How This Halloween Has Taught Me to Be Less Of An Overachiever

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For the last couple of weeks, I have been totally not feeling it with Halloween. This isn’t normal for me. I’m not like one of those weirdos that obsesses over it all year long, and spends more time and money on decorations and shit than the month’s rent. But I’m still usually pretty gung-ho about it. I start costumes early. I do a lot of Halloween decorating and baking; and we visit pretty much every pumpkin patch with in a 50 mile radius. Twice.

It was around the time that I started suggesting we do something other than a trick or treat marathon this year, and then immediately started trying to come up with excuses for us to just do nothing but dress up, that I realized there was something wrong. More so than my usual “there’s something wrong” as in there’s something wrong in my head. There was something not right about me and Halloween. Something lurking in the inner caverns of my subconscious, just waiting to come out – likely at the worst time possible.

Such is the life of an overachiever. Shoving any reservations or actual desires down as deep as you can, until they come out at the worst time possible. Or in a total meltdown. It happens all the time. I say I’m going to do something, but really don’t want to. I know I don’t want to, but convince myself I do. Then I complain, then I procrastinate and procrastinate, and procrastinate some more. Then I finally do whatever it is I said I would do, crying the whole way through it. And hating myself, more and more each time.

But what is it about Halloween this year that has been making me procrastinate to such a degree that I started trying to come up with reasons why we shouldn’t even go trick or treating at all? What the hell kind of a shithole mother does that?

An overachieving mother that made a commitment to costumes she knew she couldn’t make, that’s what the hell kind of a shithole mother.

Around June, my nine year old got this crazy idea to be peanut butter and jelly this year. I thought it was weird because she doesn’t like peanut butter. And when I asked what kind of jelly, she said “orange marmalade.” Fucking orange marmalade? Bitch, you’ve never even had orange marmalade. (Yes, I did just refer to my nine year old daughter as “bitch.” In a blog, remember. I don’t do it in person. At least where she can hear.)

Regardless of all these logical fallacies, everyone in the family jumped on the peanut butter and jelly bandwagon and suddenly I was making multiple costumes, and being asked to make candy bags that look like bread too. As the life of the overachiever goes, I simply went along with it and started knitting.

524512_695212985993_197672610_nKnitting you ask? Well, when I looked up peanut butter and jelly costumes, all I found were these completely dorky, huge slices of bread that had fake-PB&J crap slathered all over them. That would have been embarrassing. Super duper embarrassing. So I decided I would make jar costumes. Coming out of the top of the jars would be scarves (to keep everyone warm) – which would be made to look like peanut butter or jelly coming out of the jars. It was going to be super cute, except for one problem: I had not a clue in my stupid fucking head how I would do anything beyond the scarves of overflowing condiments.

After I finished the scarves, I didn’t do shit for the costumes until three days ago. I finished them somewhere around July. So July, August, and September, I did nothing. Halloween in my mind didn’t even fucking exist.

1233963_700005776203_2026613288_nThen the questions started. “How are the Halloween costumes going?” “When are you going to work on the Halloween costumes again?” My husband, my dad, my mom … it grew relentless. So I made a bread bucket (because I finally had to admit that I am way too lazy to sew, and don’t have a sewing machine; so bread bags or whatever-the-fuck had been suggested were just totally out of the question). Then I started panicking.

Finally yesterday, I figured that the only way I could do this was to print off large versions of the labels, glue them to cardboard, and then hang them with ribbon. Then the other problem came in, though: the cost of printing was going to be more than buying super expensive, cliched costumes over at the Party Rip Off City. Plus I was going to have to piece together some kind of bottoms, because the jars couldn’t cover the crotch area – obviously – since that would make it tough to walk.

So I gave up. This Halloween taught me to be less of an overachiever. I apologized. I made promises to put together other, easier, costumes. I tried to compensate by decorating the house today with Halloween decorations, even though I said this year would only see a little bit of Fall stuff.

In the end, the only one that gave a shit was my mother. She threw herself around. She complained. She obsessed over how it could work – “you could just…” and “why don’t you…” She even cried a little. What she didn’t realize was that I had already started working on the costumes that will actually be worn, that are within my limited D.I.Y-crafting genius. And I started working on them with much more ambition and fervor than the last four months of avoiding the peanut butter and jelly costumes I am just not that accomplished enough to make.

Are you faithful blog followers overachievers at holiday times? Typically, Halloween is only the tip of the iceberg for me; but this newfound sense of “fuck it, I ain’t doing this shit” has me thinking that maybe the holidays will fair more low-key and within reason. I suppose only time will tell…

Hallow-Raunchy

It’s that time of year again – Halloween, which then turns into a flurry of spend-a lot, eat-a lot holidays that end in a night of drunken debauchery to ring in the New Year.

Halloween is loved by many (it is #2 in most-money-spent holidays) and, in fact, is a source of hefty nostalgia for me.  I will never forget that year that I loved Cheetos so much that my mother made me a Chester the Cheetah costume (which no one understood), only for it to fall apart halfway through trick or treating, leaving me to walk home in the cold, Chicago evening with my underwear on display for all.  Possibly this is why I stopped dressing up and trick or treating relatively early, although after I moved to California in 2000, I began dressing up again.  Particularly when I was at work, this held a number of other memories for me, although I worked in a pharmacy full of customers coming to pick up their Valtrex and Viagra prescriptions.  The classiest thing that came out of a customer’s mouth during those days was when I dressed like a bunny and the old man picking up his wife’s pain meds told me he wanted to see my tail.

Even though I rarely dress up anymore (with, of course, the exception of the occasional sacrilegious costume, such as the one featured on the right sidebar of this very website), I’m still all for a good time.  Who am I to spoil the fun and future nostalgia of others?  But we have to admit that Halloween can also be a little Hallow-Raunchy.

Halloween is a celebration of blood, guts, gore, and all things disgusting

Have any of you faithful blog followers ever taken a walk through the Halloween aisle at Target lately, or worse yet gone to one of those Halloween Express stores that crop up all over town around the middle of September?  When I was little, those places were filled with ghosts and gravestones, now they’re covered in fake blood, zombie brains, and gory body parts.  Whatever happened to the good old days when people decorated with a few innocent spider webs and those fake, plastic spiders?

Carving pumpkins is by far the most disgusting task ever

Carving pumpkins is disgusting from beginning to end.  Not only are pumpkins filled with slimy guts but then when you go through all the effort of carving one, you think you’ll be real inventive and cook the seeds.  Only when you go to get the guts off the seeds, it is by far the most difficult task you will ever partake in.  Carving the designs into the pumpkin is always a pain with those ridiculous cheap tools they sell you at Target as well.  Then within two days (max) of your pumpkin being carved, the thing has turned into a mushy pile of moldy and bacteria.

Over the age of 15, dressing up for Halloween is the same thing as dressing up like a Vegas prostitute

What has happened to Halloween costumes?  I don’t ever remember my parents dressing like prostitutes when I was little, and I almost never saw those college chicks that lived across the street from us dress too skanky either.  Now, over the age of 15, Halloween may just as well be referred to as “Excuse to Dress Like a Hooker Day.”  In recent years, it is gotten obscene – not only tasteless, short skirts and low cut tops, but horrible messages sent with the theme of the costumes.  This year’s absolute worst?  Anna Rexia.  It makes me sick to even see the picture.

And then there are the pedophiles…

You almost wish the Internet weren’t around because then there would be no way for us to all know the exact houses where pedophiles and sex criminals are handing out little chocolate bars to our kids.  Now it seems all Halloween activities are geared towards keeping kids as far away from that as possible.  Of course there is nothing wrong with that at all, in fact, I prefer it; but it begs the question:  if Halloween is the pedophiles Holy Grail, is it really such a great thing anymore?  The truth to the matter is that most reformed sex criminals do not answer their doors on Halloween; the further truth is that if only parents just kept watch over their kids while out trick or treating, none of it would even be a problem.  In our little suburb in California, there are all sorts of community events at churches, block parties in wealthy neighborhoods, and even trick or treating at the mall in an effort to keep kids away from perverts.  But in the end, this is always such an ordeal to be a part of – generally you have to pay or to pitch in, which is so much more than having to hand out some candy and make sure your kids are accompanied by an adult and their candy is checked.  But as people grow more and more afraid of the pedophiles (and so it would seem, less willing to keep watch over their kids through the course of Halloween evening), less traditional trick or treating is even available.

As I said, for me Halloween is a matter of nostalgia.  I have tons of great memories, tons of weird memories, occasional embarrassing moments, and that warm feeling I get every time I hear Linus say “it’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown.”  My advise to you, faithful blog followers, to keep your Halloween from becoming a Hallow-Raunchy?  Break out the old Halloween spider webs and flying ghosts and save the body parts for the zombie apocalypse; paint a pumpkin and buy some pre made seeds at the grocery store; if you must dress, dress with a little class (and think of the message Anna Rexia sends); and, last (but most important), put your smartphone down for a couple of hours and just walk your kids from door to door, rather than leaving them open to the perverts or ruining the tradition of Halloween by taking them to the mall.

And if you have any problems with dressing your kid … well, watch this: