About four years ago I realized we were "doing Hallowe'en" entirely out of a sense of obligation. I felt obligated to create unique costumes for the kids, they felt obligated to wear them and wander around in the typical almost-freezing drizzle of November's eve, and we all disliked our obligations. When I had one or two children and was much less busy costumes were fun to make. But since our fall now usually means being away during September and returning home in October to a full roster of activities and organizational obligations, while we try to work the kinks out of the schedule and get it all smoothly running, October 31st loomed far too big far too soon. I'd rather be making jelly and knitting mittens and transcribing Violin 3 parts for the community orchestra than trying to cobble together costumes for four. The kids ... well, being outside after dark in the freezing rain isn't something that appeals to them. They're up late all the time, and outside whenever they feel like it. And they are certainly not kids who relish dressing up in order to drive to town and spend 34 minutes walking around the streets there asserting themselves at the doors of relative strangers. They've also disliked the candy-crazed energy of other children's trick-or-treating when they're gone out with friends.
And so I offered my kids a deal. I would spend twenty bucks or so on costume-making supplies so that they could go out trick-or-treating, or else I would spend twenty bucks or so on candy and just give it to them. And they could sit on the living room floor and eat their hoard and watch a video and we could all be done with it.
They took the candy.
Right now they're scarfing Nerds and watching Princess Bride.