Boo (hoo) Halloween

Halloween, when I was a kid, meant a home-made costume.  It meant a trip to Minnesota Fabrics, fittings and pins, and "hold still!"  It meant that we had some of the cutest costumes in our classes, but that I had an eight-year-old's guilty envy towards classmates who had store-bought costumes (which, come to think of it, echoed my feelings towards kids with store-bought birthday cakes.  I knew mine tasted better, but those gorgeous frosting roses were enticing).

As I've grown into mothering a bit and found myself responsible for how our family celebrates holidays, I've developed a real aversion towards holiday juicing.  It seems that mid-September through January is one giant festivus marked by store-bought, blinking tablescapes, inflatable lawn decorations and too much cheap candy.  Bah. Humbug.

I also realize I'm a total lunatic.  Accordingly, I don't care or judge what other families do, decorate, eat or wear.  We even enjoy driving around to gape at everyone else's lawn decorations. Then I enjoy breathing a sigh of relief and walking through my rather Spartan Indian-corn bedecked front door.

Hmmm... as I type this, I realize I may be less a humbug and more just lazy.  But, let's stick with the principled stance.

Not surprisingly,  I fall into the homemade costume camp.  I don't sew, so it's a bit challenging and I save my energy for babies too small to know what they are wearing or children old enough to somewhat appreciate it.  All that to say is that I bought a used costume for Rosie this year off my mommy list-serve.

Last year, Buzzy was a home-made ladybug.  As she took off her wings, she declared that next Halloween, she would be a kitty.  We smiled and tucked her in.  A couple weeks ago, I asked what she wanted to be this year and she looked at me like I'd forgotten her name.  "A kitty."  Specifically, as it turned out, "A pink, brown and white kitty with a tutu."

After a trip to G Street Fabrics, some how-to Googling and minimal swearing, I produced a cat costume. With her school party tomorrow, I tried her ensemble on her tonight.  She looked adorable.  Until she burst into tears.

"What's wrong, honey?"  I thought maybe I left a pin in somewhere.  But the problem was more elemental.

"I don't want to be a kitty this year."

"Oh.  Um, what would you like to be?"

"A princess," she wailed.  "Or Annie."

Hmmm...  one grandmother gave her a Disney Princess Belle costume for her birthday (ahem, the one who NEVER bought her own children store-bought costumes) and the other grandmother bought her an Annie costume for her birthday.  Buzzy is sort of musical-obsessed, and Annie is latest in the line-up.

Halloween, when I was a kid, meant I had no idea that I could change my mind after the trip to the fabric store.  I, however, assured Buzzy that she could be whatever she wanted for the school party, for a costume party on Saturday, and for Halloween itself.  She was worried I'd be sad, but I promised that she would not hurt my feelings one bit if she didn't chose the kitty.  I wasn't lying, either.  But--remembering the perfection of those frosting roses on my friends' birthday cakes--I do question how to foster an appreciation of original and creative things when the alternatives are so enticing.

Well, here's what I do know, at least:
(1) I should have focused my energy on Rosie--she's destructive, yes, but generally still amenable to my clothing choices, and
(2) I should have made Buzzy watch Cats before busting out my sewing scissors.

Happy Halloween! 

Four (Otherwise Known As the Birthday when I Abandoned All of My Principles).

If you ask Buzzy how she's doing, she'll enthuse, "I'm FOUR!"

Four years ago, I asked family and friends to go easy on the pink. I rolled my eyes at the Disney Princess Industrial Franchise. I envisioned wooden toys lovingly hand-carved, and one shelf to contain all of them. I planned to feed her whole foods, with sugar limited to an occasional treat.

Three years ago, Buzzy ate her first piece of home-made cake on her birthday. Her toys still fit on a couple of shelves. Pink crept into her closet, but there was nary a Disney character in our home.

Two years ago, Buzzy chowed down on cake and ice cream, and asked for seconds. We bought more storage for the playroom to contain a variety of plastic toys.

One year ago, Buzzy invited friends to celebrate her birthday with her. She devoured cake and ice cream, and licked the frosting off the candles. Her toys spilled out of the playroom, and we started finding My Little Ponies behind the sofa cushions. She only wore pink and purple.

One week ago, Buzzy invited her entire class, playgroup, and assorted family friends to her fourth Princess Birthday Party, which she'd been planning in detail for over six months. She wore a pink Belle costume, polyester and sparkly. There was a bouncy house, a face painter (who came with the bouncy for thirty bucks), a pinata, a six-foot square plastic sign of Belle, Cinderella, Snow White and one of the new princesses whose name I do not know that read, "Happy Birthday, Princess!" There was a conventional grocery store-bought cake with Crisco frosting and light-up princesses on it. 

And there was one very, very happy little girl. . .

And a mother who realized that it was worth eating a little crow to see the look of absolute joy on her daughter's face.