Every year my kids choose Halloween costumes. And every year, since they were about four, they have insisted those costumes be different than the ones they wore the year before. As if anyone remembers. But okay.
Off to the store we go in search of something good. Wait a minute — what am I saying? We don’t do that at all. Turns out I’m WAY too cheap to spend $20 each and every year for some half-sewn wad of polyester. No, it’s a rare day that we buy off-the-shelf goblin attire. Usually I send my children into the closet with a pair of blunt scissors and a Sharpie. “Be creative,” I say. And they are.
One year my son made a convincing Luke Skywalker outfit from nothing but a scrap of burlap and the core from an old roll of wrapping paper. My daughter looked just like Laura Ingalls Wilder in a dress made from pillowcases and strategically placed potholders. They have paraded the neighborhood as fairies, witches, ghosts and pirates. All without resorting to the Halloween aisle. But last year my girl settled on her dream costume long before we ventured into the closet. “I want to be a bunny rabbit,” she told me. Great, I thought. I started mentally planning: white t-shirt, blush pink nose, floppy rag ears, done. I was all for it until she added, “We can use ketchup for the blood.” I hadn’t factored in the blood. It soon became clear that my daughter didn’t want to be an ordinary bunny, but an evil bunny rabbit—the one from Monty Python. She wanted to be the bunny with the vicious teeth. If you haven’t seen the Holy Grail, you’ll find this all a bit demented. You see, there’s a bunny, lots of blood and an injured knight of the round table. (All very family friendly I assure you.)
Finding a happy medium
Although I’d rather she dress up as something a little less menacing, my daughter was intent on being evil. Who knew my cute second grader was a Halloween purist? I can’t blame her. Halloween is supposed to be scary. It’s fun to play evil. Who would you rather pretend to be — Cruella DeVille or the lame chick trying to save the puppies? Playing evil is fun because it’s make-believe. And we all know that real evil doesn’t wear
In the end, I was able to talk my angel of a girl into being a green-faced witch. She got to be scary, but traditional too, and in my opinion, sweet
This year she told me she wants to be a hot dog. So apparently she’s simply intent on splashing herself with ketchup. And she knows how to work the system.
Lela Davidson is an active mother and author who enjoys writing on imperfect parenting, marriage and all that goes inbetween.