Friday, October 5, 2012

The Ghost of Halloween Past, Present and Future



Ah, Fall. The snap in the air is the first harbinger of the season. Then, the light takes on low, slanting glow. Life settles into a more ordered routine. My favorite time of year, sullied only by one day…Halloween.

I have been boycotting Halloween for a long while. The titular reason is that I want to avoid women dressed like ho’s and their male moron counterparts. Indeed, this statement is true. But the real reason is that I don’t have an ounce of creativity when it comes to costumes.

Opting out of Halloween as an adult has been no big deal. Now that I have Claire, it’s been on my mind again. When you have a child, you benchmark her experience growing up against your own. As the saying goes, we relive our childhood…

I remember my mom bent over the sewing machine with a knitted brow. I stood by her side, just about the height of her hands feeding the fabric through the needle. I watched what seemed a miracle transformation. She was turning one of her shiny, sequined 70’s disco numbers into a fairy princess costume for me. Come trick or treat time, I felt like the best shiny, sequined princess on the block. Later, the same piece became a tin man costume for my brother. One year, my brother and I both went as Raggedy Ann and Andy. That costume was so authentic; mom even made the wigs!

Mom, Brother Ben and Me (circa 1978)

I felt sorry for the kids who had to wear those Woolworth generated plastic items, complete with suffocating masks and an unseemly smell. They looked scratchy and uncomfortable, and made a weird rustling sound going up and down the street. But, worst of all, they lacked the hand of a mother’s love. I am haunted by the fact that Claire will now be one of those children.

I have warm feelings in my heart thinking about the love that went into the costumes mom made for us. I feel emptiness in my heart for Claire, because she will not have the same experience as me.

But I know I don’t need to be all things to her. Teaching children that we have limitations is wise. At some point, I will have to tell her that the craft gene has skipped a generation. This fact bodes well for her. Maybe one day, she will carry on the Halloween costume tradition with her own kids.

18 comments:

  1. Oh my gosh! I have felt the same about my own kids! My mom and aunt made Raggedy Ann and Andy costumes for my cousin and me (complete with handmade warn wigs), too! Woolworth! In St. Louis it was Ben Franklin and I thought the same thing about those poor kids and their cheap plastic costumes.

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    1. Hee-hee...Ben Franklin!! That brings me back.

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  2. omg - the story of my life - the tao of poop. two kids and three dogs. my life is excremental. following you from the friday blog hop!

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    1. Yep, a lot of poop. Hope you get some Tao in there too.

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  3. It's possible to be creative in other ways. Shop for different elements of a costume in different stores to put together to create a costume without actually physically making it. Just find the first piece as an inspiration and go from there. Non-creative Moms just have to be creative in a different way. Take it from me, I have 12 thumbs (OK, maybe just 10).

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    1. You type so well for someone who is so finger challenged. Sometimes, I wish I had ten middle fingers. Thanks for the encouragement!

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  4. Such a great post! I feel the same way. I just trying to find other ways to be creative like painting pumpkinds and family Halloween outfits.

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    1. Agreed! I put some love in my baking to make up for my lack of artistic ability. And I hope my daughter will someday appreciate this blog.

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  5. Stopping by from SSS. Wow, you're writing is good. I read your last three posts and really enjoyed them. Felt like I was reading about a friend. Nice.

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  6. Great post! Newest follower from SSS. Hope you will come over and follow me back.
    Julie@ Hey Mommy, Chocolate Milk
    www.heymommychocolatemilk.blogspot.com

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  7. I wish I was more crafty when it came to clothes/costumes. I'm just not, I have a very nice sewing machine, that only my mom has used...

    Thanks for linking up with Super Sunday Sync!
    http://dawnsdisaster.blogspot.com/2012/10/super-sunday-sync-4.html
    Hope to see you next week :)

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    1. Every now and then, I think about getting a sewing machine. But I'm afraid. I know it will sit in the corner, gather dust and haunt me.

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  8. I am the anti-craft. A bit of a failing, as I'd always imagined being one of those amazing seamstress mothers like yours was. Mine wasn't! But she did teach us to piece together innovative costumes like another person mentioned. This gift I am modeling for my children now! Last year one daughter wanted to be Rapunzel, so we bought the dress, but wrapped yellow yarn around a headband and braided it for her wig. A mix and match that worked! My other daughter wanted to be a bat, so just black clothes and a scarf of mine (haphazardly) sewn on to the arms did the trick! I haven't even considered costumes yet this year! Tick, tick...

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    1. I love hearing these stories and suggestions. I have a tendency to think of things as black and white. I'm glad there is an alternative! Good luck; you have 23 days left!!

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  9. My kids have begun bringing home crafts they do at school on Halloween. As a kid we did not focus on the holiday so intensely, but now my kids look forward to it and like decorating the house with their art.
    I really enjoyed your post and I am follow you now.
    I would love for you to follow back.
    Jillian
    http://puzzlemecomplete.blogspot.com/

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    1. I was also a craft-challenged teacher. I definitely relied on the art teacher to provide this experience for my kids. At least I know I taught them how to read though!

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