I miss shitty Halloween costumes. These kids nowadays will never know the joys of rifling through the back of their parents’ closet, discovering a cowboy hat, an old wig, a fishing vest, and a pair of sequined stilettos and thinking “Yes! I’ve found my costume!”
I know, I’m sounding a bit like an Old-Man-Johnson-type. I’m practically having to cover my mouth so I don’t mutter “get off my lawn.” Good thing I don’t have a cane to shake. Oh wait- I do have a cane, and that would be a great accessory for a costume!
Growing up, my family took great pride in assembling costumes. We might splurge on a mask or a hat, but the rest of the outfit was salvaged or sewn. My mother’s favorite trick was to start with an outfit that was already kind of costumey, such as a football uniform or chef ensemble. Then paint our eyes black and our faces white- Poof! Now I was a ghost chef. My brother was a ghost football player. I love that ghost football player used to be a legitimate costume.
We were the kids who always won the “most unique” costume award, meaning kids did not know what the hell we were. In first grade, my mom had sewn an elaborate pioneer costume for me, to appear in a school pageant. In second grade, I wore the Old West ensemble, but my mom painted my face green. I was a “pioneer ghoul.” Yup, most unique. My brother was supposed to be a mad scientist, but my mom put him in some kind of crazy black curly wig and mustache, his fake blood resembled tomato sauce, so he opted for mad pizza chef instead. Another year, an old plaid suit somehow made it into our home. Thus, zoot suit goblin was born.
Times have changed, and I grudgingly accept that. Most parents are so swamped between work, parenting, and a limited social life, that making a costume is the last thing on their lists. Why would they spend the effort and money constucting an ill-fitting, bewildering, uncomfortable costume when they can go to the store and spend a mere $20 and ten minutes for their child’s hearts’ desire?
Therein lies my problem. Growing up, buying your costume was out of the question. Only parents who didn’t love their kids bought them the cheapy printed trashbag with a plastic mask costume (at least that is how my youthful mind understood it). It is drilled into me that I need to make my kid’s costumes, as a show of my affection for them. Ok, psycho, but fair enough. If only I had the skills to do that.
Last year, it was my second child’s first Halloween. I was feeling sentimental about being a “complete” family. I thought the best way to illustrate this was a family costume. Yes, I just vomited a little myself. Living in Arizona with two small kids, I wanted something easy, simple and comfortable. I got the bright idea to make them into pizza slices! I’d just sew them onto their t-shirts, and bam! Instant cute.
The larger the pizza slice, the less adorable. It looked great as a onesie. Ok as a toddler shirt. But I was not going to force my husband and I, full grown adults, to wear giant pizza slices. No, that was way too dorky. Instead, I opted for shirts that read “pizza delivery.” I didn’t spice it up with a “Mama G’s Pizza” or “Little Italy’s.” Nope, just “pizza delivery,” as if we just stepped off the set of a D’Giorno Pizza commercial.
This year, Liam wants to be a fireman. Way out of my skill range. Against my judgment, I bought a firefighter outfit. But I can’t stop there. I HAVE to make something. So, I am attempting to craft a firetruck out of a cardboard box. It’s floppy, covered in tape, and slathered in red paint that does not quite cover the writing underneath. But I will strap some suspenders to it and force that kid to parade around, while his friends adorn perfectly constructed store bought costumes titled “toddler pumpkin princess” and “youth superhero.”
I’m not forcing the family costume, but I can’t help but get his brother into the firefighter act. I’m attempting to sew some sort of Dalmatian shirt for him. I thought it would be as simple as sewing a hood, attaching it to a t-shirt and putting spots on it. But once again, my shitty skills fail to think it through. I got as far as attaching the hood to the shirt. A t-shirt collar normally stretches. When I sewed the hood to it, the thread does not have the same stretchy give as the shirt. The result- he can’t fit it over his head.
Will I relent, and buy a Dalmatian costume? Of course, not. I’ll most likely draw some spots directly on his skin with a magic marker, and scowl at the kids in their plush, furry costumes, sneaking chewed gum on their chair seats.
As a side note, my post might not seem so well thought out today. Liam refuses to nap, which of course inevitably wakes Kellen. I’ve got one kid who just shit on the floor and another who is trying to fish in the toilet bowl, and I’m on day three of no afternoon beer break. Why on Earth am I attempting to make Halloween costumes? Oh childhood memories giving way to “not good enough mommy” guilt- why do you torment me!!!
That’s the end of today’s rant. Get off my lawn!