Halloween used to be so easy. When I was seven my Mom made me a lion costume that I wore every year until I was twenty three. Some years we'd pair it with a princess crown or cowboy boots to give me a little variety, but there was never any discussion about what I was going to be.
At the slightest hint of a protest Mom would tear up, remind me of how she went without food or water for three straight days while she was locked in her bedroom sewing that dreadful thing, and on it went.
And I was happy. Whatever. Just give me the candy.
In the past month I've been asked what my kids are going to be for Halloween more times than I can count on four paws. And when I answered, “I don't know yet” they looked at me like I just said I was planning to dress them up as alcoholic werewolf porn stars.
Apparently this is a much bigger deal than I thought. When you're pregnant no one mentions that your entire parental reputation hinges on the creativity of your kids' Halloween costumes.
And they have to be brilliantly creative because they'll be worn non-stop for the entire month of October. So far we've been to dress-up Halloween celebrations at Purina Farms, Grants Farm, Boo at the Zoo, my kids' pre-schools, dance class, two baptisms and one funeral.
Naturally my first step in costume inspiration was to turn straight to my tried and true go-to for all things crafty and ripped off – Pinterest.
And, as with every time I go to Pinterest, I didn't find a single thing that looked like something I would be interested in making. I'm just not that kind of Mom. You know, the kind of Mom who “makes things” or “does stuff."
I was looking for something with a high return on investment partnered with a low time commitment. The alcoholic werewolf porn star idea was starting to sound more and more appealing. I mean, I already have all the components for that costume in my top dresser drawer.
But then, just as it all seemed like Halloween would end with a home visit from DFS, my 3-year-old told me she wanted to be a butterfly.
Perfect! Just go to the costume store, buy three sets of butterfly wings and we'd be good to go. I wouldn't get any points for creativity, but it was the 11th hour and I was in a panic. A brilliant idea.
A brilliant idea until we got to the costume store. Do you have any idea how much a stupid pair of butterfly wings costs? My kids would have to trick-or-treat for three days just to break even.
I decided I could easily make a beautiful pair of butterfly wings despite my crafting handicap. But instead of using satin and beautifully colored netting I used red poster board.
And the whole butterfly wing thing seemed a little too advanced; lady bugs were more my speed. I'd just use our black finger paint to throw some dots on, hot glue a couple of ping pong balls to a head band for antennae and we'd have ourselves some costumes.
Three days, five trips to Wal-Mart and one home equity loan later, they were finished. I hope they like them; they'll be lady bugs until they're twenty three.
By Hannah Mayer, events and family life blogger for SmartParenting