The spookiest season of all is in full swing, and Halloween brings with it grinning jack-o-’lanterns, creepy crawlies and tricks and treats galore — and leaves behind some of the stressors of other major holidays.
For example, no one expects you to create a perfect Halloween experience like they do with Christmas. Halloween is always just a little bit wonky, a little bit cheap, kitschy, silly and perfectly imperfect.
Expectations are achievable and even, generally speaking, reasonable:
- There will be candy. Some of it will be good candy, like candy bars or Milk Duds. Some of it will be horrible, like peanut butter kisses, which can scarcely be distinguished from the black and orange wax paper they’re wrapped in.
- There will be costumes. Some of them will be store-bought, some will be home-made, and there will be both good and bad variations of each type. If a kid is wearing a terrible costume, it’s still cute, so it’s still a win.
- There will probably be a party or gathering of some kind. This could include structured activities for kids or grown-ups such as board games, carnival games, a costume contest or scary movie marathon. It’s optional, though, and you can opt out without accidentally starting a blood feud with one side of the family or the other.
That’s about it. No one has to bake approximately 40,000 cookies or plan a meal for 50 people, half of whom are allergic to the favorite foods of the other half. No one has to select presents for people who persist in saying “Oh, you don’t need to get me anything this year!” as if that isn’t the most frustrating possible answer to “What do you want for Christmas?” No one is under pressure to create the most magical, festive, special, perfect, Christmas ever for the kids.
No one has to try to stay up until midnight and make sure everyone’s drinks are topped up. No one has to carefully gauge the exact level of commitment of a relationship to determine precisely how much love to demonstrate via a box of chocolates or a bouquet of flowers.
So have fun! Eat some candy, and if you’re feeling responsible, brush your teeth afterward! Wear a pair of cat ears to work and hiss at all the people you don’t like! Play some tricks, have some treats, and whether you enjoy the silly Halloween or the scary one, enjoy the holiday!
Winter — and its more stressful holidays — is coming.