The first thing my almost 3-year-old son said to me the other morning as he blinked away the sleep from his sweet eyes was, “Hi Mommy, where’s my candy bucket?” Welcome to Halloween with toddlers.
Halloween has always been one of my favorite holidays. The hubby and I are big fans of everything scary, gory and gruesome. Growing up, my family hosted a huge annual Halloween costume party at our house, usually ending with my dad cutting off the lights and tearing through the packed house of screaming guests with a chainsaw.
While dating, Justin and I hit up every haunted house around, stayed up watching horror movie marathons and spent way too much money and time on our costumes. Once married, we continued the tradition of hosting Halloween parties at our house each year, full of creative decorations, themed food, costume contests and a horrific haunted walk through our woods. We LOVE Halloween.
I literally have eight giant boxes of Halloween decorations in my attic. This year, I went up to bring them down and decided to glance into each one to make sure there wasn’t any decor too frightening for the kids. I ended up bringing down just one box, and half of it’s contents got taken back to the attic. We were so not ready to do this holiday with toddlers.
A trip to the dollar store helped me to stock up on some kid-friendly decorations, and along with Pinterest, I traded in our annual horrific adult Halloween party for an adorable kids party for James and Luke’s friends. Instead of having “Texas Chainsaw Massacre” playing on the TV, it was “Elmo’s Boo Fest.” Instead of bloody foot print stickers on the windows, it was smiling Jack-o’-lanterns. Instead of a haunted walk through the woods complete with deranged clowns in tents, we hung donuts on strings and made pipe cleaner spiders with Styrofoam cups. Instead of handing out prizes for the scariest costume, we lined up our little fire fighters, pirates, farmers, train conductor,and other adorably clad kiddos for group photos.
Though I sometimes miss the days of screaming my way through this holiday, being a mom at Halloween is a whole new awesome. I can barely contain myself as my two cute boys carry around their little pumpkin buckets, excited eyes lighting up as goodies are tossed inside. The Fall Festivals, pumpkin patches, and zillions of other family activities fill my calendar in October. Halloween with toddlers certainly has its scary moments (hello chocolate-induced meltdowns), but overall it’s pretty fantastic. As long as I get at least one night out with my husband to visit a haunted house, I’m a happy mommy.
Mandy Watts is a stay-at-home mom who lives in Crownsville with her husband, Justin, who runs their family business, and their two sons, 2-year-old James and almost 1-year-old Luke.