To a kid Halloween is at least as important a holiday as Thanksgiving
My son is in the middle of a five-day weekend. Supposedly the schools are closed for conference days, but I think we all know they're actually closed for "Deal With Your Own Overly Sugared, Hyper Child, Days."
When I was growing up, I always wished school could be closed for Halloween. After all, to a kid Halloween is at least as important a holiday as Thanksgiving. Let's see, one holiday you have to sit at a table with your family, the other you get to run around in the streets dressed in a costume. Which one sounds better to you? So, my son, Silas, gets to live my own childhood wish come true: a long weekend for Halloween.
As a kid, my mom would always make my Halloween costumes. I don't know if she enjoyed this or dreaded it all year long, but it was just expected. There was a fair amount of recycling old costumes. A rabbit costume became a Dalmatian a couple years later, both my brother and I went as the same skunk and raccoon a couple years apart, and for some reason I was the proud owner of a germ costume, which morphed into a clown costume. I guess all those people with a fear of clowns know that deep down a clown is just a big germ. Silas' very first Halloween he wore a recycled costume as well — a lion headdress originally made for my brother more than 30 years earlier.
This year, Silas was very specific about his costume needs. He wanted to be a ninja and was adamantly opposed to a homemade costume. I guess he realized we would have just added some scarves to his gi, the outfit we had bought him last year for a short-lived willingness to attend aikido classes.
While slightly disappointed with my child's fall to holiday commercialism (what's he going to want next, a Christmas tree?), I understood. Homemade costumes have fallen out of vogue like a scrunchie, and Silas just wants to fit in with the rest of the kids in the class. Apparently ninja is a very popular costume this year in the under-10 crowd.
While at the store with Silas, as he weighed the pros and cons of being either a red or blue ninja (Silas is a very slow and careful decision-maker, unlike his mother), I had the opportunity to look at the adult costumes. I was disappointed. I seemed to be stuck with choosing something "sexy." Sexy nurse, sexy firefighter, sexy sailor "… nothing sounded fun, let alone warm enough to wear in Oregon on a late October night. Silas finally chose red, and I decided to just wear my shark dress.
Yup, for Halloween I will be wearing the same shark dress that I sat around in for Shark Week earlier in the summer. Sometimes you just can't get enough use out of a big T-shirt covered in felt teeth, and I'm a big believer in recycling costumes. During Shark Week I was a Great White; maybe for Halloween I can be something a little friendlier, like a Reef Shark.
I just hope my costume isn't too scary for the children's Halloween parade. After all, the number of deaths caused by sharks each year is only narrowly beat by such terrifying things as snakes and toasters — probably ninjas, too, now that I think about it. Silas will be a weaponless ninja (except his bare hands, of course) because the only thing more embarrassing than a homemade costume would be to be asked to leave the Children's Halloween Parade by the Chamber of Commerce.
Zoe Abel is sitting, hot glue gun and felt readily available, for the day that Silas wants to be the little shark. Or a toaster. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org