, to dress up funny and beg for free candy from strangers. (Despite the fact that every other day of the year we implore children to never, ever take candy from ANYONE!!) Last year she was Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz and I was a witch. This year she is Hermione from the Harry Potter movies and I am going as Moaning Myrtle. (Yes I dress up. But since I am somebody's mommy now, my costume can no longer be the traditional female garb my husband refers to as "girl with no pants". I can no longer dress up as a slutty school girl. Or a slutty cheerleader. Or a slutty superhero. Or any other "costume" that is really just wearing no clothes and claiming it is ok because it is October 31st. Hey no judgement here, you go rock that "cat" outfit.) 

Here are some other important aspects of celebrating Halloween in parentland:

1. Pinterest guilt. I do not sew costumes. I wish I did. I wish Maya's Hermione costume was made from an old shower curtain and some tassels. It came in a box via I am ok with that, I know who I am. I can bake a cake shaped like a castle, however, sewing is not my forte. But those of you who hand crafted a mermaid out of felt, just know that I am impressed. Very impressed.

2. Constant negotiation. And it begins long before Halloween. For example, here was the very real conversation that happened in my home this morning:

Maya: Mama can I have a cookie? 
Me: You can have one on your way to school, after you eat a real breakfast.
Maya: If I don't have a cookie, how many candy corn can I have?
Me: Um, I don't know....(It is far to early for this kind of advanced math)
Maya: Can I have a cookie and some candy corn?
Me: No! (Oh good, an easy one.)
Maya: How about I have a cookie now and some candy corn after school?
Me: Where's my coffee?

Once that overflowing trick or treat bag appears in your kitchen, it is all about finding the perfect balance of candy allowance. Like building the space shuttle. Really, this is a serious endeavor. How many per day? When? How many can you steal after she goes to bed before she knows something is amiss? Of course you can always follow the strategy a mom friend of mine admitted to a few years ago. "I just give them the whole bag on Halloween and tell them to eat as much as they want. They stuff themselves with candy, feel horrible, and then don't want any more sugar for the rest of November." This is bold and adventurous. I admire you, lady.

What about you healthy folks who don't believe in Halloween? I hear ya. Last night's dinner consisted of gluten-free spaghetti with fresh green beans and zucchini. My breakfast was grass fed bacon and free range eggs. You and me are from the same smug, obnoxious tribe. But not on Halloween. Halloween is for an absurdly large bag of food dye and sugar laden CANDY. Especially for an active 6 year old, with no allergies and a very acute awareness of the world around her. You know, the one where all her friends get to have candy.

Being healthy does not have to be an all or nothing thing. Don't believe me? Here is a picture of what The Rock ate on his "cheat day". 

Have you seen The Rock? Case closed.

But seriously, Halloween is awesome! What mama can resist a little girl dressed as a fairy? How can you not love the look of joy on her face when she dumps the entire bag of candy on the floor to sort it. (Gum, hard candy and boxes of raisins over there, everything else over here.) I may be a bit of a Scrooge about Valentines Day and Easter (more f--king candy!!) but I love October 31st.

Long live Willy Wonka!


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