I’ve been thinking about Halloween costumes a lot lately. (Not alot. A lot.) This is because I’ve been warned (scared? threatened?) that children’s Halloween costumes are sold out by mid-September so if I want Gracie to be anything remotely adorable and store bought I better get to getting while the getting is hot. So to speak. Something. I need to buy a damn costume.
Growing up my Mom made all of my Halloween costumes. Every single one. And she was good. She admits now that the inside hems left nothing to be desired, but every year in September my brother and I would put our requests out there and Mom made it happen. One year I requested to be Ariel and she sewed me this awesome green shiny fin, teased my hair up and sprayed it red, sewed shells all over a one piece swimsuit and generally made me the coolest costume ever. I once wanted to be a unicorn and she French Braided my hair with tinsel to make me a mane, made a paper mache horn and and a tinsel and yarn tail. Leggings, a sparkly leotard and some glittery face paint later and boom, unicorn.
It wasn’t her fault that I didn’t always pick so well. Like the four years in a row I begged to be Nancy Drew and she refused because she (perhaps correctly) pointed out you can’t really dress up as Nancy Drew. Well you can but no one will know who you are. I suggested I could just carry a milk crate around, full of all my Nancy Drew books, but yeah…..I see now why that wasn’t the best solution to the problem. Trick or treating with a box of books! Genius!
One year I decided I wanted to be Cinderella’s Fairy Godmother. Not Tinkerbell. Not any other Disney fairy…no…Cinderella’s Fairy Godmother. The older lady, plump, with white hair and a blue mumu. So my Mom sprayed my hair white, put it in a bun, made me a blue mumu (with a white velvet ribbon to trim the sleeves, I was very specific) and a wand. She taped some pillows around my midsection. Boom. Cinderella’s elderly Fairy Godmother.
It should be no surprise that despite a plethora of awesome homemade costumes that rivaled anything you could buy, I always begged for a cheap store bought Disney princess dress from the store. Mom always refused (I’ll make you one!) and I was envious of the 32 Belle/Jasmine/Pocahontas versions out Trick or Treating.
After this first Halloween of store-bought awesome I have a big decision ahead of me: are we a store bought or homemade kind of family? Do I glue my fingers together and curse under my breath while creating something that has to adapt to Chicago’s variant October 31 temperature (65 degrees! Or snow!) and fit and not be a tripping hazard…and create awesome memories like mine? Or do I allow the shiny plastic storebought kits of polyester princess/superhero variety? And will my kid be happy either way or is the grass always greener on the other side?