I’m not your crazy “gravestones in the front yard and zombies on the porch” kind of Halloween lover. I’m in it for a whole other list of reasons (ahem… CANDY!).
But mostly, I love it as a mom.
I love Halloween because it thrills me to see my kids dressing up and pretending. I love the joy on their faces and the excitement in their eyes when their costume is JUST right. I love watching their giddy, wild abandon when trick or treating through a neighborhood — in the dark! Their adrenaline rubs off on me; when we carve pumpkins, when we put the finishing touches on a costume, when we curl up and watch “spooky” movies together (read: Disney Halloween). All of the dead stuff aside, Halloween is a fabulous holiday for kids.
But this year I have also found that I love Halloween for a completely different reason.
I love it because I’m a mom. And for all the joy that title brings, there are too many days to count where I’m just trying to hold myself together. Between working from home, getting my kids up early for school, orchestrating projects and homework and housework and family time and volunteering and all the other lists and lists of things that moms do, I just don’t do much for me. I don’t take very good care of myself. I don’t feel great about myself. So I strive to run the world around me in Instagram-worthy beauty, when really all I’m doing is drawing attention away from where I’m falling short.
Because I don’t feel like I ever have it all together. Not on the inside. But definitely not on the outside. And I don’t have any confidence in my appearance or my beauty or my wardrobe or any outward part of “me.” So I hide all of that behind some ripped jeans, a ponytail, and a list of to-dos and claim that this is just who I am.
Except on Halloween.
Contrary to popular convictions about “wearing masks,” I’ve actually found that in this season of my life the masks of Halloween set me free. They let me be a different me than the one that’s trudging daily through crazy schedules and unpaid bills. There’s something about stepping out of the mom jeans and into the costume that makes me feel more like the person I really am deep inside. You know…when I’m not knee deep in laundry. And I love it.
I love walking through a grocery store with cat ears and whiskers because it gives me the confidence to wear that sparkly black tank top that’s been hanging in my closet for two years. I love going to a party full of women in dresses and pearls because I find the courage to wear bright lipstick for the first time in my life…and take a selfie. Every other day of the year I worry what people will think, if they’ll see through me, but for these few precious nights I can be whoever I want to be. And I’m safe. No one will judge me or critique me or question me. No one will see my insecurities or my unwashed hair or my out-of-date jean jacket. They’ll see a girl in a costume having the time of her life (and absolutely adoring her children). And that sets me free.