Halloween’s going to be a non-event at our house this year. Mostly because our “house” is now a secure apartment building that no trick or treater will be able to access. But also because our kids are just-about-grown and can barely muster a grunt when I mention October 31st.
It’s times like these that I wish I had started writing when my kids were young. I’ve even considered having another baby just for the material.
When they were little, my sons would see the Halloween displays all over town and beg me to bring out our decorations.
“I’m not quite ready to do that”, I’d tell them.
“Why not, Mom?” Jake would ask. “Don’t you like Halloween?”
“I love Halloween, sweetheart. But it’s only August.”
I could hold them off until the first week of October when they looked like they might burst with anticipation. One year, as I handed the carefully organized boxes down from the attic to Jake, I had no idea that Jamie was running them into the living room and dumping them out into one huge pile. He looked so pleased with himself; it was hard to be mad.
For costume ideas, I used to take the boys to a fabric store to look at patterns. I’d help them up on to the big stools where they could look at the pictures in the pattern books. One year Jake saw a pattern for a Karate uniform and he was good for three years. He loved that costume, but I also think he liked to play it safe. Why tinker with what works?
When he finally broke his “Karate Guy” streak, he was a soldier for three years. The very last costume he wore for trick or treating was about as safe as you could get. Hold onto your pointed witch’s hat: he went as a skateboarder. He got home from school, hopped on his skateboard and was good to go.
Jamie, on the other hand, always went for something unusual. When he was four, he picked out a shark costume, complete with a long tail that dragged behind. I didn’t believe at first that he’d go through with wearing it. I asked him several times if that was “the one” and he insisted it was. Sure enough, when it came time to hit the streets, he wore it with pride.
Every year, when I was sure they really liked the costume they chose from the books, we’d find the pattern, pick out the fabric and make sure we had all the accessories to complete the job. Back at home, I’d set up my sewing machine on the dining room table and spend a few days sewing.
Going back in my memory to those days and seeing it from a distance, it’s obvious why I didn’t write then. I was too busy. But this new perspective has shown me so much more about my life when my babies were young and makes me wonder: What was I thinking? Twenty bucks and 15 minutes and we could’ve had a decent costume from Wal-Mart!