Mel’s most recent Microblog Monday post (which I yet again missed participating in as Mondays are devoted to prepping Tuesday’s class) was about sucking at Hallowe’en.
The title grabbed me, as I was, for once, extremely confident that I was rocking at Hallowe’en this year.
Then I read the post and discovered that for Mel, sucking at Hallowe’en meant not being super creative with her choice of costume and opting for comfort over clever. Since it hasn’t occurred to me to dress up at Hallowe’en for more than a decade, my definition of sucking has to be different from hers.
We are largely minimalists in our Hallowe’en preparations at our house, a combination of lack of time (both), lack of creative skills (me) and a lack of interest (Q., who comes from a country where Hallowe’en was a non-event in his childhood and is only now starting to get a bit of a foothold thanks to the inundation of American culture). Q. is happy for me to do whatever I want to do, but finds the entire holiday deeply strange.
I buy the candy (and secretly eat too many tiny chocolate bars) and buy the pumpkins and carve the pumpkins with E. and roast the pumpkin seeds and organize E.’s costume and take him trick-or-treating. Q. stays home and hands out candy (and secretly hides the tiny Snickers to eat later).
I suspect this is our last year where our house boasts only one (or two, if I’ve felt ambitious) inexpertly carved pumpkins, as E., at six, is now cognizant of all the decorations on the other houses. He believes firmly that we should “make our house more scary” next year. I quite like the giant webs stretched over people’s front porches, complete with equally giant spiders lurking in the corners. I’d be happy to string something like that up next year, provided I can buy a pre-made web (see above re: lack of creative skills). I think Q. would draw the line at some animatronic monstrosity.
This year was especially complicated since a) P. was now in the mix and b) I teach on Tuesday nights, so would be unable to participate in any of the evening festivities. Luckily my youngest sister was in town and was happy to come and help out.
As of Monday morning, our house had no candy and no pumpkins. Despite discovering on Monday morning that our two closest grocery stores were out of pumpkins (although there was still plenty of candy), by Monday night all was sorted, and we’d even managed to carve the pumpkin after dragging it home after school (E. picked the largest one in the flower market and we were just able to get it home by draping the bag over the handle of the stroller to take some of the weight). E., like last year, drew the design for the pumpkin and (new this year) did some of the carving himself, as well as most of the scooping.
I felt like I spent most of Monday rushing around in a blind panic, but I was still utterly confident that we were going to have an amazing Hallowe’en because E’s costume was THE BEST.
Months ago, E. decided he wanted to be the Titanic for Hallowe’en.
He never changed his mind.
I haven’t been one to make E’s costumes in the past. He was a hand-me-down monkey his first year (when he didn’t go trick-or-treating), a shark his second (I picked that costume and purchased it), a bunny his third (the first year he decided what he wanted to be- a friend made him bunny ears and a bunny tail and I dressed him in brown), a monkey (again) his fourth (because he was insisting he wasn’t going to go trick-or-treating at all and I had a (different, larger) hand-me-down costume that we stuck on him when he changed his mind (predictably) on the day itself), a red snake his fifth (I ordered a snake mask from Etsy and made a tail of sorts by stuffing paper into one leg of a pair of red tights), and a witch his sixth (I ordered a witch’s hat online, stuck him in my graduate gown from the UK and handed him the child’s broom we have in the kitchen). My approach to costumes can best be summed up as “buy it and keep it simple”.
This approach doesn’t work when your child wants to be the Titanic, especially when your child is obsessed with the Titanic and has firm ideas about how the costume has to look (“The fourth funnel was a decorative funnel, so all the funnels have to have smoke coming out of them except for the fourth and it needs to have working red and green lights to show the port and starboard sides and an iceberg dangling off the side, but just the tip of the iceberg because most of it would have been under the water”).
Between E’s vision, his auntie’s creative genius, labmonkey’s willingness to use her Amazon Prime membership to purchase a captain’s hat at short notice, Q.’s deft touch with an electric drill, our surprisingly appropriate collection of craft materials, and my determination not to disappoint my kid, over the course of a couple of weekend afternoons, we built a Titanic costume.
And I am not going to #humblebrag here: it was AMAZING.
E. brought the house down at his school’s costume parade.
On Hallowe’en night, trick-or-treating with his baby sister, the shark (reusing his old costume!), he was a sensation.
He came home with a frightening amount of candy. “People gave me extra as soon as they saw the costume!” he told me the next morning.
He was SO happy.
He’ll probably remember that night forever.
I don’t think we’ll be able to top it- we’ve peaked at age six (either that or we’ve just set a very worrying precedent when it comes to creating unusual costumes from scratch).
It was so worth it.