Sunday, October 20, 2013

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 stated 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 I

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 Claire. Teaching children that we have limitations is wise. Someday, I will have to tell her that the craft gene has skipped a generation, which bodes well for her. Maybe one day, she will carry on my mom's Halloween costume tradition with her own kids.

Halloween post pulled from the archives.

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  1. I actually just wrote a post that I am publishing this week about my mom also making my costumes and truly I didn't appreciate it then, but now I totally do and get it. Crazy what we take for granted when we are younger that now we don't and see so differently.

  2. So happy to be featured- thank you! Also- when we were kids, our classic Halloween memory was me standing next to my BFF who was wearing a handmade Raggedy Ann costume. I was a plastic Super Grover. The craft gene skipped my mom's generation... but it's skipped me, too! :/

  3. I have no creativity either when it comes to costumes. Haha.

  4. I was a homemade red crayon, Halloween clown, pink princess, and purple ballerina. My grandpa made my mom and all her sibling's costumes EVERY YEAR. This year, my daughter is a store bought elephant and my son is Iron Man. I have the urge to make the costumes but I'm pretty sure they'll still love the important part of Halloween.

  5. I have the IDEA for the creativity but not the skills to pull it off. Therefore, we do Ghetto Costumes here. Admittedly, my son gets store-bought crap (that he loves) and my husband and I do "themed" with him that comes from whatever I can scrounge from the kitchen and the bathroom at the last minute. Today, I decided to be proactive with my idea. So far, I have ruined THREE of my white t-shirts. Yup.

  6. I have the creativity but limited skillz. Luckily my mom is willing to help out when it comes to the costumes. She made all of our costumes when we were kids and luckily she enjoys sewing-I tend to enjoy the other hands on parts (like making a utility belt out of duct tape for batman). I have done store bought too, but always with the idea that it would be used later for pretend play. My son was Jeff Gordon for several years for Halloween (his choice) so I can definitely say that costume was worth buying!

  7. I don't have that craft skill either and you're right, we can't be everything we want to be for our children. Linking up for the first time with SSP!

  8. Costumes have improved a LOT, I have bought some of THE cutest outfits. There's hope yet. :)

  9. I thought I remembered this post because the whole time I was reading it I was like YES YES YES I TOTALLY AGREE. :) This year I'm dressing H up as Yoda at R's request. Bought myself some Princess Leia braids. Voila.

  10. My Mum always made the most amazing costumes for us as children - and I can barely thread a needle! Happily she sews regularly for my children now.

    Kate x
    Kate at Home

  11. I can't even thread a needle. But I'm AWESOME with a roll of duct tape. Most of my kids' Halloween costumes involve boxes...

  12. Rachel!!!! I haven't had a lot of time to blog hop, but I always make it back to my favorite people when I have a moment. First off, CONGRATS on the book!! Second, I agree with this. It is wise to know our limitations, and it's okay to show them to our kids. It's a much wiser choice than trying to do it all, getting frustrated, and having our children see and feel that frustration. I loved this!

  13. creativity with costumes always seems interesting .. though i don't have one :D well penned :)

  14. My mother always made the best costumes for me and my brother, too. I could do it, but I just don't have the time. I really hate having to work full-time! I did make my son a lasso for his cowboy costume, though. It didn't look great, but people got the idea, and he liked it. Huzzah! :)


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