strengths and weaknesses

We all have talents.

When it comes to holidays, I totally excel at Thanksgiving and Christmas. Thanksgiving is a no-brainer for me. I love food. I love wine. I love big dinners with my closest friends and family. Of course my favorite holiday is the one where you are supposed to eat and drink all day with your nearest and dearest. And be thankful for all your have in life, of course.

I do Christmas well too. I painstakingly decorate my tree with hand strung popcorn and cranberries. I have amassed an amazing collection of ornaments over the years. We bake an obscene number of cookies. Filling the children’s stockings (not with socks and flashlights, thank you) gives me great joy. I make the contents funny and meaningful, and enjoy the stocking ritual more than I do the unwrapping of presents.

Sadly, I’m kind of sucky at Halloween.

There’s no reason why. Halloween means fall. It’s the holiday for my favorite color, orange. I love how happy Halloween makes the kids. Carving pumpkins is fun, especially now that the boys are old enough to help, and I don’t have to do all the work. I don’t even really have to decorate the house by myself anymore because the kids take care of it, although this year, Halloween snuck up on us. We didn’t have the usual countdown of days and we never got our fake cobwebs on the bushes or any of our other decorations out of the storage bin except two strands of skeleton garland.

So where does the angst originate? For me, it’s the costuming. I might be able to put together an outfit, but visualizing a costume is a different story. I sometimes get paralyzed over this process, especially when the kids give vague orders like they did this year: “just order us vampire teeth and claws and we’ll figure out the rest.” I know I have to let go and just trust that their vision is fulfillable once we put it to the test tonight. Maybe I’m a tiny bit scarred by Halloween four years ago when Jack was going to be a zombie but decided at the last minute that he wanted to be an “army man” and threw on a camo t-shirt and grabbed a neon nerf gun as a prop. He looked like he did any other day outside playing with his friends.

Whatever the naissance of my panicky Halloween state, I sit at my desk today not consumed by the election or superstorm coverage, but by the internal debate as to whether I should buy werewolf hair (Jack says they don’t need it) in case whatever they have planned doesn’t work accordingly. Or maybe I can just let go of the worry and grab another piece of candy.