To any current and future children: I apologize in advance for any shitty homemade Halloween costumes I make for you.
I am bad at Halloween. I have never had a knack with costumes. I don’t remember many of my get ups from childhood except for a few. One was Dorothy from “the Wizard of Oz,” though it’s quite possible that this was my sister’s costume. I remember her carrying the basket with a kitten as Toto in it (from the collection of unwanted kittens that we had — true, different story) but I remember painting a pair of black shoes with red glitter and having pigtails. I also remember wearing store bought costumes with the plastic masks and plastic sheaths, and that warm, moist smell of my breath melding with plastic. I also went as the Church Lady when I was maybe 11, and surprisingly, NO ONE could tell that I was the Church Lady. Why would a regular mom in 1991 recognize that some neighborhood child is dressed like a Dana Carvey character from “Saturday Night Live?” I would have ideas and no creative follow through, which is why I aged out of Halloween dressed like a business woman with a twisted mouth.
As an adult I have been: Norma Rae with a beard, a newsie, my husband, and a Halloween party (I wore a bunch of decorations). So I am bad at Halloween, I have no interest in coming up with good costumes or finding a place to wear them. In fact, I have also been a Grinch about Halloween, too. The idea of people going to another person’s house to ask for candy is weird and sad. I think last year my block was completely dark, but I would bet that since there aren’t many school-aged children in the neighborhood that our trick-or-treaters are just teenage boys with no costumes.
When I was asked several times what my child was doing for Halloween, instead of having a good costume idea I fussed over the logic of the question. What does she DO for anything? She will do what she does every day — wear some pants and possibly need to change them, and then go to bed by 7 p.m. Do other infants party? She doesn’t eat candy or have an awareness that any day is more special than the others unless she thinks that days at home all day with me are little two-day festivals. STOP ASKING ASSHOLE, BABIES DON’T DO NOTHING FOR ANYTHING. JESUS.
But when my husband mentioned that the other kids at her sitter’s house were going to be dressing up, immediately my heart softened and I got excited about her wearing a costume. We had to think of something that would not involve her wearing anything she could take off or anything that was outfit-based since she still occasionally needed to change clothes during the day. So, basically she could be a cherub.
We were in Northampton, Mass. for a wedding and found a pair of rabbit ears at a children’s consignment shop for $1.50, and of course bought them and had her wear them around the downtown area. My daughter, for those of you who aren’t familiar with her (I’m still weird about posting her pic publicly, I might get over that?), is adorable. All babies are, but she’s my first, so I don’t know how it really is but I get the impression that she’s the cutest baby ever. She looks like the Gerber baby. Strangers take photos of her. I don’t say that to sound like a brag because I’m as baffled as anyone that babies don’t come out looking like mashed-up versions of their parents. Anyway, we’re walking around this town with our beautiful, rosy-cheeked baby who is smiling so hard because she has something on her head and people are pointing at her and I just had this feeling like I was total asshole showing off my cute baby. I put them away for awhile.
With the idea that she needed a costume, the rabbit ears made perfect sense. She would wear them for a minute, and I could make a tail for her and pin it on some pink pants and she could wear a white shirt. And she has at least two pair of pink pants if she needs to change (the ears are pink, I’m not a “girls wear pink/boys make $1 to her 70 cents for good reason” kind of person). That was weeks ago. Her bunny outfit has come up many times in the last couple of weeks and it was as good as done. I even opened up again to the concept of trick or treating being a fun thing to do (in a different, future time in our lives). I have seen photos of fellow parents’ homemade Halloween costumes as recent as this evening and I felt confident that my daughter would have a less elaborate, still adorable Facebook photo to share tomorrow.
Except I didn’t make the tail. I did think about it enough to search Target this afternoon for something. My original plan was to take a white pom pom from a hat she has, but that was too small. My mom suggested fluffing out a tissue. We thought about using a travel-sized loofah. Then I thought I would just stuff a white sock and glue cotton balls to the sock and pin the whole thing on the back of her pants. Sure.
So at 9:45 tonight Richard shows me a photo of his friend’s baby dressed like a monkey. Then he gasps and says “our baby’s butt!”
And I just laugh and agree. In my scrambled mind I thought he meant “baby clothes often have things decorating the seat of the pants, such as a carrot or bear or monkey,” so I thought he meant that the baby was dressed like a monkey that was on the butt of her pants. This made perfect sense to me except she doesn’t have pants like that. Eventually I realized he was telling me that I didn’t make the bunny tail. And she was asleep already so I couldn’t dig through her dresser for old white socks. And I didn’t have glue.
So, I took to my sewing kit and supplies that I’ve had since I was 11 (please note in the following photo that the pins in the pin cushion used to spell out PEARL JAM) and sewed together cotton balls:
The cotton ball was then super glued to a white ribbon (also in the sewing kit), to bring together this amazing costume:
PS — Real quick recap of the last two months: October brought two out-of-town weddings for pals (one was our first family trip). Both weddings were fun and fancy, and I owe the bride/groom and their families thank you notes for good times. Lots of hotel stays, which is vacation enough for me. Uh, also other stuff? The baby turned 1, I have been couponing but really only with Stonyfield yogurt products, and I still haven’t finished reading “White Noise.”