Confessions of a mom who hates Halloween

Oct. 26, 2011 at 6:00 AM ET

It’s time for me to reveal a deep, dark secret. I’ve repressed it so long, even I had trouble owning up to it. I hate Halloween.

Maybe it all started the year someone singled me out in a pack of trick-or-treaters and shouted, “Oh, who’s that cute little boy in the cat costume?!”

Maybe it’s the annual wasting of money better spent on anything but candy and overpriced costumes.

Read more: TODAY Moms-iVillage poll reveals one in 10 parents hates Halloween!

Sure, I’ve looked happy in plenty of Halloween photos. But it’s all been an act. And those rare occasions when I rallied and showed up at a costume party? Yes, I almost didn’t go because of my utter lack of desire to A) think of a costume or B) wear it.

I fooled everyone the year I rocked Madonna in cone boobs. I came close to enjoying myself the year my husband, who was fresh out of law school, and I dressed up as each other: he in a blonde wig and stuffed bra, and I in a ratty sweatshirt carrying a cardboard sign that read “Will Sue for Food.”

When I was pregnant with our first child, my husband and I flicked off our lights on Oct. 31 and went out to a bar. It was lovely, despite the pit in my stomach I felt as I realized it was going to be the last Halloween I could ignore without guilt.

For my daughter’s trick-or-treating debut, I naïvely hoped to avoid coming home with gobs of Sweet Tarts and Dum Dums by tacking a sign onto her candy bucket that proclaimed, “I’m collecting donations for the food bank!”

I was more than a little cheesed that not a single grown-up bothered to A) acknowledge it, B) give her spare change instead of candy or C) congratulate me for being an extraordinarily do-goody do-gooder mom.

It’s not the sugar highs and ensuing meltdowns that make me loathe all candy-crazed holidays (yes, I’m that awful – I hate Valentine’s Day and Easter, too). It’s the sun-up-to-sundown pleas for “just one more piece, Mom. Pleeeeeeeeeease!” My cold, frowny “Not until after dinner” replies touch off tantrums laced with zingers like, “I hate you! You’re a BAD mommy!!!”

Last year, I managed to lighten the load of candy we brought home by supplying my kids with candy buckets the size of coin purses. They were astonished at how quickly they filled up. I was delighted.

Maybe this year, I’ll try to get them excited about donating their Halloween loot to one of those buy-back deals where they’ll get a toothbrush for every pound of candy they send to the troops.

Oooh. Yeah. That could be my ticket to Oct. 31 sanity.

I will say this much: Cheapskate that I am, I found it highly satisfying a few weeks ago to score a $5 Pet Doctor lab coat for my daughter, which looks awesome with her Fisher-Price doctor’s kit. And my son’s going to be the cutest $7 monkey ever. Together, they will be unstoppably cute.

Cute enough for me to pretend that I’m not already dreading Halloween 2012.

Courtesy Liz Murtaugh Gillespie /
Liz Murtaugh Gillespie smiles through her Halloween pain with her daughter Sylvia (horsie on the left), son Tyler (Dalmatian on the right) and pug Pepper (jailbird who clearly wishes she were doing anything but joining the trick-or-treating "fun").