Christy McDonald: A parent’s perfectly imperfect Halloween

Reminiscing on Halloween memories then and now

Halloween costumes (Christy McDonald)

One year, I wrangled a hot glue gun to attach Skittles and Starbursts on an old dance costume for my littlest to be a candy fairy. The next, I stubbled black eyeliner around my son’s chin to authenticate stubble for his Justin Verlander costume. And one late night, I knotted strips of tulle on a ribbon for a makeshift Queen of Hearts skirt for my middle schooler.

The frenzy of Halloween with three kids was always intense, fun, exhausting, and sugar-fueled (me, eating all the Twix). When they were babies, it was easy! We put them in onesies (no puffy coats needed) and my husband, and I dragged them around in a wagon. Sure, there was always some weeping, and lost mittens (during cold years), but everyone usually slept well. And I could rifle through their candy stash without being found out.

As they grew older, their friends came over and tiny packs of elementary school kids marauded from house to house. We sent them out with flashlights and a “BE CAREFUL” as they breathlessly sprinted across the lawn clutching pillowcases ready to be filled. I was so content to stay by the front door and pass out treats.

I loved watching the massive candy sort afterward, with the piles of Reece’s, M & Ms, and Snickers – the siblings bartering with each other. Trading Sour Patch Kids for a full-sized Hershey bar, or trying to stick the youngest with all the candy corn.

The teen years brought basement parties, with too-loud karaoke songs and endless Sprite and pretzels. And even a quick dash to a few houses for chocolate.

It always seemed so busy, sometimes such a chore to manage it all! Make them eat before they go out! How many pieces of candy have you already had?! Hang up your costume! Don’t steal your sister’s Swedish Fish!

All the moments – chaotic and frenzied and perfectly imperfect. This year I find myself missing the madness. And thinking, just one more crazy Halloween. One more candy exchange

Tonight will be quiet for me, I’ll pass out candy when I get home from anchoring the 5:30 news. My youngest (8th grade) will already be out with friends, dressed as Daphne from Scooby Doo. My high school son promised he won’t eat all the Snickers while studying for a Physics test. My oldest, away at college (having her own Halloween fun, which is an entirely different blog!).

We sometimes get so caught up in the trenches and think, whew! Thank goodness that’s over. I say, enjoy the little moments. Even the imperfect ones. They’ll be the memories you cherish more than anything.

So bring your princesses, superheroes & goblins to my door tonight so I can fuss over their costumes and give them too many Twix!

Share your favorite Halloween parenting memories with me here below, I’d love to read them.


About the Author:

Christy McDonald is an Emmy-Award winning TV anchor and journalist who has covered news in Detroit and Michigan for 25 years before joining WDIV in 2022.