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! 


  1. Wow...I wasn't the only one who's mom sewed my Halloween costumes (1,2, or 3 too many years). I'm sure that's why I don't care for Halloween to this day - save for all the candy for my sweet tooth.

    Hmmmm, actually for me - perhaps its not that my mom made my own's that I would sometimes wear it more than 1 year b/c I didn't have massive growth spurts (and b/c she couldn't find the time EVERY year to make a new one).

    For our own brood, my better half prefers to make the kids costumes b/c it gives the kids a sense of creativity (& often participation in the making of it). Last year, our kindergartener was a mermaid - where her tail consisted of paper plates & tin foil...this year she's a "snow faerie" with different bits/pieces picked up over the summer. The toddler? he's a tiger airplane - a (hand-me-down) tiger outfit with cardboard-cut-out wings....

    Even though I don't love the festiveness of long as the lil ones love it - I can suck it up for a night. Bah. Hambug.

  2. I adore you for posting this when I'm supposed to be writing a contract for work. And I adore reading what you write!

  3. procrastinators, unite! thank you for your nice comment & hope it's not a long night for you.


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