by Rendy Sell Lemke
I hate Halloween. Despise it. It’s not against my religion or anything, but I wish it was. Come to think of it, now there’s an idea: “Kids, this is a satanic holiday and you will stay inside and away from all exterior windows, otherwise you could become possessed with demons. How about we just set out a basket of anti-Halloween tracts on the porch.” Anyway, contrasted with my pre-parent years, when I really did watch “Faces of Death” episodes just for kicks, photographed dead people, and obsessed over all things Ted Bundy, I now do not get a thrill out of blood, gore, death, ghosts, zombies and all that other nastiness. Call me boring. It’s actually the one night of the year I will do something domestic, like sweep the floor, because it sounds so attractive compared to the alternative.
To be honest, part of my dislike is rooted in my fear of crowds of kids (as in anything over one kid, that is awake, is a crowd). Crowds of kids are panic-attack inducing. I hyperventilate, I get dizzy, I lose my vision, it all blurs together into one large ball, all their voices turn into a loud background of, well, scary and inaudible noise. But I never felt any mom guilt over this, you see, because I have a husband that LOVES Halloween. Loves it! Daddy is here to save Halloween for the boys! He makes the best costumes; takes them trick-or-treating and doesn’t come home until their pillow cases are packed to the brim with candy; goes with them to their school Halloween festivals/parties (folks, there are hundreds upon hundreds of kids gathered at those things); carves the most awesome pumpkins, one for each of the boys, and then he throws in an extra for himself and the dog. He’s the Santa Claus of Halloween. He really is.
So, as I was relaying all of this to a friend the other day, apparently Andy was eavesdropping. When I got to the part about how it all works out perfectly, because Andy loves Halloween, my usually calm, not-easily-excitable husband (Listen, I am not saying Andy is boring, but in order to balance out his often hysterical and frantic and overly-dramatic wife, he does have to remain pretty calm. Really. For the sake of the children) interrupted with a loud and booming voice, that was also heavily Wisconsin-accented (These days, the accent only comes out on the rare occasions when he gets angry), “What?! Are you kidding me?! I HATE Halloween! It’s the worst holiday ever. And those pumpkins? What a pain in the ass to carve. And the trick-or-treating? Tromping around in the freezing cold and not knowing whether or not to actually go to the door with the kids or wait on the sidewalk? What a mess! And who knows what sort of damage is being done to our house while we are away! For crying out loud!”
Wow. That threw an entirely unique wrench into the equation. All these years, I thought I was getting off easy. But to find out that my husband made this holiday into what our middle boy, Drew, has dubbed “the most wonderful time of the year,” and what our 18 year old boy, Alex, still loves so much and is convinced, every year, that of course Halloween is a school holiday, and so much fun for our youngest, Sky, just for that reason: because he loves his boys and would sacrifice, no, I mean SACRIFICE MIGHTILY and HUGELY and VASTLY just because he loves them? I have no words. I am not sure that I know that kind of sacrifice. I mean, even in childbirth, they at least give you epidurals. I don’t think they hand those out to parents on All Hallows’ Eve. And I am humbled. And I find yet another reason to be grateful that I, despite my typically flighty and impulsive decision-making method, even to the extent of agreeing to get married on our first date, lucked out in the husband department like I did. Thank you, Andy. Your children have the best dad in the world. Now, off to google images of brooms, so I can prepare to sweep the floors next Monday night.