Many many years ago, someone somewhere dreamed up this whole idea of Halloween and trick or treat and costumes. And somewhere that person is laughing at the cruel joke they unknowingly played on parents since that very day, because Halloween has becoming an all-consuming holiday and all I usually get out of it are a couple of lousy handfuls of the reject candy.
Traditionally costumes were as easy as throwing on a scary mask or cutting a couple of holes in an old white sheet. You’d make them out of materials lying around the house. But life goes on and at some point progressed into a multi-million dollar business that stresses me out starting early October.
When it comes to my children and their costumes, there are a few things to think of,—basically the who-what-where-when-why-how questions that got us all through journalism class in high school.
Who. Who are they going to dress as? This changes as often as they change their underwear. (OK, actually more often than the underwear. I’m being honest.) It has to be “unique” and of course, “totally awesome.”
What. What are the odds of this costume being feasible? In seventh grade I wanted to be a foot for Halloween. (I’m not making this up.) And praise my parents, they actually helped me construct a full foot with my head being the big toe out of carpet foam. If my kids asked to be a foot I would have told them they already smelled like one and to move on to another idea.
Where. Where am I going to get this costume? Is it something I should attempt to make myself? As much as I enjoy crafting and sewing, the amount of time and energy that goes into a home creation just does not exist in my life. Can I buy this costume? Should I have ordered it online months ago and now if I want to get it I’ll have to pay $300 on eBay?
When. The timing of the costume purchase is of extreme importance. It’s a gamble and a balancing act between parent and child, between supply and demand. If the whole world wants to be a Smurf, there’s a chance that if you wait too long to purchase a costume there won’t be any left. Conversely, if you buy one in late September, I’ll bet you a mini Snickers bar that your kid will change his or her mind and by the time trick or treat rolls around, they’ll be pouting in the corner because being a Smurf has morphed into something STUPID. So you have to wait until just the right time to get a costume and hope with all your might that there are still decent options left or else your kid will end up being the death princess or the prison zombie (this actually happened to us. I have the costume to prove it.)
Why. From costume aisles everywhere you will hear screams that sound something like this. “WHY IN THE WORLD AM I SPENDING SO MUCH MONEY ON SOMETHING YOU ARE LITERALLY GOING TO WEAR FOR 2 HOURS AND SPILL APPLE CIDER ON AND THEN WAD UP AND TOSS IN A BOX IN THE ATTIC WHERE IT WILL GET MOLDY AND I WILL JUST END UP THROWING IT OUT AND WHY CAN’T YOU JUST HIKE YOUR PANTS UP HIGH AND PUT TAPE ON SOME GLASSES AND BE A NERD? WHAT’S WRONG WITH THAT?”
How. And finally, when it’s all over, you sit there with your kid’s wadded up prison zombie costume while he sleeps soundly in a sugar crash on the floor. You raise your glass of apple cider (which may or may not be hard) and surrounded by candy, you think to yourself that in the end it’s all worth it. But HOW in the world are you going to stop yourself from stealing all of the good stuff out of their candy stash?