Halloween is my absolute favorite holiday. It has no agenda. No religious affiliation (except for Pagan perhaps). No demands. No rules. Well, there’s one rule, at least for me. If you want to get candy from this house, you better be wearing some sort of discernable costume. But that’s it.
Halloween is for the pure fun of it, and that’s what makes it completely different from every other holiday and just about any other thing we do in life (it’s in line with vacation but that you have to schedule and it’s a departure from your regular life). Halloween, though, is scheduled for us and is expected of us as a routine part of our lives. The government and calendar companies tell us once a year we are expected to dress up in the most ridiculous or funny or creative or abominable get-ups we can find and parade around the streets demanding candy from strangers just because we look ridiculous or funny or creative or abominable. And everybody goes along with it.
Who came up with this? And how genius were they? Halloween is celebration for celebration’s sake. And I’m down with that.
Growing up every Halloween my sister and I made our own costumes. And they were pretty darn good even though I’m not at all artistic. Turns out you can create anything out of a cardboard box and a little poster board. One year I was a self-addressed stamped envelope (poster board) while my friend was a mail truck (cardboard box). My proudest moment though came when I went as a giant boom box (again, cardboard box). I spray painted the box silver, glued on knobs and switches from stuff I found in the garage and used some mesh wire to make speakers on either side. I even had a small radio hung by rope around my neck, resting underneath the costume so I could actually play music.
As I grew older my love of the holiday never faded, rather it grew stronger, and in my twenties when invited to a Halloween party I once again made my own costume. I also forced my boyfriend to do the same. We went as the sun and the moon – my idea. The costumes were made out of…you guessed it – Poster board! We dressed all in black with glow-in-the-dark stars stickers pasted all over our sleeves and pants. Then we hung the poster board cutouts – front and back – attached by string over our shoulders. My costume was pretty straight forward, but I jazzed up my boyfriend’s crescent moon costume by attaching a little triangular piece of poster board to a black knit skull cap for the very tip of the moon so his little face popped out of the moon as part of the costume. And he still married me.
Now, my costuming days are over, but I can still live through and force my will upon my children. (Although I’ll never be as cruel and mean as my friend’s mom.) In the early years and for as long as I could I forced my kids (my daughter until she rebelled around age 4 and my son until about last year because he’s very easily persuaded, which I used to my advantage, and because he is adopted so I didn’t get to dress him up his first few years and I had to make up for lost time) to wear the costumes I wanted.
My daughter would never be a princess if I could help it. Instead, I stuffed her into whatever padded, round, fluffy animal costume I could get my hands on. At 5 she realized she was being bamboozled and demanded I allow her to be Gabriella from High School Musical. Fine. I just turned my attention to my son and continued my pattern of enforced Halloween costuming on him.
But, seriously, what is cuter than a little kid in a bunny costume?
Nothing. Except maybe a kid in a chicken costume.
And, now, I present you Halloweens through the years:
And then we enter the pirate stage of life, which we are currently still in and which evoked a life-long obsession and an ardent love affair with the movie Pirates of the Caribbean.
The following year we find a very creative use of a box, and thus begins the homemade phase of Halloween costumes.
Not bad, right? We even had a mini coke can (not pictured) we hung from the opening.
And the next year.
I couldn’t trust Crazy to make his own costume, and anyway what he picked out was way better than anything I could have come up with. I present you, The Mad Scientist.
It suits him perfectly.
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