Okay, so what do a fried green egg (the Dr. Suess variety), a carton of milk, a box of oreo cookies, a tootsie roll, a can of Campbell’s soup, a punk rocker, a monkey, a sheep, a rabbit, an elephant, Einstein, a chef, a princess, M&M candy, and a couple of angels have in common? They’re all costumes that I have, at some past or current point, slaved over in the week leading up to Halloween. The first three in the list happen to be the ones I’ve given my life to this week.
Notice how much more complicated and obscure they are the beginning of the list then at the end? Yeah, it seems that three things have been happening over the years: a.) I like to challenge myself creatively and delight in sending my kids out in costumes nobody else on the block has, b.) I’m a sucker for punishment and every year I have a lapse in memory when I forget the stream of curse words that escaped my lips somewhere around midnight on the 30th, and c.) my kids have more confidence in my costume-making ability than I do and they’re bound and determined to come up with something that will stump me.
“Hello, my name is Heather Plett and I’m a Halloween costume (only the unique, hand-made variety - none of that cheap plastic crap) addict. It’s been 360 days since my last fix and last night I gave in to the little demon whispering in my ear once again. I’ve fallen off the wagon.”
I’ve spent way too much money this year (foam is frickin’ expensive!), I’ve over-promised again, I’ve already made one major blunder (gluing the fabric to the WRONG side of the foam – sigh), and… AND… (oh the shame!) I made the fatal blunder of agreeing to make a costume for my daughter’s friend!!! Because, well, if one is cookies and the other is milk, shouldn’t they kinda sorta match? Oh dear… what momentary madness told me it was a good idea to open THAT door? It was the flattery, I tell you… FLATTERY! To listen to my children rave about how “mom makes the BEST costumes”, well, it weakened my defenses and I gave in. Isn’t every mother weakened by the wiley charm of the offspring?
I just can’t help it! I'm weak! There's just something about hot glue guns, foam and fabric that makes me weak in the knees.
Truth is, I think it also has something to do with the fact that this is one small area that I can live up to my own expectations of "what makes a good mother". They may have to dig through laundry baskets for clean (or "gently used") socks, live through the humiliation of telling their teachers "my mom forgot to sign the form - AGAIN", put up with crappy meals (or make their own), but AT LEAST THEY'LL HAVE THE BEST DAMN HALLOWEEN COSTUMES ON THE BLOCK! Just give me that little thread to hang onto and I'll get through the failures that litter the rest of the year.
(Rather ironically – and somewhat ungratefully, I might add - my children complain every year about the rather pathetic lack of Halloween decorations at our house. It seems my creative expression hasn’t extended down that particular avenue.)