Halloween Without the Trick-or-Treating

Halloween bit the big one this year. And considering how I feel about the spooky holiday (I love it like a third child), this was enough to put me in a mini depression that could only be lifted by bite-sized Snickers and a package of pumpkin Peeps. (Yes, I said Peeps. Don’t pollute my comment section with your disparaging Peep hate speeches. All candy has worth. Even Good & Plenty.)

It started when our brilliant Trunk or Treat decoration received not even an honorable mention. I mean sure, we didn’t transform our entire car into a turtle sanctuary and dress up our cute little baby as a turtle like the winning entry. But tell me this idea wasn’t freaking amazing:trunk shutdown

Next year we’ll dial down the clever…and borrow a baby.

Halloween night itself wasn’t any better. Thanks to the rainy, windy weather, we had very few trick-or-treaters. And after a long, busy week, I just couldn’t keep my eyes open long enough to watch my customary scary movie after putting the kids to bed. Is it really Halloween without watching some unsuspecting schmucks explore an old psychiatric hospital, thinking nothing will go wrong? No, it’s not.

Oh…on top of it, my husband and I were proclaimed the worst parents in the world. In our defense, we had no other choice. Our kids were total jacklegs.

Last week I wrote about my new parenting strategy of teaching my kids not to be jacklegs. The universe must have teamed up with my children to test me on that, because two days before Halloween, my husband and I found ourselves at a crossroads. Both kids committed offenses that deserved stiff punishment. In order to spare them the embarrassment of having their transgressions splattered across the blogosphere, I won’t go into detail. But trust me…total jacklegs.

It was all too much for my husband, and bad behaviors so close to a holiday can often lead parents to do the unthinkable when blinded by anger:

“There will be NO trick-or-treating for either of you!”

No trick-or-treating for you!

The words hung in the air for a minute while we all grappled with their mere existence, as if we had just spotted a Sasquatch. Of course the kids did not believe him at first, because parents who take away trick-or-treating is surely folklore. At the same time, my husband came to me and was all like, “I said it. We have to follow through. Are you on board with this?” That question probably should have come BEFORE it was said. Seeing as how I had little choice in my answer, I guess, yes, I was on board.

Once everyone came to terms with the reality of his verdict, there was a multitude of loud noises coming from the kids that I would maybe expect from victims of Chinese water torture. And to be totally honest, I would have joined in on the screaming. But, you know…that whole “be a parent” thing.

This hurts me more than it hurts you is true, people. My kids may not have gotten to go trick-or-treating, but that meant neither did I, on my most beloved of holidays. Not only that, but I had to hear about how unfair it was for two days leading up to Halloween. Like when I ran to Target with Grace and pointed out how cool a box of electric blue cake mix was, and her eyes welled up with tears as she told me not to bring it up…because apparently electric blue cake mix reminded her that she wasn’t going trick-or-treating. How insensitive of me to not see the obvious connection between boxed baked goods and trick-or-treating. So that whole thing was annoying in itself. But their misery also made me sad. Every kid looks forward to getting candy from strangers on Halloween. And it was just a little heart wrenching helping them into their costumes that night when I could see in both of their faces that they felt the whole charade was pretty pointless. Who were they dressing up for?

So yeah, Halloween kind of sucked. But sometimes things have to suck now so they can be awesome later. Hopefully these drastic measures resonated with the kids. I feel fairly confident that Grace and Michael will think twice before committing the crimes that landed them in this dire situation of not being able to tell bad jokes in exchange for sugar. I know it resonated with me and my husband, as it proved to us that we can bark and follow up with the bite. Even better, the next time the kids call our bluff, all we have to say is, “Remember trick-or-treating? Oh, wait. That’s right. You didn’t go.”

But if you could all do me a solid and pray that the kids are angels right before Christmas, I would really appreciate it. I am living on borrowed time for Grace believing in Santa, and I would really hate for him to dis her due to jackleg behavior on the their last Christmas together.

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25 thoughts on “Halloween Without the Trick-or-Treating

  1. Hey, Grace & Michael, your mom really only has one rule: “DON’T BE A JACKLEG!!!” What a bummer, Kelly, to miss Halloween. 😦 I think they probably learned their lesson, though… HOPEFULLY!


  2. Good for you and dad for sticking to your guns! 🙂 Seriously, though – I woulda killed my husband had he taken trick-or-treating away from Doodle. It’s definitely something you can’t back down from, but I probably would have tried to finagle my way into taking Doodle around town for a bunch of erroneous errands or something, and just reminding him regularly that he can’t have any candy that people offered him. Something, anything to be able to have him still show off his costume but still abide by dad’s *terrible choice* consequence. Here’s to hoping they know you guys mean business and that there is no jacklegging in the days prior to Santa’s arrival.


    1. I know, right? In hindsight, I’m really glad my husband did it. Because we survived, and I think it drove home a really good lesson. Besides, they had gotten to wear their costumes to Trunk or Treat the week before, so it wasn’t a total loss.


  3. Way to stick to your guns … that’s tough! The pic of your son on the couch with his mask on made me SNORT. I know it wouldn’t please him to know a stranger was laughing at his misfortune, so maybe we can just keep that right here 🙂 Here’s to a discipline-free Christmas with very unjackleg kiddos!


  4. So many things… first off your trunk is brilliant, I never knew that was “a thing” until I moved to Kansas. Secondly, way to go you two for following through, that must have been so sad/hard but worth it for future punishment promises! And finally, I LOVE Good and Plenty but I will refrain from sharing how I feel about peeps. Hope next year your Halloween is AMAZING! 🙂


  5. Love that you guys stuck through. It is so hard sometimes but it WILL pay off! This was the first year my son didn’t trick or treat (he’s officially too old) so I was kind of melancholy knowing we’ve ended that stage. Plus this was the first year in our new neighbourhood and there were a lot less kids (80 vs 300; no lie). I kind off missed the frenzy. Halloween felt weird this year.


    1. That is a bummer. We never get too many kids anyway, so the rain really zapped the excitement of it all. My sister-in-law had 651 trick-or-treaters this year (yes, they actually keep track. That number beat out last year). That would be so fun!


  6. Your kids, who might be reformed jacklegs by now, look thoroughly miserable in those pictures. Hopefully a lesson was learned here and they won’t shaft themselves out of having a merry Xmas.


  7. My husband used to say, “You’ll never get anything you want if you don’t clean your room.” I rolled my eyes. He’s a piker, anyway. I warned the kids I would drive them home naked if they forgot their pool bags with dry clothes, towels, etc. (after forgetting the damn things repeatedly). They forgot; they went home naked. They never forgot again.Some say I’m a terrible parent for doing that. I say, “Yeah, so?”


    1. Those who say you’re a terrible parent are also probably the ones who blame the teacher for their darling child’s bad grade. And your reaction to that statement is precisely why you’re probably a kick-ass parent 🙂


  8. Good for you for sticking to your guns. They’re not born knowing that actions have consequences – we have to teach them that. Otherwise they’ll be doing their not trick or treating in jail.


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