Five Mirrors in My House04/18/2013
A Little Extra Effort At Halloween
Being Happy by Meagan Francis
When I was growing up, Halloween was always my second-favorite holiday (running a very close second to Christmas.) But as a mom of five, I admit to giving Halloween a half-hearted effort over the last few years.
Instead of pulling out all the stops and putting hours into choosing costumes and planning activities, I was the mom scouring the clearance rack for half-decent costumes at 9 PM October 30, or the one who forgot to buy candy until a few hours before trick-or-treating began.
Not that there’s anything wrong with that, mind you. As a mom I know sometimes you do what you gotta do, and in the flurry of homework and diapers, for years I just couldn’t seem to find the energy to make a big to-do about Halloween. But every October 31, I’d always find myself wishing that I’d managed to find a more special way to mark the holiday.
So last year, when my husband Jon asked if he and his brother could transform the yard into a ghost-pirate-themed Halloween spectacle, I agreed.
Yes, my garage became totally overrun by wood, random rubber skeletons and fog machines. I ended up running strange errands, like going to the store for rubber hoses and black sheets, and taking care of the after-dinner dishes while the guys (and their crew of kids) tinkered in the yard.
A few times, the sounds of drills whirring and saws cutting until late at night grew annoying. Passersby and neighbors looked curiously at the odd scene in our front yard—two grown men and a bunch of kid (ours, the neighbors’ and any others that got drawn in) building what appeared to be a cannon in the front yard.
But in the end the results were worth all the stares, sounds, and yes, mess. We wound up with the coolest yard on the block, possibly the coolest yard in the whole town—complete with animation (the skeletons moved their mouths and talked!) smoke, lights and a pirate-y musical soundtrack.
Neighbors we’d never met stopped by to talk, and when it was finally time for trick-or-treating, the kids were way more interested in the display than our candy. A few days later, an older gentleman stopped by to thank us for making Halloween more special. I have to admit, that felt pretty good.
I think I learned a couple of things from our Halloween experience:
- Often it pays to say “yes”. If I’d put the nix on my husband’s Halloween plans, think of the great experience I would have missed out on!
- I don’t have to do everything myself. In all those years of feeling overwhelmed at Halloween, it had never occurred to me to put Jon in charge of decorating or getting costumes. Just think: maybe he would have enjoyed it even more than me! And bringing his brother in was a win-win, because our city yard on a busy street got a lot more exposure for his work than his country home would have.
- Sometimes it’s worth it to do things the hard way. I’m all about taking the easy way out when you’re feeling stressed or overwhelmed, but sometimes a little extra effort or inconvenience pays off in a big way.
This year? I’m not sure we’ll end up with a huge Halloween display again, but I do know that last year was much more fun and special than previous years. Even if I don’t have it in me to go all-out, I think I’ll at least give the holiday a little extra attention.
For more happy thoughts from Meagan, visit www.thehappiestmom.com.
Book Club: Meagan’s Pick04/11/2013
A Little Extra Effort At Halloween12/20/2012
The Family That Laughs Together08/16/2012
Book Club: Meagan’s Pick07/05/2012
The Key to a Happy Summer07/05/2012
My Best Bits of Camping Advice06/07/2012
Connecting with my Party of Five05/16/2012