Halloween is little more than a month away, yet I've already gotten a headache.
No, it's not from the rows upon rows of giant-size bags of chocolates. Nor from the cheap costumes for sale, which I largely avoid.
No, it's from the little green-eyed monster, who is basking in the glow of consumerism. Just one trip to Target the other day proved it. En route to grabbing bread and a few items for dinner, I was barraged with requests for Halloween headbands and chocolate and costumes. Nevermind that I've found ones for both kids at the resale shop, apparently I now need one too.
Yes, the green-eyed monster is in full swing.
Sadly, I don't know how to upend the cultural crap that is Halloween. Granted, when I was a child, we tricked and treated our way around the block, lugging handmade sacks or pillowcases. Today, it's a serious industry. Hundred-dollar Disney dresses plus accessories. Plastic containers with every character known to man on them (which of course will be pase' next year.) And decorations gallore.
Still, there are things we can do to reduce the wastefulness of the season, while still letting your kids enjoy the festivities. Here's a few:
Hit the closets. Some of the most imaginative costumes come from, well, your imagination. My favorite was a few years back, when my first communion dress came to life as part of a Mary Poppins ensemble. My second? When I was seven months pregnant with my son, and I cut out a while "M" to put on my belly.
Find a swap. Check out the National Costume Swap Day Web site for an organized swap, and trade in your outgrown costumes for something new to you. Or check out a moms group, trading site or resale shop for other options.
Make your own treat bags. Each Halloween, my brother and I would break out the crayons and decorate a paper grocery bag for trick or treating. Last year, I started the same with my kids, opting instead to buy two orange paper gift bags from the craft store. They were just right for little hands, and didn't get weighed down too much. And they're waiting to be broken out in a few weeks.
Take the emphasis off of candy. Get those Happy Meal toys out. Seriously. Instead of loading kids up with more candy (have you not seen childhood obesity rates lately?), I've been silently corraling extra toys that somehow make it in my home after parties or excursions with the grandparents. While the kids are trick or treating, a bowl of new to them toys and trinkets will sit outside for our visitors we miss. Or, instead of toys, consider giving out gently used books. It's an interesting idea.
Help others in the process. Consider doing a trick or treat for UNICEF or other organizations helping others in need.
And after the event, reuse your stash by hanging on to those chocolates for holiday baking. If you can resist.
Any other great ideas for lessening the Halloween headache?