I have always had a soft spot for Halloween, the holiday celebrating the date of my birth, but now that I have costume-aged children I like it even more, and the fact that it is my birthday feels almost incidental, the cherry on top of an already delicious sundae. (I would really like a sundae now, incidentally. Note to self: choose less appealing metaphors.)
Simone talked about being a clown for Halloween for actual MONTHS, never wavering in her choice. Clowns depressed and embarrassed me terribly as a child, and I am glad Simone is a less whatever child than I was, and is able to find clowns simply funny, as their clown college no-doubt intended.
I think she turned out to be the best, clowniest clown ever.
My Halloween costume strategy (apparently I have a Halloween costume strategy), employed to great effect last year as well, is to buy a few cheap accessories and assemble the rest of the costume out of either a) clothes we already own OR, more usually, b) clothes that can be incorporated into a daily wardrobe. I have found this VERY satisfying: there is little or no costume construction time, yet it is gives a pleasing homemade/creative feel, also it is a way to combine two necessary tasks, i.e. Halloween costuming and buying new, warmer things. Last year, when Simone was a pirate, I bought a cheap hat and eyepatch at Target, along with a belt, boots, and a coat. The belt and hat were incorporated into general dress up play, while the boots became Simone’s winter boots (until the zipper broke). She wore pants and a striped shirt she already had. The coat was the one failure, as it was bought to serve double duty as pirate coat and general fall coat, but was later deemed unbearably itchy. Here she is last year, in case you have forgotten.
This year, I bought a wig, clown nose, clown shoes, and a package of cheap Halloween makeup–altogether less than $20 on Amazon (and the wig, like the pirate hat, will surely get plenty of play use–you will recall that Simone had requested one), and then added a cardigan, turtleneck, gloves, and tights that filled holes in Simone’s fall wardrobe and that she will now be able to wear to school, along with a dress that she will also be able to wear to school, though it was not really NEEDED in the way the other things were (but Hanna Andersson sale, you know how it is).
As I type this all out it is starting to sound faintly ridiculous, in that I could certainly spend much less money by simply buying a pre-made costume–or making one, for that matter. But my way is so much fun, and if it is not ACTUALLY thrifty it certainly gives a pleasant illusion of thrift. Similarly, if it is not ACTUALLY homemade I do still get to think up and plan the costume (no small feat, given Simone’s exceedingly demanding specifications). And there is something very annoying to me about buying a costume Simone will only wear once versus a turtleneck, etc. that she will probably wear a whole bunch of times and then pass down to Twyla.
Twyla, by the way, was a fox. Hers WAS a pre-made Halloween costume ($15 on sale at Carter’s!) but she has been wearing the fleecy pants as regular pants, and the fox hoodie will make a cozy fall/spring coat, so there you are.
The best part of the day pre-Trick-or-Treating was volunteering in Simone’s classroom. There were several centers set up for the children to rotate through, and I manned one of the math tables, leading small groups in a review of patterns. Amusingly, Simone had told seemingly everyone that it was my birthday, and each time I was introduced to a new child as Simone’s Mom, I got an excited “OH! TODAY IS YOUR BIRTHDAY!” (In fact, when I signed in at the office one of the assistants wished me a happy birthday as well, so Simone obviously spread the news quite generously throughout the school.)
Also exciting was the fact that Simone had lost her first tooth the day before.
When I say she lost it I mean this quite literally: the tooth had been hanging gruesomely by a thread for ages and then it must have fallen out at recess. Simone couldn’t find it and there was much sturm und drang until her lovely teacher assured her that such things happen all the time and helped write an explanatory note to the Tooth Fairy, which Simone dutifully put under her pillow that evening. Imagine my surprise when Simone woke in the morning to find money and return correspondence (actually, she woke at 1:15 a.m., waving the Tooth Fairy’s letter and whispering wildly at me, but I told her to go back to sleep and we’d read it later). She didn’t doubt the letter’s veracity (I disguised my handwriting, you see), but has had questions about what the Tooth Fairy does with all those teeth. I told her that nobody really knows, though some speculate that she makes them into jewelry, or perhaps uses them for tooth-related research, as they give her access to a vast and diverse population of pediatric teeth.
Lastly, here are two brief videos, included because I truly think it is necessary to see the tail (Twyla) and shoes (Simone) in action.