A Family Halloween Quest for Costumes
Finally found the right one
This Halloween was different than others. I wasn't the tot, being shepherded by my parents; I wasn't the kid, owning the neighborhood with my friends; I wasn't the teenager, too cool for all of it. I wasn't the 20-something, going out in the city; I wasn't even the new mom, dressing my son in an adorable costume of my choice and proudly chauffeuring him around in his stroller. This year, I was the mom of the preschooler who has his own ideas of costumes, for us and for him; his own ideas of Halloween and definitely his own idea of how much candy is enough.
Halloween this year was a five-day-long event. First, our weekly play date was transformed into a Halloween party. Adults dressed up, most of the kids couldn't be bothered. Even a few of the kids who came in costume soon abandoned them because the fun was in the "other kids'" toys, not in the spirit of Halloween. The adults seemed more into it than the kids. The Hostess Mom made it a party right out of a magazine: Pin-the-Tail-on-the-Witch; trick-or-treating in the house; hot appetizers, good food and lots of cupcakes. But where were the little joyous expressions of appreciation? I think they got lost in a pile under the abandoned "too itchy" costumes.
That was Wednesday. On Friday, our condo had a drop-off Halloween party for the kids. We dropped off our little vampires, cats and superheroes and headed to 4Sixty6 for drinks and sushi. Our fun was in trying to figure out how to stay late enough to catch the private taping of The Real Housewives of New Jersey there, until we were told that they wouldn't be arriving until 11 p.m., way past our kid pick-up time. Too bad, could have been interesting to watch. We even tossed around the idea of coming back later, dressed as the housewives, but we probably wouldn't have been let back in.
On Saturday, we went to a family party. Adults were good sports and all came in costume. Some kids were unsure of the adults' costumes, so strange to see the grown-ups transformed. There was pumpkin-carving, cider, spooky music, costume prizes and lots of Halloween spirit. Oh, and spider cookies made of Mallowmars and pretzel sticks.
On Halloween proper, we kept the day low-key. I figured we could all use some quiet before the great trick-or-treating began. When it was time to go, my son didn't want to get dressed. He wanted to go, he just didn't seem to realize that lying on the floor and whining was making it impossible to get out the door. Eventually, he pulled it together. We joined some of our friends outside and before we knew it, there were droves of people moving through the streets.
For weeks, my son insisted he wanted to be a ghost, but I had my suspicions when he wouldn't keep the sheet-with-eyeholes over his head for more than five seconds. Luckily, I had picked up a Spiderman costume at a tag sale as a back-up costume.
Since Spiderman was a complete costume, I aimed all my DIY energy toward my costume and my husband's. My husband (generously) asked my son what he should be for Halloween. My son said, "A witch." When pressed, my son was very clear that this was not a one-time answer. No, he was sure Daddy should be a witch. But Daddy is clever, so it had to be a witch-something. He decided to be A Witch's Facebook Page, complete with "friends" (Samantha, Doctor Bombay), "likes" (evil, mayhem) and profile information ("relationship status: involved with Satan," "religion: Wiccan.")
After hearing the witch answer, I didn't ask for a costume suggestion. I quickly chimed in that Mommy's costume would be a surprise. Where my husband likes the Clever Costume, I like the Character Costume, as in, I like to be someone for Halloween. I like to stay in character. Believe me, I searched every vintage shop and thrift store from Montclair to South Orange, looking for the right '60s outfit to wear as Joan from Mad Men, but I didn't find a thing.
My next choice was to be something my son would like. I wanted to be Widget from Wow Wow Wubbzy, but I couldn't find pink overalls. I even checked the maternity section of the consignment shops. Instead, I was The Cat in the Hat. And, although I could probably pull off a Martin Short Cat in the Hat voice, I chose to avoid such a display.
I wonder what we'll all be next year.