Mad Scientist, The Scarecrow, the Bride of Frankenstein's Monster, light-up jack o lantern, and Robert Smith.
This may be my favorite so far.
Rick and I decided to dress up at the 11th hour. When I had my head upside down to coat every strand of hair in laquer while rubbing it all into knots, I had pleasant flashbacks to getting ready for school every morning in 1988. I'll tell you, today's spray waxes and creme pomades are crap for making your hair stick up. I begged Rick to run to the grocery store and get me some old fashioned hair spray in a can.
On Halloween afternoon I went to Whole Foods and the employees were dressed up. Most had kitty ears or a mask of some sort, but our cashier looked professionally done, right out of a movie. She was a bald, pointy eared, snow white vampire. It was amazing. She must have spent hours and hours doing it. I was gobsmacked at her fortitude. But then I recalled the half day I spent cutting pieces of packing tape and wrapping up each cut end of each chicken wire hexagon on that giant pumpkin and I knew we were of the same tribe.
Garrett almost didn't dress up and go trick or treating this year. I tried not to express my despair at this too overtly, but the crying fit I pitched on the kitchen floor might have given my feelings away. In the end, he chose a persona he had done before, the Mad Scientist, only this time he wanted a two headed animal experiement to carry around.
At the thrift store, he chose an old Build A Bear and two Sanrio pink bunny things that smell like strawberry shortcake dolls. It was a bit shocking to the girls to see me slicing the bear's head off, and when I remembered that every Build A Bear has a heart stuffed down inside it, the kids all screamed with joy/horror as I dug it out and held it up like a sacrificial prize. The moment was infinitely more delicious when we all saw the words printed on the tiny, dead heart which read "I love you".
Brenna chose an awesome costume this year from the Martha Stewart halloween issue. This is the first time she has chosen to be something Halloweenish so I was really excited. When she was 2, I dressed her as a little devil with a cape and stuffed red sequined horns. They fit her personality so well that after Halloween I sewed the horns to her regular red winter coat that she wore until spring. When we were out, people loved them, because all 2 year olds should have tiny little horns on their clothing.
The biggest expense was the makeup. I wanted her to have real, quality make up for her lips and eyes. I was not prepared for how amazing and grown up she would look. And that shade of lip stain is so perfect on her. I could never pull that off. I've always been jealous of her full lips, but it wasn't until tonight that I knew for sure that someday, when we are walking together 10 or 15 years from now, people will say, why is that poor beautiful young lady being followed by a troll? Get the troll!
Ellery wanted to be a "light-up pumpkin" like she saw Lola do in a Halloween episoide of Charlie and Lola. This is a cartoon. Make believe. I studied how Lola did it, hoping to gain some real instructional material, but what Lola did was move her giant orange paper Japanese lantern from her ceiling to over her head.
I eventually made a chicken wire form and covered it with fabric. Her "candle" is one of those push-lights you can hang anywhere, velcroed to an elastic band. Chicken wire is so hard to work with. I had no idea. After the first day my hands felt like I worked in a razor blade and lemon juice factory.
Oh, but it was worth it.
Rick wore the Scarecrow mask I made him years ago when the Batman movie came out. I should have given him a little vial of baby powder to throw in strangers' faces as we walked. People would have REALLY loved that.
When I started putting makeup on, Brenna had this look on her face that betrayed a fear that Mom might try to upstage her a little. I said, honey, don't worry; I promise you will look so much prettier. Because actually, I'm dressing up as a man.
Anyone who didn't catch who I was probably just thought I was a junkie. I told one woman I was Robert Smith and she said, "Oh yeah! From The Smiths!" Uh...
Every year I swear that I am not getting sucked in to making elaborate costumes from scratch, or I swear that I'll make the kids put something together from their own stuff if they can't find one they like in a store. Every year around October 30th I start really freaking out and making long lists of each detail that still needs finishing, because Garrett's birthday is 2 days after Halloween and it's always hectic to make sure all those ducks are in a row. And every October 31st I declare this Halloween to be the last all-homemade costume halloween ever.
But once it's all done and it's 6 o'clock and I see the kids in the costumes they wanted or designed themselves, I know that I do this not because I want to be a "perfect" mom or because I don't want to disappoint the kids, but because dressing up is something our family does year round and we can't help it. Halloween is up there on our priority list, the way other more important things are up on other families' priority lists. We take it seriously, like the Whole Foods Vampire, just without her time and budget. Other things definitely fall by the wayside during Halloween week, like clean clothes and dinner. And that's fine. They can eat in November.