Halloween 2022

While I realized that Halloween landed on a Monday which would have been an excellent time to do my typical Monday parenting post, I wouldn’t have had pictures of both kids in their costumes at that time. So now, a week later, you can check out their costumes. This year we didn’t have to make much like we have in past years. And with them getting older, I am not sure how many more Halloweens they will get dressed up in costumes.

Let’s start with my youngest – Lexie. She is 14 and this is her first year in high school. She didn’t go trick-or-treating with friends for the first time in a long time. She decided she just wanted to go with her brother. She decided this year to be a Jedi. I think this came about because we built lightsaber’s at Disney World back in June.

Her costume was store bought though my husband did make her satchel, and I used my Cricut to cut out a Star War’s Jedi symbol to put on it. Lexi also got to wear this costume to a friend’s Halloween party on the Saturday before Halloween.

Now, Jase is 17 and I really didn’t know if he will want to trick-or-treat next year so this might have been his final year. But then again, he doesn’t look his age and I see no reason for him to not dress up again next year if he chooses. Jase liked his gangster costume last year because he wore a trench coat. He wanted the trench coat to be part of this costume again this year. With that in mind, he decided to be a tax collector – a candy tax collector.

My husband made him a briefcase in which to collect his candy. It opened on one end verses opening like a normal briefcase. I again used my Cricut to make the design. He is now a candy tax collector for the Federal Candy Tax Bureau. My husband also 3D printed him a badge that I designed.

This year my husband didn’t dress up on Halloween as he didn’t have to walk around with the kids. And I pretty much never dress up on Halloween. But we did both dress up for my husband’s work Halloween party. We went as Fred and Daphne from Scooby Doo. The funny thing is one of the other employees dressed up as Velma though she had no clue what our costumes were going to be.

We didn’t see as many trick-or-treaters as we typically do on Halloween. I had half a bowl of candy left over. But the kids brought in a good haul and enjoyed their evening. And it wasn’t too hard for them to get up the next day and trudge off to school (with candy packed away in their lunch boxes).

Quote of the Week – Oct. 26

Parent-Teacher Associations are the biggest advocacy groups in regards to child health and education. If you haven’t joined your local PTA or PTO, I encourage you to do so. (If you are in Texas, you can join any PTA in Texas at www.joinpta.com.)

I’m passionate about people. I’ve spent my life in advocacy. People matter – whether or not we agree on the issue, people matter. ~ Ann Marie Buerkle

The dangers of loving your character too much

Parents want what is best for their children. As writers, our characters are often like our children. We created them. We want them to succeed, to be happy. We hate when they are upset.

In our heads they may be able to do no wrong. They could have all the courage or charm we wish we possessed. And when they are good at something, we want everyone to know how brilliant/nice/brave/good looking/(insert desired character trait) our character is.

And when I talk about characters – this could be any (or all) of your characters – minor, sidekicks, heroes, love interests and antagonists. There is something about all of them that we love. But the problem with loving your character is often, you don’t want anything bad to happen to them. You don’t want to injury, handicap or even kill them.

And sometimes in loving them too much, we tend to make them too perfect. We don’t give them serious flaws or allow them to make mistakes and struggle. Others may follow them without hesitation. But our characters need obstacles – real obstacles. They need to go up against a well-developed antagonist and not one who is merely there to oppose them. We need to know that the hero may not always win.

While we may hate to see our characters struggle, that is what they need to do. They need to struggle because that struggle IS the story. It compels the characters to act. We need some sort of conflict whether internal or external to happen to our characters.

No one wants to read a story about a man who loves his job, comes home to his loving family and goofy dog and is living a completely fulfilled life. That is boring. There is no opportunity for drama, character growth, or even to impart a message besides just “Don’t you wish your life was this good?”

So give your characters hardships and challenges. Bend them until a normal person might break. And as much as you love them – you need to be willing to let them be hurt or possibly die. Killing off a character you love is never easy. And it probably won’t be easy for your readers either. But sometimes you have to do it – no matter how great or how much you love your character.