Ah, Halloween, that time of year when I try to reconstruct my own magical childhood memories and force them on my kids. I’m aware there is a big difference between carrying on traditions and trying to recreate and relive a memory. And I think I’ve been blurring the line between these two ideas. I know, this sounds oddly familiar, doesn’t it? Yes, that’s right; I did this last year, and the year before, and the year before that. Oh, and at Christmas, and birthday parties, and just about any other special event. You think I would learn.
Anyway, Back to Halloween… You will like Halloween, and you will like it the way I say so.
It all starts with the costume. The whole reason I learned how to sew was to be able to make my kids Halloween costumes like my mom did for my brother and me. This was going to be an opportunity for my own creative outlet too. I didn’t want to make a simple bunny costume or a princess dress. I wanted to think up something a little different.
Ellie’s first Halloween, she was a werebaby. Her second Halloween we were in Japan. Even that didn’t stop me from having unrealistic expectations. However, we did get to go to Tokyo Disneyland a few days before Halloween, so how could I be disappointed? And then two years ago she was a robot ballerina. It lit up and everything! And she loved it. I couldn’t wait to dream up something kooky for the following year. But the next year she wanted to be Snow White. Snow White? Just a princess? You mean, like a robot Snow White, right? An evil Snow White? The witch from Snow White? No?…
To top it off, she didn’t even want to go trick-or-treating. Oh boy. This was not my child.
That was last year though. This year would be different. This year she’d want to be something cooler, and want to hit the streets for some candy. I knew it. I’d make sure of it. I’d steer her in a certain direction so she’d a pick a Halloween costume I found acceptable and that I wanted to make.
“Ellie, what do you want to be for Halloween,” I asked.
“Elsa!” she said with a big smile followed by, “and Chloe will be Anna!”
At this point Chloe chimed in with an excited, “Anna!”
I knew there was no coaxing her into a different idea. Once something goes Frozen, you just can’t argue it. There would be no robots, space invaders, witches, vampires, or two-headed monsters. I just needed to “Let it Go.” Which I eventually did.
With the costume settled, I needed a plan to get these done. I knew two making dresses was way out of my league, so I enlisted my mom for reinforcement. I gave her the more complicated one too. You’re welcome. This was a good call too because she finished the dress in the same amount of time it took me to just cut the pattern out.
While she may have had the more difficult dress, she didn’t have to deal with the glitter. So. Much. Glitter. It looked like I killed a unicorn in my house. It was on my hands, on my face, on my clothes, and in my hair. I should have dressed up as a sparkly vampire from Twilight for my costume. Team Edward, am I right? I was hoping all this effort would pay off and my unrealistic expectations wouldn’t be crushed.
After a long weary night of fussing with zippers, glitter, and spending way too much on a homemade costume, I was finished. I’d be shedding glitter for weeks, but I was finished. And to see the look on her face when she wore it was priceless! Chloe on the other hand, wanted nothing to do with the dress my mom made.
She smiled at it, but didn’t want to wear it. We tried everything to bribe her to wear it, but she just smiled coyly and said, “No.”
And to complicate matters, the night before Halloween (more like 3 am Halloween morning) Ellie announced she was canceling Halloween. Not again!
“I don’t want to go trick or treating,” she bawled while in bed not being able to sleep.
This statement didn’t change when morning came either. She wasn’t going to go trick-or-treating. She was just going to hang out in her dress. I had one kid who didn’t want to wear her costume and one kid who didn’t want to leave the house. Mix in some cold, rain, heavy winds, and a wife who had to work late, and it was shaping up to be a pretty awesome Halloween. Womp womp…
In the end, as usual, it all worked out (big surprise, it always ends this way). We bullied Chloe into her costume which later she didn’t want to take off. We didn’t go trick-or-treating, but my parents, brother and sister-in-law came over too, so Ellie spent a good chunk of the night pretend trick-or-treating with Aunt Kristen and Uncle Pat. Also, one of Ellie’s pre-school friends felt bad that Ellie didn’t want to go out and brought her a bag of candy. Aww. It was very sweet and just too adorable. Not to mention my mom brought her famous Halloween chili for dinner, too.
All-in-all, I’d consider us Hallowinners (not to be confused with Halloweiners). It’s ok for me to have my own memories and keep them close to my heart, but it’s ok to let go and let Ellie and Chloe have their own too.
But maybe next year we can do without Tinkerbell puking all over the house.