Juggling work and family, there are lots of corners one cuts. Beds go unmade, underwear is bought in bulk so that laundry never has to be done, and 8+ hours of sleep a night is the impossible dream. But, the one thing I cannot ever, ever scrimp on is Halloween. I could skip Christmas without shedding a tear, but Halloween must be celebrated full-on. It's the one holiday that comes without obligations. No family rifts have ever sprung up over Halloween-related issues. No one has ever shed a tear because you forgot to get them a Halloween card. No, your only obligation is to have as much frivolous, pointless fun as possible, kind of like Spring Break without the puking and STDs. For me, one of the pleasures of Halloween is getting to geek out on costumes. I have pretty much always obsessed about costumes, and tend to sink a huge amount of time into constructing them.
This kind of craftiness tends to be considered women's domain, and I have absolutely no idea why. People who do not do crafts have no idea how interesting and technical these projects can be. When one of your kids announces they want to be a dolphin, and you need to figure out how to take a few square feet of fabric and notions and make something that looks like a dolphin (a dolphin, mind you, not a shark, though they are both greyish sea creatures with pointy snouts), you practically need a degree in astrophysics to figure out how to do it. And you know what? There are probably millions of women out there effortlessly carrying out what is in essence a complicated engineering task, and they, unlike me, don't actually have degrees in astrophysics. It kills me that a large fraction of them have no idea that they're demonstrating all the spatial reasoning and innovation and using-of-complicated machines that scientists and engineers use every day. Likewise, I don't know why most guys tend to miss out on this. A well-crafted dolphin costume is immensely satisfying.