By Guest Blogger Laura Simon

Halloween is not the reason I expected to have a crisis of motherhood, but here I am.

First, my oldest, who has typically been very compliant about wearing whatever costume was easily accessible in the aisle at Target, declared that he wanted to be a red Sour Patch Kid. I like red Sour Patch Kids…in fact, they’re my favorite, so I was on board.

But guess what? Red Sour Patch kid costumes do not exist in normal, affordable places like Amazon and Target. They do exist, but only on Etsy, for prices upwards of seventy bucks. So that’s not happening.

And of course, they exist on Pinterest, in the form of elaborate patterns and templates that require almost every craft supply inside Hobby Lobby. Cue my first crises: I am NOT a Pinterest mom.

Yes, I’m crafty when it comes to things like sewing or decorating, but the kid crafts I’ve attempted on Pinterest have been downright disastrous. I almost had to call the fire department for one, but it turns out that they told us the truth in elementary school, and baking soda really does put out fires. Even big ones.

So I had a mopey 9-year-old who has, admittedly, had a rough year, and all he wanted was this costume. I almost gave into the drama. I wanted to throw him a bone. But you know what he needs more than a costume? Me, having the time to be present with him. Me, making the income I would give up in order to devote hours upon hours to stretching glittery fabric over a pipe-cleaner frame. Me, staying sane. Mostly that last one.

Yes, childhood is short, but sometimes it’s still OK to say “no.” And guess what? He found a soldier costume at TJ Maxx that he absolutely adores, and it has all the promise of being used year-round for neighborhood Nerf wars. It was also, blessedly, cheap.

But the Halloween drama didn’t end there. Oh, no. All three kids want the house decorated for Halloween. Not harvest, which I do every year. I have a thousand tasteful pumpkins all over the house.

No, they want spider webs on our shrubs, fake spiders dangling from our gutters, and ghoulish ghosts swinging from our trees. A “Do Not Enter” sign, written in blood on the front window, would be a nice touch.

In spite of being born on Halloween, I’m not a huge fan. I mean, I found a real, actual black widow in our crawl space when I was dragging out the pumpkins. I thought about setting a good fall bonfire inside the house to make sure it was dead, but I managed to show some restraint. Still, I’m good on spiders for the next decade.

I just think the Halloween décor is tacky. I mean, I’m pretty sure Joanna Gaines doesn’t mix dollar-store bats with her shiplap. And don’t even get me started on actually carving pumpkins. You spend the better part of a day on the things, nearly cut off three fingers, and they rot two days later.

But my neighbor threw me under the bus and bought spider webs AND carved pumpkins…and her kids loved it. And then I realized the fake spider web stuff costs a whopping 88 cents at Walmart. While it might be ugly, they think it’s fun. I can almost promise you that in ten years, they won’t remember how charming mom’s front porch looked in autumn, but they’ll still remember the year mom caved and put spider webs on the bushes. Believe it or not, I just added some to my online shopping cart. It even glows in the dark. It’ll go nicely with the fake spiders I picked up at the dollar store.

Sometimes it’s good to be a “yes” mom. I expect I’ll have plenty of years to decorate my front porch when they’ve moved on to their own ghoulishly-decorated apartments. In the meantime, I’m learning to step outside my comfort zone and say yes to the silly things that, it turns out, matter a lot.

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