Let’s talk about "Halloween Hangover" for a minute. Halloween Hangover is a residual exhaustion that extends throughout the rest of the week because Halloween landed on a weekday, most likely a weekday that is not Thursday or Friday. Whether you went trick or treating, drink or treating, or hosted a Halloween party at your home, if you’re a parent, a midweek Halloween experience totally trashes productivity for the rest of your work week.
I knew this. In fact I spent the two weeks leading up to Halloween trying to convince my kids that we didn’t need to go trick or treating. I was labeled “a Halloween Hater”, a Halloween grinch. I begged and pleaded:
“It’s a school night, don’t you just want to go to bed?”
“Guys, candy is on sale the next day, I’ll buy a bag. I'll buy several bags.”
“I don’t really want to buy a Halloween costume this year, do you?”
But their rebuttals were filled with such innocent excitement that I decidedly gave up on my mission to stave off what I saw as an inevitable destruction of the rest of our school week.
I woke up the day after Halloween with a headache, extreme exhaustion, and emotional weakness. I knew this feeling. I had a hangover. But somehow I didn’t recall an obscene amount of partying. I walked for several hours with friends from our neighborhood; had a few pieces of candy; and indulged just a tiny bit in “adult treats”... but it seemed as though, the constant chasing kids from house to house, looking out for cars and random tree stumps in the dark, laughing and minor frights proved emotionally draining. To make matters worse, the interrupted bedtime routine on a school night ended up in an epic battle of parental wits. I found myself negotiating with excited, jazzed up kids too empowered by the night’s frolicking to go to bed.
I was not alone. Zoned out and barely coherently, I sat in my car that next morning watching the world pass me by. I witnessed other parents dragging themselves from their cars like zombies, coffee in hand, pushing bouncing children into the school. I saw families rushing from minivans toward the school in hopes of beating the bell. And then there were the families that gave up and just walked expecting the bell to remind them of a failed attempt at perfect attendance. I thought about the teachers and the school staff. I don’t know how they do it. Faded smiles and caffeinated grimaces welcomed our sugared up kids to learn another day as if nothing had happened in the classroom the day before. Halloween decorations replaced by Thanksgiving turkeys and cornucopias.
Halloween Hangover is real. All the emotional excitement, the increased sugar intake (which also results in crashing), in addition to the interrupted school/work week routine can knock anyone out. Here are my Halloween Hangover Tips:
I'm a former teacher and former college athlete, currently working to make life more equitable for all people. My mission is to get parents to partner with their child's teacher.