By: Aimee Hutchison
Halloween never scared me…until I became a parent.
Is it the urban legends about razors in the candy? Or poisoned caramel apples? Or tootsie pops stuffed with PCP? Or maybe it’s the idea of parading children around the neighborhood in the dark and basically forcing them into strangers’ homes?
Nope. Those are all just part of the fun.
For me, it’s something much bigger, much more intimidating, and with a much longer lasting impact.
It’s the costumes.
To begin to truly understand this, I need you to imagine for a moment that you are someone who has creativity but lacks the ability to carry it out. You know those BuzzFeed lists with the epic Pinterest fails? Imagine there was an entire list dedicated just to you. Can you picture it? Pretty scary, right? Welcome to my reality. (Think I’m exaggerating? Remind me to show you the picture of my deviled eggs with black olive spiders on top.)
The pressure to have the perfect costume was hard enough pre-Pinterest when I was only responsible for dressing myself. Historically, my costumes have gone the simple-but-clever route. I appreciate things that I can create using my own wardrobe and that are comfortable but also make some sense. For example, one year I wore a T-shirt with the words, “Go Ceilings!” handwritten in sharpie (Ceiling Fan). A personal favorite involved simply a white sheet with holes cut out (Classic Ghost). In a less than proud moment, I went to a college party dressed in a bathrobe and carrying a rubber ducky (umm…Bathtub Girl?). Ok, I admit that last one was a cop out, but I didn’t have the energy to do the sexy polar bear thing or whatever it is I was supposed to do. I tried the sexy thing one year. I don’t like to talk about it.
So now, let’s fast forward several (ahem) years to Halloween as a mom.
Year One (10 months old) I was able to get away with my old tricks. Is that a Superman onesie? Perfect. Slap some hair gel on that baby, and let’s snag some candy! Year Two (22 months old) we got lucky enough to be super into Paw Patrol. Dig out those Marshall PJs, get a free fireman hat for eating at Jerry’s subs, cut out some black felt for ears, and snag some candy! Year three was where things started to get tricky. At that point, I had an almost 3-year-old and a 1-year-old. I figured asking my oldest would be helpful. Surely, he would give me something I could work with.
October 1st– “I wanna be a pilot.” Hmm…I can work with that. But, I’m going to give him a couple of days in case he changes his mind.
October 5th– “I wanna be Snoopy.” Ok…yeah that can work. And baby brother has the perfect round head for Charlie Brown. Oh, and I think I’ve got a yellow polo around here somewhere. Awesome, kid. Now we are onto something!
October 15th– “I wanna be a pilot.” Wait, wait. What happened to Snoopy?? I bought felt!
“Yeah. A pilot Snoopy.” He points to the TV where Snoopy is atop his doghouse with goggles and scarf fighting off the Red Baron.
Well, shit. This was a whole new level of costume creation that is definitely not in my skill set. I could almost taste the Pinterest fail.
I casually mentioned this to my husband who paused for a minute before saying, “I’m going to need a cardboard box.”
To be honest, his sudden dedication to this task made me both nervous and amazed. I know that his father is the type of man who would spend days contemplating and measuring and planning before executing a project, but I didn’t know how much of this trait my husband had inherited. One thing I did know—if this was going to get done it was not going to be done by me, so I held my breath and handed him the box.
After days of cutting and measuring and painting, we had our Snoopy doghouse ready to be strapped to our son’s shoulders for the whole 3 minutes we could convince him to keep it on. Thankfully, that was long enough for him to win a costume contest and bragging rights for Mom. (Yeah, I took some credit. I mean I did buy him the white long johns. Without those he would have just been a kid inside of a red box.)
Sounds like a happy ending, right? Let’s remember, however, that up to that point we had only done a mere 3 years of costumes. By my calculations that leaves us with approximately 8-10 more years before my sons can do their own costumes. So now what we have here is a tricky little problem known as “precedent.” It won’t be long, too, before Little Brother starts to request the intricate costumes as well. What if as they get older the ideas get bigger and bigger? What if the demands of shaping cardboard boxes into works of masterful art become too much for my poor husband, and he runs away to Japan (where they don’t celebrate Halloween) never to be seen or heard from again? And then my poor children will be forced to wear whatever PJs happen to loosely relate to some theme that their mother conjures up in her mind leaving them to have to explain their costumes to everyone who asks and endure the polite smiles and nods of the people who just don’t get it? What if I have to make deviled spider eggs again!?!?!?! The horror!!
So now here we are, 2018, and on the cusp of another terrifying season.
“What do you want to be for Halloween this year?”
“The Polar Express!”
Sigh…I’ll get the cardboard.
Don’t worry, Little Brother. Mama has the perfect robe for you.