Getting Through a Childless Halloween

Boy, is Halloween a non-event when you live alone with no children around. Or it can be. Amid the Facebook barrage of babies and kids in Halloween costumes, Annie and I lived a normal day. I practiced music. I took myself out to lunch and bought groceries, noting a few adults in costume. Rain expected for today, I mowed my lawns. I walked the dog. I ate leftovers for dinner and called my dad, who was sitting in the dark in California to avoid luring Trick or Treaters to his porch. He forgot to buy candy, and it’s too hard for him to get up and down to answer the door. Me, I sat on the loveseat with Annie, lights shining bright. Nobody would be coming out here in the woods. The few families with kids take them elsewhere to Trick or Treat.

I asked my father about Halloween when he was a kid growing up on a ranch in California back in the 1920s and ‘30s. Did he go Trick or Treating? No, he said. He never did. Houses were spread too far. There were no street lights. Did you have a costume? Nope. The most that happened at his house was that his father might carve a pumpkin. Jack-o-Lantern, he called it. I suspect his mother used the insides to make pie. You couldn’t just throw out food during the Depression.

It was different when my brother and I were growing up. We couldn’t wait to put on our costumes and go Trick or Treating, filling our bags with candy. But now my dad, like me, was sitting in his living room as Halloween went on without him. He has children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren, but none were nearby showing off their costumes.

For me, it was a hard holiday. I felt especially alone and old. But I know it doesn’t have to be that way. A friend who is the same age and also widowed posted a Facebook photo of herself in costume with her tiny piano students, also in costume. They all seemed so happy. My friend has a grown son, but he doesn’t live around here. She didn’t let that stop her from having a happy Halloween. Like everything else, Halloween is what you make of it. Without kids, I guess we have to try harder.

And no, I’m not putting a costume on my dog.

Halloween over, Thanksgiving and Christmas are approaching like a roaring freight train. How was yesterday for you? Any thoughts on the upcoming holidays?


9 thoughts on “Getting Through a Childless Halloween

  1. I am sorry to hear that Halloween made you feel the way you did. It is a hard time.

    I always loved Halloween, and up until a few years ago my husband and I would dress up to give out candy to the kids in our neighborhood. Sadly, what changed my attitude towards Halloween was an incident that happened in our neighborhood. It was a new neighborhood for us, and we dressed up as we always had done. It seemed that our neighbors would all sit out in their driveways for Halloween and give out candy. This seemed nice and so we decided to sit out on our driveway as well. What seemed like a nice gesture by our neighbors turned out to ruin my perception of Halloween for a while. You see, they actually came out and made comments about our childlessness, without knowing me or why we did not have children. One said, “We have neighborhood get-togethers and we thought of inviting you, but since you don’t have kids, we figured you would not want to come.” Another said, “We wonder why you don’t come out when the kids are playing, but I guess it would be weird since you don’t have any.” At that time, my husband and I were still deciding if having children were in the cards for us, so without them knowing it (although rude in my opinion, no matter what), those words really stung bad. Since then, we keep our distance from our neighbors (although not hard to do; they are not the friendliest bunch). We no longer dress up, but we do still enjoy giving out candy and love seeing the kids dressed up. One day, when we move from the state we are in and hopefully live in a nicer place, we will dress up again and hopefully our neighbors will be kinder people too.


      • Yes, people need to think before they speak sometimes. It was very hurtful, especially at that time. Next year, definitely find a way to be a part of the holiday and let us know how it turns out. I hope it will be a better Halloween for you.


  2. Sorry to hear you had a tough time. As you say, go out and find them if that suits you best. Nobody calls at our house for Halloween, I think because we don’t decorate the house for it and we live on a main road (in the UK).

    I am having a tougher time with our Bonfire/Fireworks night (5th November). When we had our foster kids, we often had the cookup and fireworks for friends and family at our house. Now that the children are gone, I am home alone while hubby is out on his usual Saturday activity. We don’t see our friends anymore. They all do their own thing now, with their children’s friends and families. When we ended our fostering, hubby said not to worry. We would find new, childless, couple friends. He is clueless.


    • Husbands are usually clueless. I’m so sorry you’re having a hard day. When your friends’ kids grow up, they might come around again, but meanwhile, it’s a tough time for those of us who aren’t part of the mom club. Try to distract yourself until it’s over.


  3. We didn’t get invited to go trick or treating with our nieces and nephews. The regular night got cancelled and I had plans for the day Trick or Treat landed on. Without an invite, we didn’t know if they went or not. No one stopped by our house to show off their costume, even though Hubby was home. I was sad. Even if I couldn’t go – an invite would have been nice.

    I trolled Facebook thinking I’d see their pics, but none appeared. Turns out the older kids went with friends this year, and one of the younger ones from another family was sick. The third family decided to go solo and completely forgot about our house. The adults had a bunch of chatter between themselves. But we weren’t included in any of it. I get it – why would they consult the childless couple when the plans with their kids were up in the air? I mean it’s a “kid event” and not a “family event.” I really do “get” that. It just illustrates how truly inessential we are to THEIR plans.

    I’ll be honest – I’m not looking forward to the holidays this year. I’m going to fake it in real life and hope something changes inside me. But I’m tempted to instead fake illness on family parties this year and take care of myself. I complain often about my horrible family member, and my sadness over that situation has become unmanageable. I think it’s time to seek professional help and get my life – with children or without – back on track.


  4. I can relate. We never went all-out with the decorations or anything like that, but when we had our house, we always carved & set out a jack o’lantern & I loved handing out candy to the neighborhood kids. Bittersweet, to be sure, thinking about my own (stillborn) daughter & what age she’d be at, but at least I felt a part of things. However, we moved into a condo a year & a half ago where most of the residents are adults — either older retired people or young people renting or just starting out — and no trick or treaters at our door. We bought some candy the past two Halloweens, just in case, but wound up eating it all ourselves. It was very strange, just another day, & I felt very sad looking at all the photos of my friends’ & relatives’ kids & grandkids on Facebook & Instagram. I’m hoping that if/when some great-nieces & nephews come around, that their parents (our two nephews) will bring them over for some goodies, or invite us to see them off for trick or treating.


  5. The now-ex (diabetic no less) went waaay overboard on Halloween. Since he didn’t get to participate as a kid, he went all out on the treats as an adult. We gave out large quantities of everything, or he did. I tried to avoid it. He didn’t want to have kids in the marriage, but it was like he was almost smearing it in my face dealing with all the littles at Halloween.
    Now that he’s gone….with his substantial income…. I’m a bit stuck with the tradition in this small town. I’ve substantially reduced the amount given out because of my budget.
    I will say that it was less painful dealing with it this year WITHOUT his presence.


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