I’m just going to say it: I despise Halloween. Always have and probably always will. When I was a kid, I secretly hated trying to think of a costume that 96% of my fifth grade class wasn’t already wearing (hello Powderpuff girls) and then realizing that I went in the extreme opposite direction (hello Scream mask) in an effort to try to differentiate myself. As an adult, I’ve followed pretty much the same formula, mixing in a few somewhat clever costumes (knocked up prom queen was my all time best) with my mostly epic fails. Since I never learned to embrace Halloween as an occasion to be a sexy insert-profession-here and I can sort of afford to buy my own bag of mini Twix, I just never quite got the excitement behind this so-called “holiday.” I went out on a high note as Cruella de Vil a few years ago and haven’t done the whole Halloween charade since. Except this year, I’m a parent, which apparently changes everything.
I should note that I’m a parent to a child who is A) unable to consume candy due to having zero teeth in his head B) completely unaware of this holiday’s existence and C) highly unlikely to protest if I don’t dress him up in an uncomfortable costume and parade him around town in the dark, past his bedtime in near-freezing temperatures. Which obviously means that everyone else in the known world sees those reasons as all the more incentive to dress him up in something cute and beg strangers for candy that his father and I will devour when he’s asleep.
“You’ll only have a few years when you get to choose his costume,” people tell me, with a sense of urgency that borders on alarmist. “Wait until all he wants to be is Superman/Spiderman/Batman. You’ll be so glad you got a few years’ worth of cute pictures in costumes that you wanted him to wear.”
See, here’s the thing about that. I don’t actually care about the cute pictures because I have no desire to go through this holiday once, nevermind relive it for years to come. And when he’s old enough to decide, if my kid chooses to be Superman every year for the rest of his childhood, all the more power to him. I’ll be the one volunteering to stay home and hand out candy to all the other superheroes while drinking wine in my bathrobe as my husband schleps him around town collecting cavities in a pillowcase.
For a very brief span of time in late September when I was apparently insane, I toyed with the idea of a family costume. I figured, hell, we’ll all get into it and, even if everyone is having an equally miserable time, we’ll be doing it together. I jumped on Pinterest (first mistake), scouted out some costumes for families of three and settled on Popeye, Olive Oyl and Sweet Pea. I know what you’re thinking: soooo cute. What a dedicated family unit we would’ve been, all of us decked out in ridiculous outfits to keep the others happy. Except that if you Google the real Sweet Pea, he looks shockingly like a sperm, (“He was an actual sperm for Halloween last year,” my husband matter-of-factly mentions) and it turns out they don’t stock a whole lot of sperm costumes at iParty (we waited too long, I guess.) Add that to the realization that I’d need to make or buy costumes for three whole people and my enthusiasm was officially squashed about four days after the idea was hatched.
So when my mother in law showed up at my door the other day with a monkey costume she found at a consignment shop for $7, Popeye, Olive Oyl and the Sperm floated out the window.
And then a beautiful thing happened:
Phew. Dodged a bullet there.