Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Costume Change

It’s time for Halloween.  I like it - the cool fall air, earthy pumpkins, spiced cider, spooky decorations, all that wonderful candy, and the costumes.  Halloween is one of my top favorite holidays of the year, except for that one last element.  Seriously.  The costumes are ruining it.

Holidays, like beauty treatments, are ranked in my mind on a spectrum of most difficult, therefore least favorite (Valentine’s Day and bikini waxing) to easiest and best liked (Easter and haircuts).  In addition, in my holidays I like a combination of candy-centric celebrations and nice weather.  Easter, with all its chocolate-and-peanut butter egg glory, its mark as the end of winter and the beginning of a new life in spring, has always been my favorite.  Halloween, joined by cozy dark nights and beautiful autumn foliage, and again its never-ending candy-filled grandeur, has always been a close #2.

Every year on November 1, my children, fresh from trick-or-treating and resultant sugar comas, announce what they are going to dress as for next Halloween.  Their pupils dilate with excitement as they rhapsodize about next year’s costume designs that will be so mind-blowingly spectacular that they will receive a million times more candy than this year. These ideas change one thousand times from November 1 to October 30 the next year, as they come up with a range of costumes from the simple and straightforward to those with a craftiness level at which even Martha Stewart would struggle.

When the kids were little, things were easy costume-wise.  I squeezed my daughter into an increasingly stretched-out black cat costume three years in a row.  My son was a ghost twice, and something with a black cape twice.  If face paint was needed, we used the same makeup kit for all their personas.

As they got older, things got harder.  Costume catalogs started showing up in the mail, and my kids would hoard them in their rooms and pore over pictures of kids dressed as superheroes and the latest licensed characters, and beg to send away for them.  And we did.  I’m not particularly crafty, and figured that $39.99 was worth it if I didn’t have to figure out how to make a Boba Fett mask.   All was going reasonably well until their universes started to expand.

My son decided that he was going as a different well-known person two years in a row.  Now, unless you are going as “celebrity” or “rock star,” a costume as a real person can be pretty labor-intensive.  You’ve got to go for the hair, the clothing, any specific accessories, shoes and props to really resemble a person.  Unfortunately, we do not have access to SNL’s treasure trove of wigs and jewelry and clothing that make one famous person uncannily resemble another famous person. So during the month before Halloween, I find myself combing every thrift store in a 50-mile radius for items for my kids’ costumes.  I find myself thinking around mid-October that if only those costume catalogs carried the costumes my kids want, I’d pay anything.

Maybe I’m too obsessive with getting the details right.  It’s possible.  All I know is that at this point in time, at just under three weeks before Halloween, I know what my kids want to be, and I got nothing.  I also know that Halloween is slowly moving down the list of favorite holidays this year.

Oh well.  Halloween is safe as long as Valentine’s Day is in the picture.  Suck it, Valentine’s Day.  You always lose in my book.



  1. I love why Valentine's Day isn't your favorite holiday! LOL!! Maybe Halloween would move up the ranks if you didn't bikini wax and went with a costume... cave girl? LOL. Or to be nice to your hubby, geisha girl or masseuse. I love Halloween too!! Can't wait to put up the decorations!!

  2. You've really given me a lot to think about with the hair angle - I do have to come up with my own costume this year. Thanks! :)

  3. Oh Andrea, this made me bust a gut! Is that Bon Jovi??


    Because I am a fool, and I love to be the court jester.

    This year, I am the sexy spider woman.