Part of that has to do with PTSD. As a military spouse, I am constantly aware of the veterans around me, and so, since we got married, my husband and I have never set up a gory, realistic looking, display outside.
Part of that has to do with some misinformed scholar when I was in college telling all of us that if we participated in Halloween celebrations, we were all committing the unforgivable sin of blaspheming against God, and He’d damn us all to hell.
Part of that is pure laziness. Between searching for the perfect candy apple and making the most fun Halloween costumes, I don’t have time for all the other stuff.
That’s right, we make our own costumes. Every year. It’s one of the few things I insisted on carrying over from my childhood. Sure, there was a year or two where my mom purchased a costume. One year my brothers were the Devil and a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle. They got purchased costumes (I’m sure they wanted them, actually) because my mom spent a HUGE amount of time on my costume. I was Smurfette. Complete with blue skin, and a blonde wig made out of the bottom of a mop. It was my favorite costume ever. My mom spent at least a month making that thing, every night bent over her sewing machine, cutting and pinning and stitching and cutting and stitching. It. Was. The. Coolest.
That year my older sister was a Christmas present. Complete with a giant bow on her head. I remember thinking that I couldn’t wait to be big enough to handle walking around in a giant box without falling over.
One year one of us was Raggedy Anne. Another year someone was a mom (complete with curlers in her hair and a bunch of Cabbage Patch Dolls strapped to her apron). I don’t remember, but it might’ve been one of my other sisters.
Once, I got to be a punk rocker- complete with a spiked, glittery wig and eye shadow. I thought I was the biggest rock star.
Today- around mid-September every year- I start keeping my ears open for something I think my kids would like to be, and I start trying to find ways to make that happen DIY. It’s much easier with the discovery of Pinterest, that’s for sure. Last year, my boys were zombies. We bought peel and stick scars for their faces, rubbed their clothes in dirt, and BAM, they were pleased. This year, I caved and bought two boxes that were already pre-painted to be the heads of characters from Minecraft, but we’re making the rest of the costume.
But why do I love it so much? This year, as I was contemplating what I might be (yep, I still dress up, because seriously, it’s so much fun!), my daughter suddenly shouted out “I know what costume I want to make!”
I love Halloween so much because of the level of creativity that goes into it, in our house at least. It doesn’t take much creativity to be a Catholic School Girl (done it), or a witch (done it)- especially when one just purchases the costume. But when one makes his or her own costume? When he or she designs it in his or her mind and then picks out all of the things he or she needs to make it work?
It’s so much fun watching my kids decide what they need to make something work. Especially with my daughter as she begins to explore how we perceive things and why.
She wants to be a vampire.
Vampires don’t always wear black, Mom, but most people think they do. Also, their teeth aren’t always out, but no one will know if I don’t have pointy teeth. Also, I don’t need a cape, but it would be more believable with one, don’t you think? How does this accent sound to you?
I love that! I love that she is contemplating what others perceive about a specific type of person, acknowledging that it’s not always accurate, and making a decision based on that. But even more so, I love that she doesn’t even realize she does it. I love that she takes this creative side of hers, this “acting” side she is beginning to display, and that she just does what’s natural to her, all while having a blast and believing its just part of being a kid- which it is.
In this day and age, when so many of us are fairly certain that we’re screwing up our kids irreparably, it’s nice to see that something that I enjoyed as a kid is being equally enjoyed by my own kids. Especially considering that their childhood is totally different than mine.
But why is that a secret? you ask. Because the minute I tell my pre-teen how much I love Halloween, it will lose it’s cool factor.
That, and Erin Whitehead despises this pseudo-holiday. So, shhh, don’t tell her that I’m a closet fan of All Hallows Eve’.
Are your kids dressing up? Find us on Facebook and share your photos! And- look for my photo of my family costumes. Ten points to Gryffindor for whomever can figure out who my husband and I are dressed up as.
Many Kind Regards,