Friday, October 29, 2010

Cool Moms Wear Costumes

I’ll never forget the Halloween that my mom dressed up as a scarecrow. I was about eight years old, and all decked out in my homemade Pippi Longstocking costume, complete with coat hanger wire wrapped around my head and threaded though my braids to make them stick straight out at the sides of my head. My sister was a Care Bear, with a big felt heart sown on the tummy of her pink sleepers, and a pair of homemade teddy bear ears. Always one to join in on the fun rather than directing from afar, my mom decided to dress up as a scarecrow. She wore an old pair of jeans, a straw hat, a bandana, and one of my dad’s checkered shirts, stuffed with towels for that stuffed scarecrow effect. But the outfit was missing a little something. So at the last minute, my mom decided to cut the leg off of an old pair of pantyhose and pull it over her face, drawing a mustache and eyebrows on with a black eye liner pencil.
If you’ve ever tried putting a nylon stocking over your head (which thankfully, many have not), you’ll know that the tight, stretchy fabric distorts and contorts your face in very unusual ways. So in theory, my mom was a scarecrow. But in reality, she looked much more like some sort of deranged serial killer in a cowboy costume. It was terrifying. And one of the funniest things I think I have ever seen in my life. My sister and I cannot talk about that Halloween without laughing. Even typing this, my face hurts from smiling.
I remember that Halloween more clearly than any other in my life. And my clearest memory (aside from the image of my mom’s distorted face) is of trick or treating at a house down the road. My sister and I went to the door, and my mom stayed back a little bit. Peering into the darkness in the direction of my mom, the homeowner asked “So who’s that? Is that your dad or your mom?”.
“It’s our mom,” we answered, shyly and in unison, as was our style.
“Well, tell your mom to come over here,” he laughed. “She gets double the candy! Only the cool moms wear costumes!”
I grew up always believing quite wholeheartedly that both of my parents were “cool”. But in that moment, I was so proud that the buttons nearly popped right off of my plaid Pippi Longstocking coat. My mom got a lot more candy that night – almost as much as we did. And the fun of that evening is a vivid memory that I still carry with me today.
This week has been a crazy week. Crazy, crazy, crazy. Not just with the usual busyness-of-life type things. But with major, stressful, potentially life-altering things coming at us out of the blue. It would be pretty easy to forgo the family theme costumes this year. Our daughter has an adorable store-bought costume, so she’s all set, and we could just throw on a jacket and bring her out trick or treating.  But what better time is there to celebrate with your child than when the road gets a little rough? What better time is there to invest in having fun and making memories?
So we’ll be up late tonight, and probably tomorrow night too. Creating a mommy costume, a daddy costume, and just for good measure – a dog costume. Because if there’s one thing I learned from my mom the scarecrow…only the cool moms wear costumes.
Last Minute Costume Ideas
All that being said, there is only one shopping day left until Halloween. So here are a few last minute costume ideas from the queen of last minute costumes. They may not be the best costume you’ve ever created, but you can throw them together with just what you have in your closet and a budget of five dollars or less at the dollar store…
·         Wear an old pair of jeans, a plaid shirt, some boots, and a bandana and cowboy hat from the dollar store…and you’re a cowboy (works for dads too)! Trade the jeans for a puffy skirt, and you’re a square dancer!
·         Trade the dollar store cowboy hat for a dollar store straw hat…and you’re a farmer (works well if your child is dressed as a farm animal)!
If you have an old bridesmaid’s dress in your closet, you are set for costumes for years to come…
·         Add a dollar store crown…and you’re a princess.
·         Add a pair of dollar store wings and a magic wand…And you’re a fairy princess.
·         Cut some white teeth out of paper and attach them to your crown or your wand…And you’re the tooth fairy.
·         Bridesmaid dress options are limitless! Other options may include (depending on the dress) – a Barbie, a flamenco dancer, a bride, an angel, or here’s a novel idea – a bridesmaid!

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