Thursday, October 23, 2008

Octoberangst

In our house we dressed up all the time. We had access to a huge "costume box" year round, always dressing up like hobos and princesses and LAURA INGALLS WILDER (sigh, love her) and such. And a magical mother who encouraged us to do so. But when Halloween came around, I froze. Too much pressure. How could I not produce the perfect costume with all these resources at my disposal? It was unthinkable. So the pajama or whatever other homemade look at Halloween fell short of my own wild expectations, without fail. A Wonder Woman costume from the store might have solved all my angstiness. Ha! Unlikely, says my 35 year old self. No! It would have! says my 10 year old self.

And also--get this--my parents were the ones that handed out Nature Valley Granola Bars to trick-or-treaters. Did you ever trick or treat at my house? You probably didn't, because we lived way the h*ll out in the country and any trick-or-treaters would have been brought by car or else braved the no-sidewalk unpainted unlit roads. Very little return on sugar-seeking investment there. You might have done it for a full-size Snickers Bar, but not for whatever crappy un-treaty treat my parents would have dropped in your bag. Bless them and their crunchy hearts, I want to burst with pride in them right this moment.

As much as this would make a nice post about how I am transitioning these values of healthy eating and creativity to my son, not so much. Not this year anyway. Granola bars are a major treat in our house, yes. And Hugo is terrified of any masks or costume, so we have at least until next year for that. Maybe he would be interested in a Laura Ingalls Wilder getup. And someone gave him a giraffe costume because giraffes? AWESOME. He wore it once, gazed at himself in the mirror for ten minutes, and then off with it forever. Darn, he is cute.


So gearing up for another low-key Halloween this year, though you can be sure on the actual day I will be seized with regret about not alchemizing (is that a word?) the perfect costume from whatever crap is in my basement. I'm sure someone with my creative upbringing could do a lot with a drumset, Jeff's electronics collection, an old chair, and some underwear from 2002 that I might just wear again you never know. And a cat carrier. Some dryer sheets. The possibilities are endless.

23 comments:

sarah bean said...

He really is cute.
And I completely don't get dryer sheets.
But neither of those were really the point, were they.
We don't do halloween over here so that's really all I've got ;)

J and J Acres said...

He is such a cutie! I remember Halloween was always big at my house. My mom used to make us all costumes. I was Rapunzel (how the hell do you spell that?) one year.

You could always use the dryer sheets as seashells and go as a mermaid. hee hee.

Anne-Marie said...

OMG! He looks so much like Jeff in that picture...
(I always had storebought Hallowe'en costumes and always lusted after a homemade one... we're all missing out on something I guess)

JessTrev said...

Oh, the cheeks. But that really wasn't the point either. My husband once put some whiskey in his sock and walked around growling at people. Don't you get it? He was a jack-booted thug. I totally love Halloween and the crazy costumes and you pretty much summed it up perfectly w/the Octoberangst. Kirtsy has a hugely popular story up about the Top 10 Worst Halloween Treats to hand out and, of course, along w/yr parents' granola bars are all of the things I was going to hand out!

Grounded Girl said...

OMG... we really are sisters torn apart at birth. My parents were EXACTLY THE SAME WAY. Granola bars for the trick-or-treaters. Homemade costumes (although my mother sewed, so when I was four I was a blue cat. Awesomeness.)

I loathe this holiday-- the pressure to be creative is insane. And as an adult, you can't just be creative. You have to be SEXY too.

Also, when I was teaching, Halloween meant two days of wasted time: the day of (excitement excitement excitement!) and the day AFTER (sugar crash!). Sheer hell, I tell you.

Hugo sure is cute!

Noelle said...

Hugo is SO cute.

In response to Grounded Girl's "sexy" comment... I'm not saying I haven't gone that route, but every year it annoys me a little more. Here's what bugs me most though. It isn't the sexually appealing costumes themselves. I've seen some sexy costumes that I totally respect. Like "future roller skate girl" from a few years ago who spray-painted her very own futuristic jet pack. Or a classic playboy bunny on a "plus-sized" body of a fairly conservative girl back in college. I loved that she rocked that and owned it.

What I highly, highly dislike is the "sexy profession" purchased costumes. Because they lack any and all creativity and originality. I was "punked out Wonder Woman" a few years back. Red platform boots purchased second-hand. Fishnets. A "skirt" made of fabric from the local craft store that was on deep discount - blue with white stars (supposed to be holiday fabric). Safety pinned together. A wonder woman t-shirt (purchased at full price, but I really did love Wonder Woman as a kid and had bought it just to wear in general, not for Halloween). Oh, and - believe it or not, at the time my hair was long and black. So I curled it, wore dramatic make-up and my roommates at the time rocked their own "punked out super heroine" costumes.

What I don't like is the "sexy nurse" or "sexy cop" or "sexy barmaid" or "sexy firefighter girl" costumes. Blech.

As children my brother and I also dressed up all the time (when it wasn't a "holiday"). We had a similar box of treasures and were extremely creative on a day to day basis. But when it came to Halloween, both C and I wore our Superman PJs for about 3 years in a row. I also remember being a ghost and a bunny in my early years - both fashioned out of the same pillow case. My mom didn't sew, but she was creative enough with existing materials.

Hugo has plenty of years of peer pressure and pop-culturally influenced Halloween costumes ahead of him. (Scary as THAT may sound...) So I think keeping it simple (or even non-existent) is just fine.

Lisa Milton said...

I'd give him treats - sugary or otherwise - just the way he is.

What a charmer.

Heidi said...

At least you have stuff in your basement! As a parent of 1+ year olds, I feel obligated to dress them up (as what? and how do I decide?) but where does one get costumes? Michaels is out, I don't have time to brush my teeth much less make costumes. But the wanna-be-anti-consumerist asks myself if I really want to buy something for the one time use? Where is my creative cheap ass when I need her?

Stacy (mama-om) said...

I always cave under the pressure, too.

Just. can't. dress. up.

Except for once when I went as "hell in a handbasket." (I wasn't a kid.)

And what's worse...granola bars or a dime? We had neighbors who gave out dimes!

Jenn @ Juggling Life said...

My mother-in-law is an amazing seamstress. We still have the dress-up box with the gorgeous velvet prince capes and satin gowns in every size. I can't wait to see my grandkids wear them.

phd in yogurtry said...

That can't really be a fish you're standing on, can it?
No, I'm just happy to see you.


Ok, that wins the "best answer to randomly generated blogger question. ever."

Your little boy has the most adorable rosy cheeks, with green eyes peeking out.

I grew up on a rural street, too, and our halloween nights were fairly pathetic. I didn't know it at the time. Any amount of candy was a good catch.

susan said...

Halloween is the only reason we had kids! When my oldest was ten months old I made her a clown costume and we carried her from house to house. We just had to show off our baby. We did get some really strange looks though.

I still make the costumes (and I'm ready to stop!)

Jennifer (ponderosa) said...

You could tack the dryer sheets to his shirt and he could pretend he has a hundred wings. (Or however many you feel like tacking : )

Tricia said...

Your son is adorable!

My little guy refuse to dress up, and he has no interest in trick or treating. He LOVES to hand out candy though, so each year we set up outside, jack-o-lanterns, something warm to drink, and big bucket of goo so that he can hide behind the bushes and jump out at the bigger kids and say, BOO! We actually have a blast.

Rima said...

I think a granola bar is still better than a penny. We had a couple of penny dispensers in our neighborhood.

Mama Goose said...

Stinking cute!

I never dreamed I would, but I caved this year and gasp bought a Power Ranger costume for Bii...

apathy lounge said...

Loved Laura Ingalls Wilder. The books...not the tv show. So much did I love her that we named our last son Wilder.

ellen said...

Oh, my...you could become MacGyver..although you are probably too young to remember that young chap who could save anyone with a tube of toothpaste, a toilet paper roll, some cookie dough, and whatever. I loved that program, although I was a bit taken aback when I had to have emergency surgery by a Doc. named MacGyver..
I digress...you could call me the mother from Hell...our children did trick or treat, but with homemade costumes..old sheets etc. When it came to birthdays and Christmas..no presents until they knew what was going on, and that had a lot to do with poverty: No birthday parties except with our own family..period. I know that I sound so grouchy..we did have good times, loving times and fun times..just never kept up with the Jones'es. Time for me to be quiet..except..Hugo will remember and love the times you and he and Daddy had together...small is good!

Cori@SAHMbles said...

Oh my, have you been in my basement? Underwear from 2002 very funny.

So really you have no pressure this year - that's great! We caved and bought two race car driver outfits. I feel so uncreative but the munchies are happy.

Your little is a darling.

Melissa said...

Re: Your last paragraph?

-He could go AS "a basement."

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