Sure, she’s a little scary. But what mom with two kids and an elderly relative in the house isn’t?We grew up with The Munsters, and while Lily didn’t exactly remind us of our mom, she did keep the whole family together like a boss. We love her sense of humor, and she brought heart to the wacky shenanigans. Who better to pick for our Halloween mom crush!

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For Halloween, most little girls dress as a mermaid or princess, like Elsa from “Frozen” or Snow White from well, “Snow White.” Not my daughter. When she was five, she declared, “Halloween is about being scary, not cute!”  Thus began a series of non-cute (but seriously cute) costumes. She’s dressed as a vampire, a vampire bat, a vampire with even more blood and sharper fangs and my personal favorite, the Grim Reaper.

While trick-or-treating, it was adorable to watch my 3-foot escort to the underworld literally knocking on our elderly neighbors doors, covered in a hood, holding a scythe made from cardboard and aluminum foil. Thrilled they weren’t actually dying, neighbors forked over the king-sized candy bars.

This year, I thought we could use a change of pace, so I encouraged her to dress as Louise from “Bob’s Burgers.” It’s one of our favorite shows and we joke about how she is so Louise, and I am so Linda. Nope. She didn’t entertain the idea for a moment before she said, “I already know who I’m going to be!”  She tussled her hair, hid around the corner, peeked her head out at me with a creepy grin and said, “Here’s Johnny!” Yes, my 11-year-old baby girl has decided to dress as Jack Nicholson’s character from “The Shining.”

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I know what you’re thinking. “Why in the world would a little girl want to be something so nefarious for Halloween?” You’re also thinking, “What kind of mother would let their child watch “The Shining?”

In my defense, I’d totally forgotten how frightening this Stephen King classic was. So when it popped up on television one Saturday afternoon, I thought, “This will be fun—scary little twins and red rum. Mmm, rum sounds good!” Isn’t that kitschy and fun? No, no it’s not. It’s terrifying. Fortunately, my daughter laughed through it saying, “That blood seeping out of the walls is so fake,” and “How come you never let me ride a tricycle through a creepy mansion?”

On one hand, I feel like as a parent I should not let my daughter portray a deranged alcoholic hellbent on murdering his family. But on the other hand, I find it kind of cool that she is such a weirdo. She’s never been a princess or mermaid girly-girl in real life so why should she be one for Halloween? This is who she is. Not Jack Nicholson or a psychotic hotel keeper, but a child who has always marched to the beat of her own funny, strange, and sometimes a little dark, drum. And drum rhymes with rum. And rum is always good. Unless it’s a reflection in the mirror. Mmm, hot toddy’s for Halloween! But I’m getting away from the point. Here’s the point.

I was an easy-going kid. My mom would usually pick out my costume because we had something in the basement that would be just “perfect!” She’d say, “Want to be a Christmas package made out of a microwave box and a bow?” And I’d say, “What could be better?” One year I was a bag of jellybeans, where my mom tied a plastic bag around my body (fortunately not around my head, because I lived to tell about it) and filled the bag with balloons. I was a total guinea pig child. If my mom said, “Let’s do this,” I’d say, “Sure, I’ll dress up like a doily or pillow pet or pretzel with a cheese dip dog. Why not?” I was not only easy going, but clearly lazy. In fact, I believe the definition of lazy is allowing someone to tie a bag of plastic around one’s body and fill it with balloons.

Being so agreeable and a Pinterest project does come at a price.  One year, when we were running out of ideas and time (never a good combination) my mother suggested I dress up like a traveling salesman with a little mustache and plaid briefcase. Let me preface this by saying I had recently grown my hair out of a pixie cut and had tired of everyone telling my parents what a cute little boy I was. So when my mom suggested I dress up like a traveling salesman, I was none too thrilled. But I had no ideas of my own, and the mustache was kind of cool, so Willy Loman I was.

 

My kiddo celebrating the darker side of Halloween is a sign that she will always be her own person, even when dressing up like someone else. She will never be a bag of jelly beans or Arthur Miller character. And that might be a good thing.

My daughter is celebrating Halloween this year as it should be, with humor, wit and a little fright. And there is nothing scarier than an 11-year-old girl dressed in flannels and a hatchet knocking on our neighbor’s door, screaming, “Here’s Johnny!” So get ready and have some king-sized candy bars ready, and maybe some rum for the mamas.

 

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Madea reminds us of an exhausted mom – she says what’s on her mind, she doesn’t give a damn, and she definitely doesn’t take any attitude. So in honor of our favorite sassy badass (and since Tyler Perry’s Boo! A Madea Halloween is in theatres right now), enjoy these satisfying gifs for all the moments you wish you could go Madea on someone’s butt.

 

When someone else’s kid gets too aggressive on the playground.

 

When a family member is trying to be dramatic but money is still money.

 

When your kid complains about a present. A present they got for free.

 

When you find a spot right in front of the grocery store and it gets stolen away from you.

 

When your kids say they aren’t scared of being grounded.

 

When you get pulled over for speeding on the way to daycare pickup, but the cop lets you off the hook.

 

When you have to remind your kids for the 15th time to do their chores.

 

When your teenager is still asleep and it’s 7:40 on a Tuesday.

 

When the nurse says you don’t need a mammogram yet because you’re under 50.

 

When some PTA mom criticizes your parenting.

 

So this Hellurween, when your little trick-or-treaters act ungrateful or your house gets hit by no-good prankster teens, embrace your inner Madea. And go see Tyler Perry’s Boo! A Madea Halloween to get your seasonal Madea fix.

 

By the time mid-October rolls around, the kids (and if you live in my house, the grownups) are getting excited about Halloween. Having a semi-sane Halloween with young kids involves a little planning and lots of luck.

Here are eight tips for surviving Halloween with kids younger kids (under six) and making great memories.

1. Pick the costume out early and get it out of the way

I buy my kids’ Halloween costumes as soon as they go on sale right after Valentine’s Day. Okay, maybe I’m exaggerating…but not much. I snag costumes as soon as I see them in the store. I get my pick of sizes…nothing is worse than telling a four year old who wants to be Batman that there are no Batman costumes in his size anywhere within three counties.

I give my kids minimal input on costume choices. Kids under six are either too young to care about their costume or are “into” so many cartoon characters that they’ll change their minds on what they want to be for Halloween 486 times before October 30th.

If you’re one of those crafty moms who makes costumes by hand, I’m a little jealous of your skills. If you are one of those crafty moms who makes another costume because little Annabelle decided she wanted to be Sophia the First instead of Elsa two days before Halloween…well then, I say you’re batshit crazy.

2. Potty planning

Your child will have to pee at some point during the Halloween festivities. Have an idea of where and how to make that happen. If potty training is still a new thing and there’s a narrow window between “mommy I hafta pee” and an accident, you might want to rethink a costume that’s complicated to get out of.

3. Don’t try to do all the things

Trick or treating in your neighborhood? Trunk or treat at your church? And again at your mom’s church and the church down the street that don’t even attend? Your local “Zoo boo?” If you play your cards right, your kid can party hard the week leading up to Halloween and snag enough candy to keep 10 children sugared up for days…but is that a good thing?

It’s great that there are so many options for enjoying Halloween…but stop and think before you drag your small human to each and every thing just because you can.

4. Step away from Pinterest

Yes, really. Too much Pinterest will rot your brain…okay maybe not that but it might convince you that you should become a whiz at concocting Halloween crafts out of recycled yogurt containers and toilet paper rolls.  Every time you log on, Pinterest will make you feel inferior by showing you “easy” projects and treat recipes you should be making with and for your kids. And, if you’re one of those moms who bought  costumes at Cotsco, Pinterest will shame you for not caring enough to make a dinosaur costume out of felt in 104 easy-to-follow steps.

Don’t get me wrong…Pinterest is great. It’s the first place I look when I want to find a great recipe or inspiration for a party hairstyle…but this time of year, Pinterest is full of oh-so-simple looking crafty things and recipes that lure you in. The next thing you know, your fingers are stuck together with hot glue and you’ve got glitter underneath your fingernails and in other places you don’t want to have glitter…ahem.

5. Talk to your kids about what to expect

This is really simple, but sometimes we get so caught up in the frenzy that we don’t realize the Halloween festivities are new, unfamiliar and maybe overwhelming for little goblins. My two boys are five (yes, I have two five-year-olds…just let that sink in) and this is their third year trick-or-treating. I plan to go over the play-by-play with them before we head out on Halloween night. They sort of remember how it went down last year but 12 months is a long time for very young children, so don’t assume they remember the drill.

And, things change…this year, one of my boys is really afraid of all of the super scary Halloween stuff that didn’t bug him last year. Unless you plan to take your kid to a Halloween event that doesn’t involve anything scary (and those events are certainly out there), it helps to set expectations. We’ve explained to Zack that some parts of Halloween are meant to be scary and to reassure him that it’s all pretend but we avoid those houses that are really tricked out with spooky decorations. The yard littered with dismembered skeletons, tombstones and fake entrails may not the best fit for the very young trick-or-treaters…you can tell your kids “it’s not real” all day long but that might be a little too much for them to process.

6. Set limits 

This goes along with talking about expectations. I’ve found that trick-or-treating for an hour and then coming home to pass out candy works best. Younger kids might not have the stamina to walk the streets begging for candy for two hours plus. An hour works best for us and everyone knows what’s up ahead of time.

7. Have a candy plan

My candy plan is to sort through all the candy, pick out the quality chocolate and let the kids have at it for one night. I mean…it’s one night. I can handle two hyped up, sugared up kids for one night. After that, everything goes into a bowl and I dole it out…I might give a piece for good behavior or throw some in the lunchboxes. Maybe it’s the OCD in me but I like knowing beforehand how the candy is going to be handled.

If the idea of a ton of candy in the house bugs you, try adding the Switch Witch basket to your Halloween lineup. It’s a cute, decorative basket that you enjoy as part of your Halloween décor up until the big night. You use it to display your candy and then after a set number of days “the Switch Witch” comes to take the candy, replacing it with a toy or other fun thing that doesn’t involve sugar. We haven’t tried that yet but I think it’s a good idea.

And let there be no doubt, that quality chocolate is all mine.  Mini Snickers pairs well with a nice Pinot Noir.

8. Cut them some slack

Your kids probably won’t be on their best behavior on Halloween night. It’s something special and the general vibe of the evening is not the same as every other day…and really, why would it be? Expect hyperactivity, the odd tantrum or two, uncharacteristic shyness, potty accidents…and anything in between.

Teach your kids basic manners…you know, to say “Trick or Treat” properly at the doorstep and to say “thank you” when someone gives them candy or compliments their costume. Teach them not to say stuff like “ewww, that looks gross” when some old lady drops Christmas candy from two years ago into their buckets.

And then cut them some slack if they forget their manners or say something embarrassing. Chances are, nothing that happens on Halloween is going to really matter in the long run…keep things in perspective.

Bottom line, trick-or-treating with children under six might require a little more preparation and structure, but it’s totally worth it. Seeing these little kids’ eyes light up at the magic of Halloween is priceless.

This post was originally featured on Jill’s blog, Ripped Jeans and Bifocals

Halloween is just around the corner! Which is insane, by the way. Where does the time go? Wasn’t it just summer vacation? It’s a little scary (Halloween, get it) how quickly the months go by.

As a mom, the best part about Halloween is dressing up the kiddos in their costumes. Actually, having an excuse to eat candy is the best part about Halloween, if we’re being completely honest. But using our imaginations and seeing how excited the kids get when they’re dressed up as their favorite superhero or character is pretty awesome.

We recently asked our Facebook friends and mommas what their kids were dressing up as for Halloween, and we got some pretty amazing answers!

 

Note: All photos via What the Flicka Facebook.

Really, how hard can it be?

Sure, maybe you were the one in elementary school who rubber cemented your hands together. But that was a long time ago. Now you’re an adult with a small child. Why not show off your awesome adult competence by creating your own adorable, home spun Halloween costume? Your child will be amazed at their own lovingly made, one-of-a-kind, Halloween creation, and you will be a hero.

“How clever,” your friends will marvel, “What a brilliant, good parent you are! Your child is bound to become a president, with parenting like that!”

Well, we’ve been through it. And we want to share what we’ve learned. Here are the real ten steps to creating your own very special Halloween Creation..

Step 1, October 1-5: Realize the Need

Your child is obsessed. Perhaps with a train, or a crime-fighting puppy, or little girl with a backpack. It really doesn’t matter what – you just realize that YOUR kid loves it like no one ever has.

Step 2, October 6-10: Righteous Indignation.

You see a pre-made version of the costume at your local Toy Emporium. It’s so chintzy you’re insulted. It DOESN’T EVEN LOOK LIKE A TRAIN! It’s also expensive! You resolve that your child will be different, and that your ingenuity will be the difference. You’ll use stuff from around the home. You’re clever and resourceful! You’ll save money! And your kid will have a REAL Halloween costume.

Step 3, October 10-15: Research

You google “Homemade DIY Costume of a Popular Train That Causes Obsession in Children”. Pretty quickly you find a blog post of a guy who did just the thing you’re looking to do. Wow. That costume looks good. Memories of that time you papier-mache’d your glasses to a pine cone only briefly flash in your head before getting banished by your raging ambition

Step 4, October 16: Beginnings.

You assemble supplies. You’re MacGyver and there’s no need for you to buy anything that isn’t already in your house. Cardboard boxes, construction paper, felt… wait, felt? Okay, you’ll go to the craft store and buy the felt. Spray paint. Fine. Buy the spray paint too. And just from eyeballing it, the glue’s not going to be enough. You’re going to have to go over to the hardware store to get some nuts and bolts and washers. That should be everything you need to buy. Except for that big mailing tube for the guy on the blog uses for the train’s boiler.

Step 5, October 30, 8 am: Finishing touches, part 1

No one makes mailing tubes that big. Where on earth did the guy on the blog buy that friggin’ mailing tube?

Step 6, October 30, 3pm: Finishing Touches, part 2

You find yourself in line at the wholesale store, buying a doomsday-sized container of pretzels with peanut butter stuffed in them. You will never eat those pretzels – but in a month of searching, the container is the only item you have found that’s the approximate size and shape you need for the stupid boiler. On your way to check out, you pass the chintzy pre-made costumes. You now notice that the container of pretzels under your arm actually costs more than the whole costume.

Step 7, October 30, 8pm-October 31, 3am: Finishing Touches, part 3

There will be at least five trips to the 24-hour drug store between 8pm and 2am. Sharpie out. Need more golden glitter glue. You cut the felt wrong. You need more felt. You know what? Dammit, scratch the felt. Scratch the whole ten dollar sheet of felt. You’ll use more construction paper. Back to the drug store for more construction paper.

Step 8, October 31, 3am: Victory!

You’re dizzy. You know that you have maybe three and a half hours before your kid wakes up. But there, gleaming under the kitchen fluorescents, is your completed costume. Is it as good as that dude with the blog’s? No. But come on. That guy’s some sort of structural engineer hollywood special effects professional artist. This, though, this little cardboard and plastic piece of wonder, is yours from top to bottom, and you’ve put love into every square inch of it. You imagine your kid’s wonder in the morning when he first beholds it. You post a photo to facebook, so that anyone in your social network can declare it, now: you “won” Halloween. Tomorrow is going to be awesome.

Step 9, October 31, 8am: Magic Time!

The moment that makes it all worthwhile is finally here! You go to put the costume on your child.

As you do, for reasons you will never comprehend, your child begins screaming in terror.

You try to coax, but it doesn’t help. You try to demand, and it just gets worse. You end up carrying the costume on your shoulder all day long. You bring it to Mommy & Me class – and every kid there tries it on and plays with it… except yours.He wants nothing to do with it. You end up following him around with it while he’s trick or treating in sweat pants. Some of the neighbors give you charitable looks. Others seem to think it’s a costume you made for yourself while you while you dressed your child in sweat pants for Halloween. Like the Spanish Armada, your magnificent dreams have dashed themselves on the rocky shores of reality. There is nothing for you but shame.

Step 10, Sometime soon: Learn a Valuable Lesson

On your way home, about a half-block from your house, your kid asks to try on the costume. Despite your frustration and exhaustion, you’re just so sick of carrying the thing that you set it down for him. He climbs right in and suddenly fills with delight. He starts making train noises. He starts running up and down the sidewalk. He’s in love. For about five minutes, because it’s bed time. He will put it on again tomorrow morning. And the morning after that. And there’s going to be a time when you have to bring it in the back of the car, because he may want to wear it at a picnic. And some time, over the course of the next six months, you start thinking about what you can make for a costume next year..

Check out the rest of our #MakeStuff posts curated by our guest editor Sarah Michelle Gellar throughout October. Also, be sure to check out Foodstirs, Sarah’s subscription box focused on healthy and creative baking kits!

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