Halloween costumes…the pain and pressure.

So last night was Halloween! Hope y’all are enjoying a sugar (or bourbon) induced haze heading into work today after dealing with the throngs of kids (both young and awkwardly not so young) knocking on doors and kicking over lit up pumpkins.  It’s a lovely USA tradition, which I am glad is celebrated in pockets around Santiago, Chile as well. Even better as it is mostly Catholic denominated country, we have today, Nov. 1st, off of work & school for All Saints Day to sleep it off.  Yeah!

So in our family we have a tradition going all the way back to the 80’s of making our costumes…like when I stapled christmas tinsel to a hat to be a witch, or went hog-wild with puffy paint and pink lace gloves to be a punk version of Madonna (totally not Material Girl-style). We do this with our kids now.  This year my daughter was a flamingo  and my son was a puma (after some recent trips to deserts and rain forest around this end of the world).

Now we can all pinterest and find oodles of cute amazing hand-crafted ideas of costumes lovingly made up by ex-Martha Stewart scouts.  Ours honestly don’t look like that.  My kids costumes start to fall off and apart about 1 house down the block. It becomes more of a gross motor challenge to keep pants up, tails out, candy bag at the ready and head-piece from blocking all vision.  There are excessive safety pins involved, cut up old pieces of clothing, duct tape and glued on foam that add to the texture of the experience.

Here are a few from over the years to show the shabby hand-made and duct taped creations…Baby braveheart, firman (duct tape is actually holding together a repurposed old raincoat), oscar the grouch with tin foiled bjorn garbage can, trash truck man, knight & princess and pink lion.

Clearly NOT professionally done, nor would they appear on pinterest. Oscar the grouch was made with a heinous green towel on-sale from target that was (very poorly) sewn into a onesie jump suit that was more straight jacket than anything. The tin foil fell off quick and I may have caused a re-shaping of her soft skull by putting a pot top on her head….but she seemed to have a ball and laughed (probably more at me) the whole time.  The trash truck was hard for my son to carry given that we made the straps with painters tape (only tape in the house that day) that kept un-peeling (as it’s supposed to do) but he liked putting his candy in the front loading dumpster.  The armor for the knight was just shinny poster board tied on with christmas ribbon that fell down 2 blocks from the house…by the end of our 1 hour tour he was just a kid with a sword and shield running like a mad man hopped up on snickers.

All of these costumes though were made actually with the kids helping (some) and actually took way more time to concoct (& purchase stuff for / locate items in the trash/recycling bin) than I would have been spent if I just went to the grocery store and bought something in a plastic bag. They are definitely not heirloom pieces and were discarded shortly after (if not during) the holiday event.  But they were fun for that time.  Sometimes, I think it’s ok to spend time and effort on something that doesn’t turn out perfect, but instead is good for it’s purpose. So what if you can’t fully move (I shoot for able to breath though), have a hole in a seam, are a different than standard color or fall apart completely.  Too much perfectionism here I think spoils the creativity.

We have all seen some kids waddling about in lovingly made costumes with hand sewing sequence and moving parts. Awesome. But there is a trade off in the stress of perfection vs. good enough for the purpose.  Is it that we are worried our kids or ourselves will be teased? I have never heard another kid say, ‘wow that fireman jacket looks really crappy…you should have worked harder on that to make it more authentic’…have you? So why do we let ourselves feel such pressure?

Basically, there are many ways to handle the holiday as long as the kids are happy and parents save their sanity.  So I applaud all the pintersters out there making it beautiful and perfect to withstand multiple generations if it is done without comparisons and is fun to achieve. I also applaud all you smart parents that have jobs and obligations that make heading for that pre-made isle the best option to please all parties (yes to the package that has a bow-an-arrow accessory included!).  And I applaud all those who, like me, enjoy making stuff but end up duct-taping the crap out of it to have the vision achieved…go for it! As long as it’s fun for all and honors your own personal style and traditions!

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