Trying to recover from Halloween’s aftermath

By Jane Flanagan

It’s not easy being me. The recent Halloween season brought this home.

Anticipating the haunted holiday, I fantasized about carving a pumpkin with my son, making him a costume and enjoying “trick or treat.”

But I ran into a few problems.

First, the candy. I’m big on nutrition. Once a week I schlep up to Whole Foods in Chelsea to buy organic food. I want my son, now five, to grow up with less of a sweet tooth than I had and some sense that wholesome foods can taste good.

But my organic-mom crusade coincided with Halloween morphing into an epic event. When I was a kid, we had one day for trick or treat. This year, my son, Rusty, had seven events scheduled. All involving candy. At the end of two weeks of festivities, he had two grocery bags full of sweets.

I stuffed the loot into a high closet. Miraculously, Rusty seems to have forgotten about it. But what to do with it? Last year I stored the candy, planning to donate it to charity. But I couldn’t figure out what nonprofit would want it.

As for the costume, I began fantasizing about that last summer. Rusty would look so cute, I thought, in a costume I would make for him. Not that he didn’t have a request for a store-bought one: The Hulk. So when I found myself in a Toys ’R Us on Labor Day staring at the Halloween costumes on display, I almost bought the big green monster, just in case.

Just in case, because deep down I knew I had no time to shop for the materials for a costume, let alone make one. When the second week of October arrived and I’d made no progress, I panicked, realizing the drugstore ones would soon sell out. Luckily, we scarfed up a Spider-Man.

Rusty was enthralled with the drugstore superhero outfit. He WAS Spider-Man in that blue and red polyester garb. But it wasn’t sitting well with me. He wouldn’t look unique.

With three days to go to Halloween, I read an article in our paper about a professional costume maker who lives in Tribeca. “Oh, I should have called her,” I thought. But then I realized, it was not too late. He could have TWO costumes. Anyone with seven Halloween events should at least have two costumes.

But I couldn’t find the time to get over to her shop. I continued to obsess. Then I discovered she had a Web site. “Great,” I thought. I’d shop online from this woman who lived in my neighborhood. But then I didn’t have time to do that.

I finally gave up. Spider-Man it would have to be.

But at least I could decorate, I thought. A friend in the suburbs told me that people out there were now decorating for Halloween the way they do for Christmas. Giant blowup Frankensteins adorned lawns and orange and green twinkling lights draped houses. I live in an apartment, so couldn’t do that, but I could at least make a jack-o-lantern.

Back in mid-September on a trip to Connecticut, we picked up a pumpkin. Six weeks later, on Halloween evening, I found myself staring at the uncarved pumpkin sitting on my kitchen counter. With two minutes to trick or treat launch, I realized there would be no jack-o-lantern.

Halloween is long gone now, but not that candy. The other night, as I was putting away my Whole Foods groceries, I stumbled into the stash. It was late and Rusty was sound asleep. I peaked into a bag and spotted mini-Snickers bars in there. They’re not there anymore.