Did I scare you? Halloween, the one-day that young and old dress in costumes and assume an alter ego. The other day I took Monkey to pick out her Halloween costume. There are so many choices that it’s a bit overwhelming. Not only overwhelming in terms of what identity to assume for that day but also overwhelming in terms of where to buy a costume. It seems as though every store now sells Halloween costumes. Monkey’s store of choice to get her costume, Halloween Express. The big orange pumpkin sitting in the middle of the parking lot at State Fair Park is undoubtedly a lure to draw kids inside to costume heaven. It's a place where kids drag their parents so we can easily blow upwards of $35.00 on a costume that our child will wear once, maybe twice. This place has so many choices as to costumes; even the most finicky child is bound to find an alter ego to assume on Halloween. Rows and rows of plastic bags containing costumes hung from wire racks lead to cries of “I want to be . . . no, I want to be . . .” As parents, we stand there hope that our kids quickly decide on a costume so we can escape this madness.
When I was a kid there weren't as many choices in Halloween costumes as there seems to be today; clowns, witches, ghosts, cowboys and princesses seemed to be the norm. We wore a flammable nylon costume with sharp edged plastic mask held on our faces by a giant rubber band that could also double as a sling shot; you know, to fling something at those people that handed out the bad candy; one small Tootsie Roll or some plainly wrapped mystery candy.
Our costumes weren’t sold in fancy Halloween stores. We bought costumes that came in boxes with a small clear cellophane window so we could see only the mask that peeked through that small window. We knew it was close to Halloween when we saw those boxes lined up on tables in Woolworth’s. I was so happy when my Mom took me there to buy me my first boxed costume, a clown costume.
For many years I wore a homemade costume. It wasn’t that my parents couldn’t afford the store bought costume. Year after year I was in a homemade costume because my Mom thought it was fun to make a costume and dress me up as a pumpkin. Thanks Mom. What was she thinking????
Put your fat kid in a bright orange pumpkin suit and send me out to get more candy. For years my alter ego was a candy craving fat kid in a pumpkin costume. Wait a minute . . . that wasn’t an assumed identity just for Halloween; it was reality! Okay, the only difference between reality and my assumed identity, other days I didn’t wear orange tights and have a stem on top of my head.
I don’t know the last time that I saw a kid in our neighborhood walking around in a homemade pumpkin suit. Today’s kids can be whatever they want. From the traditional costumes that we wore to Superheroes, Hannah Montana, SpongeBob, or one of the Cheetah Girls, trick or treat brings candy, fun, and plenty of disguises.
So after looking at what seemed to be hundreds of costume choices inside the large State Fair Park parking lot pumpkin, the madness ended when Monkey finally decided on a costume. As we walked out, I made a couple of observations. Halloween is everything to a kid and picking out the perfect costume is part of the fun. Monkey couldn't wait to tell her friends what her alter ego will be. Second, I realized that I am part of the madness. I should have a straight jacket as a costume. I must be insane. I am one of those parents who helped stimulate the economy by easily blowing upwards of $35.00 on a costume that will be worn twice. Oh well, anything for my little Monkey, or should I now say, Batgirl.
Thankfully, she did not ask for a homemade costume. Why am I so thankful for this? Because all I would know how to make is a pumpkin costume!