northstory + co

Halloween when you’re a Mom vs Halloween when you’re a Mom that blogs

I didn’t think Halloween was any different before and after I started blogging. I mean what could possibly change?

Insert laughing out loud.

See, last Halloween was the Ah-Ha moment when I realized how much of an influence having a blog has had on my expectations of Halloween. Especially the decorating part. For example:

What Halloween is like when you don’t have a blog.

  • Check your calendar. Halloween is in a couple of days. You don’t even flinch.
  • Go to the dollar store. Buy fake plastic chains and some creepy ghosts and plastic skeletons. Buy Caution Tape. Hang all of the above on the porch and front door.
  • Find the dress that your daughter wore once to a fancy event that you spent way too much money on and use dress up fairy wings you find in the toy box to make your fairy costume. Costume is done.
  • Wait until the day of Halloween to buy as much candy on clearance. Pack some in a bag for your kid to take to school to hand out to classmates. Forget to add To and From name tags.
  • Allow kids to carve their own pumpkins that wind up resembling nothing like a pumpkin face. Display them anyway.
  • Pour yourself a glass of wine and hand out what’s left of the candy you didn’t eat while surfing Pinterest for Halloween decor ideas and think “Hey I should try that next year…”

What Halloween is like when you’re a blogger.

  • Check your Calendar. It’s August. You’re already behind in your posts according to Martha Stewart’s call out for Halloween project submissions on Instagram. Panic.
  • Drag out of all the old Halloween decor that you DIY’ed last year from the dust covered box in your garage. Look at it in shame and think well “That was pinned last year, I can’t use it again.” Donate it all to your kids school Halloween dance for their decor.
  • Spend hours on Blogs and Pinterest making sure that your theme for this years decorations do not copy any other blogger. Cross off 99 out of 100 of your ideas.
  • Go to every craft store on the planet and gather as many mason jars as possible that you will tint orange and green to create a Halloween glow lighting show. It will be spectacular!
  • Work tirelessly on your kids Halloween costumes. Spend more gas money than the product is worth to find just the right jewelry piece for the costume that no one but you will ever really notice.
  • Scour You Tube makeup tutorials to match costumes. Debate asking your friends sister who is a makeup artist to come over and do a photo shoot before Trick or Treating.
  • Carve pumpkins to match your front porch, that now has a decor theme to match your kids costumes. Contemplate various techniques to extend the life of your Jack O’ Lantern that you spent a week carving
  • Make a personalized Halloween treat bag for all your kids schoolmates and neighbourhood kids on the block with bakers twine and carefully selected matching chalkboard printables.
  • Forget to drink wine and because you’re so stressed trying to get photos of your kids so you can edit a final Halloween post to get online before midnight while simultaneously noticing in horror on the Pinterest images on your phone that someone else already did your decor ideas last year.

I am being very facetious of course. But if you laughed even once, you understand what I mean.

Well, this is the year Halloween and I got a divorce.

See, what happened was last year’s Halloween caused an Ah-Ha moment. The one where I went “This has gotten out of control.” Please don’t get me wrong, I love to decorate and craft and so on and that’s not about to end. But something changed last Halloween. For starters Halloween last year lasted 20 minutes.

Twenty minutes.

That’s how long Trick or Treating was because we had a huge rainstorm complete with ice pellets and slush. It was beyond windy and freezing. And I remember sitting there after all the stress and all the pressure and thought, this isn’t the Halloween I want for my kids. This isn’t the Halloween of my childhood. So this year, I stopped. I really stopped. The only thing I focused on were my kids costumes because that’s a project that we both enjoy doing and for them, that’s the most important part next to trick or treating.

Then I let everything else just be. So that I could take in my “MOMents” with my kids.

And a funny thing happened. When I didn’t stress out about my porch decorations or if my Jack O’ Lanterns were unique, I wound up having the best Halloween decor that I could have asked for and I made NOTHING.

Instead I got to concentrate on my little Maleficent and Princess Aurora. And capture it all on my Nikon D3300.




And no matter if they are cute in their outfits, they’re still sisters – one who thinks the other took her costume and Maleficent role a little too seriously.


As for the non-DIY, non-stressful decorating, here’s what I did.

Carve the pumpkins, that were exactly the same patterns as 2 years ago then added some non-carved, unpainted mini pumpkins.

Halloween Front Porch Decor & Halloween Lighting - northstory

 ISO 4000, f/5.0,  1/60s

Fall Porch Decor - northstory

 ISO 1800, f/3.5, 1/30s

Scary Jack O' Lantern - northstory

ISO 4000, f/4.0, 1/40s

Evil Jack O' Lantern - northstory

ISO 5000, f/3.5, 1/30s

Hung up the chandelier and crow, that I used last year.

Halloween Chandelier with a crow - northstory

ISO 6400, f/3.8, 1/40s

The lanterns were already there as they stay out during the Fall and Winter for Christmas.

I even hung up our white Christmas lights on the birch tree branches vs buying Halloween lights.

Halloween decor using white lights and lanterns - northstory

 ISO 1600, f/3.8, 1/30s


 ISO 1000, f/3.5, 1/30s

Halloween Lighting using white Christmas lights - northstory

 ISO 1400, f/4.0, 1/40s

Halloween Porch Decor - northstory

 ISO 3600, f/3.8, 1/30s

The thing I love most about the Nikon D3300 is that they have this feature on it called a Guide located on the dial on the camera. So let’s say you’re having a hard time getting a shot with the lighting and exposure that you want. You can turn to the Guide and then choose the Scenery that you are shooting and the camera will automatically adjust it’s settings to the optimal ones for your given situation.

This is really helpful when you’re still learning photography because that way you can get a better handle on where your shutter speed should be and your screen on both the back of the camera and inside the viewfinder will tell you what it is. Taking photos in low light especially without a tripod is very tricky but this camera continues to blow me away with it’s impressive ability to compensate for poor lighting in all sorts of conditions. All of the above photos were taken handheld.

So how did this years Halloween go?

It was awful. No really.

It rained even harder, we had less kids show up trick or treating and it even wound up snowing overnight. My Maleficent got soaked despite having to bring an umbrella and leave her super cool Maleficent staff at home.

And my little Princess Aurora went to three – count ’em – 3 homes with my husband and said “Yeah I am done with trick or treating in this weather”, came home and spent the evening handing out treats with me. All while wearing her costume.

Halloween - northstory

But these are the real life MOMents, the ones that we remember. The ones would be awfully boring if they all were perfect.

They’re the ones looking back in 20 years that we’ll have beautiful photos to show of the 4th Halloween in a row where it was rained out, the funny story where my younger daughter refused to trick or treat and proved she is just like her Daddy who dislikes Halloween.

And how Mom discovered that Christmas lights make the best and least stressful Halloween decorations ever.

Disclosure: I am part of the Mom Central Canada Nikon MOMents team and I receive special perks as part of my affiliation with this group. The opinions on this blog are my own.

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  • Reply
    Caroline Fernandez (@ParentClub)
    November 3, 2014 at 3:04 pm

    I love the close up of the pumpkin and lights – impressive!

  • Reply
    November 3, 2014 at 3:11 pm

    Love it, Alex! You’re so right. Blogging DOES change our perspective on what is good enough, and what is “good enough for Pinterest”. Your pictures are outstanding, though. I love how well you captured the light when there wasn’t any.

    Good stuff!

  • Reply
    November 3, 2014 at 3:15 pm

    So true…I remember those days…your kids are so cute…Halloween looks great at your house.

  • Reply
    Kristen S
    November 3, 2014 at 3:22 pm

    I end up getting overwhelmed at the expectations for holidays, and end up doing nothing at all. AT ALL. Halloween saw a plastic pumpkin and a couple tea-light candles on the front stoop. #bloggerfail

  • Reply
    Jeannie Clemens
    November 3, 2014 at 3:44 pm

    Really captures the blogger in us. We moved to a country estate. I decorated like crazy, one of my new neighbors warned me sadly… we don’t get trick or treaters out here…. It didn’t really matter, the grands like it and I blogged it. LOL. We had 8 trick or treaters. HA.

  • Reply
    November 3, 2014 at 4:35 pm

    We were at my sister’s house this year. For weeks beforehand we planned what our family costume would be. We pinned porch decor. We had a plan. And then life got in the way. Less than an hour before her church’s trunk or treat event, the husband and I were at Walmart buying her kids costumes and candy to hand out. No decor for the car. I bought three small pumpkins. I don’t even know if they made it to the porch. My costume? A pair of Cleveland Browns pajamas.

  • Reply
    Lisa @ Fab Frugal Mama
    November 3, 2014 at 5:20 pm

    I love this post…I definitely laughed, too. I’m kind of a slacker when it comes to Halloween, but we always have fun. You’re right, it’s the unforgettable, unpredictable moments that matter. 🙂

  • Reply
    November 3, 2014 at 5:53 pm

    Your girls look like they had a great time and I’m so glad that it was way less stress for you!

  • Reply
    Heather Lynne
    November 3, 2014 at 7:43 pm

    Love it. 🙂 My 5 year old looked at a photo of your girls and said, “She looks beautiful! I like that fake crow.” 🙂

  • Reply
    January 18, 2015 at 9:24 pm

    So, this was hilarious. Because it’s so true! Having a blog definitely stays in the back of your mind when you’re doing EVERYTHING. Too funny. Loved the decor shots especially!

  • Reply
    December 22, 2016 at 7:52 pm

    I love how my daughter and your daughter love the villains! My daughter was the evil queen this year for Halloween and even met her at Disneyland in her costume. Your costume inspired me to make an evil queen and she lived in that costume for four months. Now she is interested in the Angelina Jolie Maleficient so we are transforming that costume into Maleficient. I saw your daughter in her costume and wondered if it was the same girl just older in the evil queen costume. Sooooo adorable and I love your creativity! You have really helped me this year!!! Thank you!

    • Reply
      December 29, 2016 at 9:49 am

      That is awesome and so great to hear! The villainess phase seems to be ending with her now that she’s much older but her little sister has taken that to a whole other level. I am so glad that it helped you out. I still get emails asking to buy the costume and I am like it’s in shambles right now in the back of a closet.

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