I can honestly say that Halloween is probably my daughters' favorite holiday.
Sure, they love getting candy, but more importantly, they love dressing up. Every year my mother sends them a catalogue with Halloween costumes for them to pick from. Usually, they both choose one. The costumes then become part of our very large dress-up collection that is housed in boxes next to the makeshift stage in our finished basement where I watch many shows featuring my girls and their friends.
This year, my older daughter chose some combination of an angel and a witch. Don't ask me. I don't really get it. All I know is that it involves a lot of tattered gray lace. My younger daughter decided to put a costume together from items we already had to make herself into a pop star. The only item I had to purchase was a blue wig. This process of deciding what they will be, and then figuring out all the details of their costumes begins weeks before the actual holiday.
On the big day, it is required that I do not work because I cannot guarantee getting home early enough to help them get their costumes on and be ready to trick or treat the second the sun sets. Usually, they also want me to dress up. Luckily, with so many costumes in the dress-up box from years past, I don't have a hard time finding something I can pull together pretty quickly. Candy bags, flashlights, and with at least a dozen neighborhood friends in tow, we head out for the big night.
Not much has changed about our ritual over the years except that they run a little faster, and don't need me to be as close as they go to the door. They last a little longer, and urge me to allow them to do "one more street" before calling it a night. They still give me all of their chocolate containing nuts (my older daughter is allergic). They still beg me to allow them to eat a few pieces before bed, and then they divide and negotiate trades before putting their stash in a plastic pumpkin with their names on them. They also give their parents stern warnings about pilfering their candy while they sleep. Us? Never.
In the morning, there is always something left of Halloween. Some glitter in someone's hair, a chocolate smear on someone's mouth, remnants of makeup on someone's cheek. I am reminded that yet another Halloween has passed too quickly.
Someone said to me the other day, "when you are raising children, the days may seem long, but the years are short." I wholeheartedly agree.
Amanda is the mom of two, a reporter for WRAL-TV and the author of several books including two on motherhood. Find her here on Mondays.