Trick-or-Treat: Halloween for Millennials
Happy All Hallows’ Eve! What a time for “Trunk or Treating!” (Because, let’s face it, pretty much NOBODY kicks it old school, house to house, trick-or-treat, smell-my-feet-style anymore, am I right?) We celebrate Halloween for Millennial Moms!
A new(ish) parent, I’ve been reflecting during this holiday season commencement, trying to navigate the world of adulting. I spend a ton of time around my baby-boomer parents. And as parents usually do, they impart their unsolicited thoughts, advice, “wisdom” on us frequently. As such, I have come to realize that Millennial (and more specifically, my age group, Xennial) parenting is WAYYYY different. Let’s take the simple holiday Halloween, for example.
I remember as a kid this time of the year being very different than it is today. And maybe it’s not just the generational differences, maybe the culture has changed. Maybe our malleable holidays have been molded with the differences. I’m going to risk sounding really old with this one, but I remember a simpler time… I recall when we literally pranced door-to-door yelling Trick-or-Treat in our “costumes” (more on that in a second), ate our candy, snuck a few handfuls on the bus the next morning, and it was a wrap. But ohhhh darling, NOT TODAY! Baby doll, Halloween is an entire VIBE!
80s Baby Costuming
Our costumes of yesteryear were laughable. Basically, sewn together hairdresser capes adorned our tiny frames. The “mask” *air quotes* clung to your face by a thin, white, elastic string! And let’s face it, that string usually popped by the time you made it to the next street over! These masks were fashioned of super flimsy plastic. However, the engineering provided for three tiny air holes near the mouth so you didn’t suffocate. But your poor eyes were scraped relentlessly by the optical holes. If you’re reading this and you’re not a Millennial, here’s some help. Think about the masks that the girls wore in that cheerleader bank robber movie. Yasss, THOSE!
I’m definitely not complaining about the ingenuity in costume design of the twenty-first century. We are legit experiencing the positives of group-think and google. No longer are the days of moms casually picking out the Smurf or Care Bears $5.99 costumes from K-Mart. Blue light specials, anyone? We can no longer costume grab just moments before hitting the checkout counter during the week of Halloween. No ma’am! Not TODAY’S moms… Halloween for Millennial Moms is vastly different.
Millennial moms are all:
- Let’s utilize countless on-the-clock hours to scour Pinterest and MAKE a costume from scratch.
- And not just one costume! No! Let’s come up with a whole FAMILY costume! (And for those who do THEE most, let’s include the dog!)
- And spend next month’s grocery line item on CANDY. But not just ANY candy. No! We MUST only purchase snickers, m&m’s, skittles, or any other name-brand, on the checkout aisle candy so as not to appear chintzy to the neighbors!
Meanwhile, today’s kids will never understand the struggle of separating those wretched orange and black wrapped (who even knows what they are technically called) candy turds from the good stuff. They won’t know the sheer excitement of hoarding the few snickers/M&M’s/skittles “good candy.” The sheer appeal of Halloween for Millennials used to be in the variety of confections that one experiences this time of the year. You may despise of or, like me, triumph in candy corn. But let’s face it, EVERYBODY hates licorice! Nevertheless, feasting your eyes on the plethora of candy pleasure of a diverse candy haul is undefeated. The shapes, sizes, tastes, colors and options of a kid’s Halloween candy stash are delightful!
I risk sounding ungrateful with this next sentiment, but am I the only one disappointed when my loot bag looks like the MARS candy aisle of Target? Everything is the stinkin’ same! The candy is nothing but the (traditional) ‘good stuff!” Waaaaaaahhhhh! That’s not fun! Snickers and skittles and M&Ms and Crunch bars only? BORING! You may luck up and stumble upon a house that hands out Tootsie-pops. Realistically, that’s few and far between in my neighborhood. I’m just saying. The candy choices have become a little PC for my taste, no pun intended! You know what, I’m not going to blame us Millennial parents for this one… This one’s Target’s fault!
“Outfit” vs. “Costume”
Then there’s the Halloween for Millennial Moms “outfit” vs. the “costume.” There was a time that you simply wore your one halloween costume to trick-or-treat and then to everything. You know, your singular frock that in no way synched with the costumes of the others in the Smith Party of Five. Kids wore that plastic sweat-box to school on Halloween day, possibly to the school’s fall festival the weekend before, AND to trick-or-treating on Halloween night! But not nowadays! Fancy Millennial mommies dress up in the festive orange and black themed outfit for the preceding events accompanying the holiday. They then save THEE family costume unveiling for the trunk-or-treat on Halloween night – and facebook the following day! (Or in bourgeois neighborhoods like mine, “safe and scheduled” Trick-or-Treating takes place on the Saturday before the “inconvenient” actual Wednesday night Oct. 31st date.)
Jeanne is wearing one of her plethora of “costumes” to school on Character Day (also Halloween day). As a Millennial Mom with access to Dirt Cheap, we have costumes at the ready!
Small Town Liability
Will today’s kids ever get to witness the smell of red beans, Tony’s seasonings, and moth balls from Old Mrs. Dedo’s foyer…? Dodging that oak tree root that sticks up just shy of her front door…? The one that cousin Junior tripped over faithfully each year…? And knowing that she hands out peppermints and yellow toffee from her “all the time” candy dish, but we still visit her home anyway…?I grew up in an old-school neighborhood in small-town USA. Looking back, I realize the area barely had street lights let alone sidewalks to provide what we would consider today “safe” trick-or-treat conditions. I remember riding on the backs of pick-up trucks and in my dad’s van while leaving the sliding door open for many Halloweens.
We chanted songs to the top of our lungs by Aunt Susan, our 1990s Beyoncé/Mariah. One year my cousin didn’t quite make it into the back of the 1987 Ford pickup that was chauffeuring us through DeLisle, MS. Lolligagging, he clung to the tailgate as the truck drug him several yards down the back roads. Luckily, my aunt eventually heard our screams over the roar and thumps of the exhaust pipe and loose muffler, so all was well. The only things harmed in the process were the bottoms of his candy apple red British Knights.
Trunks or Tricks? Just TREATS!
For the record, I don’t recall from my childhood, my parents producing the proverbial science fair project that is decorating a “Trunk Or Treat” tailgate (ahem, we all drive SUVs now). And I seriously doubt that Jules will dangle from the back of a moving one at that! But I must close with this. I enjoyed my childhood celebrating an 80’s baby trick-or-treat, cheap, ugly costumes and all. And though I loathe the preparation required to produce such EPIC festivities, the smiles on my children’s faces and the sweet, precious memories make this Magnificent Millennial Mama all in for the ride!
EDIT: This year’s family costume was a hit! “Unda Da Sea” w/ Ursula the Sea Witch, Ariel, two Dory’s, and the crazy fisherman who caught us in his net!
More Halloween Cuteness
Check out my kids in their, ahem, coordinated “Halloween OUTFITS,” enjoying a fun afternoon with Mommy at the Pass Christian, Trinity Church Pumpkin Patch here: https://kerripaul.com/fall-fun-with-the-3-pauls-in-a-pod/