Teens

My Kids Are 'Too Old' For Halloween And Man, I Miss It

I know this is part of growing up, but I wish I could get one more Halloween with them.

mom missing halloween when kids were little
Ariela Basson/Scary Mommy; Getty Images, Shutterstock

For the past few years, I’ve felt the same way when October rolls around and everyone is decorating with pumpkins, cornstalks, and spooky critters hanging on their front doors: so nostalgic I get teary-eyed. I love fall, and wearing a sweater on a nippy day gets me more excited than it should. But there’s a part of me that dies inside when I see mums and bales of hay. That’s because my kids are now “too old” for Halloween, and I wasn’t ready.

When I was dressing three little kids up for Halloween — they all changed their minds at least five times about what they wanted to be, of course — I felt stressed. There was no containing their excitement about Halloween, and they’d start talking about it in July. We’d dress them up and walk around our neighborhood to trick or treat after the school parade and Halloween festival. When we got home they did the traditional examination and sort of all the candy, and they stayed up a bit late to trade with each other.

Every year I came home Halloween night utterly exhausted, glad it was over, but I could still hear my kids’ giggles and crunching leaves in my head (as I took some Tylenol) after they fell asleep. It always made me so happy, because I knew how happy they were. They’d always ask if they could have a piece of candy the morning after they woke up and talk about how they were sad the day was over. They immediately started planning for the next year.

And now that’s over, and I have too many feelings about it. Just yesterday I was driving home from spin class; it was a cloudy fall day and everything was starting to turn shades of red, brown, orange, and yellow. I pulled into our neighborhood and saw my kids’ favorite huge, white farmhouse was all ready for Halloween. They always handed out the best candy. The nostalgia took over and I cried the rest of the way home.

I realized it wasn’t just the memories of Halloweens of the past that makes me feel this way. It’s the fact that something so simple and pure, like getting dressed up and knocking on doors to get candy, used to make my kids so happy. It was a tradition that they looked forward to all year. It was something that brought them comfort. It was a tradition that we used to share as a family and now, well, it’s gone.

My kids don’t care about Halloween anymore. When I ask them if they miss getting dressed up and going to the festival, parade, and trick or treating, they shrug their shoulders. Maybe they miss it and maybe they don’t. And as their mother, I know this is part of growing up. But man, I miss the days when something could make them so happy it was visceral.

Like a lot of teens, mine aren’t much for words. They don’t really seem to care about traditions and they certainly don’t cry because they are so overcome with emotion when the Halloween decorations come out. Maybe that will change and the feelings they used to get as kids will come back in a grown-up way.

But for me, the nostalgia and sadness that those days are over are very real. I mean, staying in and making tacos and watching scary movies with the kids that are home doesn’t suck, but I’d give anything to have them be small and get one more Halloween with them.

Katie Bingham-Smith is a full-time freelance writer living in Maine with her three teens and two ducks. When she’s not writing she’s probably spending too much money online and drinking Coke Zero.