These are the moments.
Don’t waste them.
Your kid will change costume ideas at least two times one year.
You won’t be able to find the costume in their size and you’ll have to go on a hunt at least one year.
You’ll run out of candy for TOT’ers one year.
Your kid will pick the same costume as a hundred other people one year and you’ll try to accessorize your Elsa to set her apart one year.
You’ll get crappy candy one year.
Your kid will refuse to keep on the mask, or the hat, or the wig, for a costume one year and they’ll look like they’re from a small town in Alabama instead of being Luigi in Nintendo overalls, or a sweaty pineapple instead of Princess Belle. You will try again other years, thinking this year they will keep their promise to wear it for at least 3 houses.
By the time you have 3 kids, you suddenly reocgnize the pro moms (and dads) who pick costumes that are recognizable once they are put on, without accessories being required, but which can be used if they want.
You will lose that one accessory they really liked and would have worn, when you take pictures for an event before Halloween and they’ll be mad and not want to wear the costume without it.
If you love dressing up, you’ll get a kid who dislikes it and is over it by age 8. If you hate dressing up, you’ll get a kid who wants to, and insists you do, too.
We won’t discuss how Halloween costume sizing is configured. But it’s extra fun when you’re either a tiny grown up and it’s all too big, or you’re “super sized” and there are only 3 costumes in existence that really work for you if you don’t make your own.
Your kids will be upset when you call time on TOT’ing some years, and other years they will be finished before you are, and you’ll be baffled.
You will teach kids about the 10% parent tax off the top of all Halloween candy, and be upset that your favorite one isn’t there. (The 5% you eat while “holding” their bag for them is NOT included in the parent tax. This is an additional deduction.)
Make up will be smeared immediately. If not smeared, the wearer will be itchy all over their face and will keep trying to just “poke” the spot with a fingernail without messing it up. (It won’t work.) Your kid will sweat or cry if the make up even makes it out of the door, and everyone looks the same by the night’s end: a distorted version of the Joker from Batman.
Your kid will say something embarrassing to your neighbors. (This can be avoided by trick-or-treating at a grandparents house, or another area where you don’t live and it looks like a place that would have good candy.)
You will confuse your Elsa with someone else’s and scold the wrong kid at least once for not saying thank you and be mortified.
One year you will think you just drive your kids crazy with your holiday antics and you’ll decide not to do something, only to have them ask why you aren’t doing it, and finally find out that despite the feigned embarrassment of you, they actually liked your holiday enthusiasm!
Your pumpkin won’t last until Halloween one year because you live in Florida and carved it more than 24 hours in advance.
You will make at least one trip to the ER because someone tried to slice off their finger carving pumpkins.
If you live in Florida, you will give in, eventually, to the theme park haunted houses, and pay a ridiculous amount of money for an experience that rarely comes with much candy, and that your kid will harass you to go to, insisting they can handle it, and you’ll have to carry them out before the end.
The reward for all of this will be a big pile of sugar that will make your kids hyperactive, ruin their teeth, and cause them to leave candy wrappers everywhere until you throw the rest away a few days after Halloween. (The trash can you will use is the office. You can’t prove it’s Halloween candy in the law firm bowl.)
One year there will be a pandemic and most kids will have to forego traditional activities in favor of quarantine holiday activity ideas.
You may be longing for the days your children are old enough that you don’t have to participate in this craziness anymore.
Until those days come, for one reason or another.
Then you’ll miss it. All of it.
So slow down. Take it all in. Every tantrum. Every mistake. Every half of a costume. Take pictures. Because believe it or not, you’ll miss it. And when you’re no longer here to miss it, they will miss it, and eventually, they will pass many traditions on to their own kiddos, or any kids they care about. (Including fur baby traditions.)