Am I the only one who feels like I’ve been celebrating Halloween for at least three weeks now? The boys’ Halloween parties, costume parade and trick-or-trunk are this afternoon and I would rather go to the dentist at this point than deal with my children and their Halloween costumes.

And Halloween isn’t even until tomorrow!

Parenting Halloween tip #1: Don’t make your kids’ costumes. I know it’s tempting and anything you’d make would be – hands down – way better than anything you could buy, but kids can be – how do I put this? – assholes.

Trust me, I learned the hard way. I made my kids’ costumes and I worked on them for a month, at least. Saturday we had plans to go to the zoo for their annual holiday Boo Bash – a family tradition of ours – and I was so excited. I spent almost the whole day running around town picking up all of our last minute costume needs and then putting the finishing touches on each costume so they would be perfect. I should have known, as a mom with three years of experience under my belt, that all of my hard work was going to go unnoticed and most likely treated as though it was more of a nuisance than a gift but, like the optimistic lunatic I am, I dreamed big anyway.

I dreamed of a drama-free evening where we all skipped jollily through the zoo, draped in our pristine, clever, pop-culture-inspired family costumes and people admired our dedication and my kids’ good taste in music. I dreamed of laughter and exclamations of “MOM, LOOK AT THAT!” and “DAD, WATCH THIS!” I dreamed of a happy, grateful kids and a patient, present husband. I dreamed of wide eyes and even wider smiles, warm hugs and even warmer memories.

HAHAHAHAHAHHAHA. What a fucking idiot.

Before we even left the house, Seth and I were at each other’s throats. Somehow Abbott had gotten a hold of the scissors that I had been using to put together the last of Matty’s costume and it sent Seth off the edge. He then reprimanded me like I was his daughter which sent me off the deep end. Matty, pissed that we had told him couldn’t have any more candy, was simultaneously spiraling out of control. And Abbott – the LITERALLY living embodiment of a sour patch kid – was walking around screaming and tugging at his shirt because he didn’t want to wear his costume. And then, to top it all off, Seth ripped a mega hole in the crotch of his costume and then tried correcting it with a wad of duct tape which caused it to rip even more. It’s always something.

The car ride to the zoo was miserable. The kids were screaming, Seth was mumbling complaints under his breath and I was trying not to have a melt down. And it never got better. Matty wore his costume for seven pictures. And I mean that literally – I actually couldn’t mean it any more literally. He put it on for pictures and that was it. In fact, I had to beg him for three out of seven of those picture. And while I know some people live for the picture – I mean, sometimes I do, too – this was not one of those times. We wore family costumes and Matty was the most integral piece of the puzzle; without him, our costume was busted. We got told we would look more official if we were carrying actual B-37 (??) hazmat breathing contraptions, an old man dressed up like a doctor told us he loved our costumes joking that we were “ready for some heavy duty construction” and I overheard a woman say she was “pretty sure” we were ghostbusters.

We were none of those things – but at least they were all having the time of their lives.

Parenting halloween tip #2: Don’t choose a clever family costume unless everyone is ready to participate. And definitely don’t choose anything pop-culture-inspired unless you have plans to go places where you KNOW they’ll be appreciated or you’re 100% positive you’re going to be in the best mood ever.

Seth spent the evening grumbling about everything, the kids spent the evening complaining about anything and I spent the evening regretting pretty much every Halloween decision I’d made up until that point. We never emerged from our funk. Sometimes I guess that’s just the way it goes, no matter how badly you want the perfect family outing. I mean, Abbott probably had the most fun out of everyone and he has croup, so that’s saying a lot.

At least I finally know why costumes cost an arm and a leg – BECAUSE PARENTS WILL PAY IT. Between our experience at the Halloween store, our rotten pumpkin, my realization about trunk-or-treats, my wasted time making perfect costumes and my shattered Halloween dreams, I am o v e r Halloween 2017 and it hasn’t even begun. So today, I’m sending my most positive vibes and best of luck to all of the moms out there with high Halloween hopes and expectations.

We should have just been Moana.

But, alas, we were not. Hopefully, some day the boys will be grateful for both my effort and their ahead-of-their-time musical taste. The good news is, I’m still sure that someday I’ll look back and miss even nights like these.