I have so many random Halloween memories…
being a “gypsy princess” nearly every year
going trick-or-treating nearly every year
having popcorn balls and candy apples nearly every year
spending time with my family…
It is increasingly difficult not to get swept away in all beauty and perfection that blogs and Pinterest and the loads of media outlets display so well – elaborate parties, incredible homemade costumes, glossy and unflawed photography…it can make your own humble celebrations and traditions look downright dowdy and lackluster.
Like your days and moments aren’t worth remembering or sharing…
Don’t believe it for a minute.
You all know that I particularly love the holidays and parties and get-togethers. I love beautiful objects and colors and fabrics. I love planning and preparing and creating festive scenes that make fitting backdrops to our most special days of the year.
Thus, when I peruse the pages of a catalog or click away on Pinterest and see hundreds of displays of professional party-planning and photography and design, I can easily become discontent. And not just discontent, but antsy to do something. To make something. To repaint or reupholster something. To make more money. To become something.
Usually so I can buy something.
But thankfully, I have a faithful God who has consistently drawn me back to this truth: the stuff that counts, the stuff that is real…it can breathe. It has skin on. It can giggle and cry and experience and taste and smell and remember. It has a heartbeat.
And it has been entrusted to me.
And so the day I give in and allow my holidays to revolve around putting on a show for show’s sake, or documenting for scrapbooking’s sake, or recording for attention’s sake, rather than ministering to and loving my family, is the day that I will shoot this blog and my aspirations with Gideon’s capgun. I will throw them in the trash and roll them out onto the street where the dumpster-men will haul them away to a landfill in Okmulgee County. I will stomp on them and dance on them and try to make grapejuice out of them and then I’ll pour the leftovers down the disposal with the curdled milk from Rebekah’s lost sippy cup. I will boo and hiss at them…
I will hate them. Because I would so be missing the mark.
With all these things in mind, I set about planning a Halloween that I can share with you, but also (and more importantly) that my children and my husband (and I!) can remember with a happy heart. I am a novice at juggling these priorities, but I think it was a pretty good start and simple enough for a dummy like me to remember…
Rule #1: No spending money that we can’t afford to spend.
Rule #2: No becoming so wrapped up in the holiday that I get grouchy.
Rule #3: No becoming so wrapped up in the holiday that I cast aside the kids in order to get everything done.
Rule #4: Go easy on the forced picture-taking. Except for the part about stuffing Betsie into a cold pumpkin…she won’t remember it.
Rule #5: Perfection is for losers. Togetherness counts, and it only takes a couple of extra minutes to clean up your children’s messes. Okay, sometimes a couple of extra hours, but, whatever.
Rule #6: Plan…a…head. Plan ahead. PLAN ahead!!!
So here’s how it went. I picked some fun stuff I wanted to do on Pinterest, all within reason and budget. My Mom and I cleaned the house a week ahead of time and I kept it tidy until Halloween. We reused and borrowed some costumes, bought one, and made do with the rest. I asked my sister-in-law for “Help!”. I did a decorating project here and one there, all well before Halloween. I baked the day before. And when Halloween dawned, I really had very little to do but enjoy my children and the festivity of the weirdest holiday on the planet.
But what a fun weirdest holiday!
And the only time I got even the tiniest bit stressed was when my molasses cookie icing was extremely runny and I had three hours until go-time and Mr. Gore was pacing around the kitchen chomping on carrots and munching on candy.
I’ll be sharing the particulars and the pictures in the days to come. Not just for my memory’s sake, but so that I can pass along some ideas for throwing a pretty and fun party on a single-salary pastor’s budget without sacrificing the joy and lightheartedness of the holiday.
And, if I haven’t told you already, I don’t mind telling you a little bit late…
Happy Halloween, from Mrs. Gore and her wicked little family on the hill.