Saturday, November 15, 2014

Halloween Through the Years and the Realization That I'm Letting Go a Tiny Bit

I realized this year that we are now at the point where, when it comes to costumes, I have a few options to choose from:
a) Pick something I love (that probably costs too much) and force the kids to wear it. Ovbiously, this defeats most of the purpose of the holiday. Since unless you're a devil worshiper or somethings, it's basically just for fun. Being as we're not Santanic, this eliminates option A.
b) Let the children have total free reign over what they'll be. This is ceding too much control and makes me a little panicky.
c) Help them choose costumes based on what I know they like/what we already have. This seems to be a wonderful compromise and the added bonus is a not disgruntled Sweet McFrugal.

I thought it might be fun to look back and see how we got to this point:

Halloween Year #1: Go Light Your World
Annie was six months old and I decided on a plush glow worm costume. It was actually pretty inexpensive. At this point, I had not yet discovered Chasing Fireflies and I thought Children's Place plush was the best thing out there. Bonus points for such a colorful costume. Aparently at the point, I was consumed with making my six month old's gender obvious, because I really stressed about the fact that people might not know she was a GIRL GLOWWORM. Never mind that the only people who saw her were our friends and family. Many of whom had changed her diapers, or at the very least been sent a relatively frilly birth announcement and interacted with her in pink smocked bishop dresses a good bit. I also became slightly neurotic about taking pictures with just about every worm apparatus in our house. Strangely, we had a good handful of worms/caterpillar toys. Basically because we had too much crap.

Halloween Year Two: Strawberry Fields Forever
This was the pinnacle of indulgence, as Halloweens go. I think I spent $40 on a perfectly adorable, "stringy, chenille like strawberry costume from Chasing Fireflies. I still do love that costume and we got a lot of good play time in it over the years. I also decided abruptly, a few days before the big holiday, that Annie NEEDED some red Keds to go with it. She had red t-strap shoes that seemed too dressy and also a couple of pairs of tennis shoes. But I desperatly wanted something that would match her outfit colorwise and be appropriately informal. I think she wore the shoes a good bit afterwards and Graves got a ton of wear out of them, so it wasn't a total bust. But it was weird thinking, I feel like. And then they turned out to not even be the right shade of red. My neurosis flared up again and we had to do more pictures with strawberry props.

Halloween Year Three: Under the Big Top
Graves had made an appearance and this was the year I struck gold (with such a precious baby, of course, but also with the costumes). Ovbiously, at this point, I was working with a theme and not a singular costume. I had found Graves an precious clown costume of Zulily for next to nothing (seriously, I think it was less than $10) and ordered it before I knew if he'd be a boy or a girl. I thought a boy clown would be cuter, but I knew I could finagle it a la Annie Glow Worm from 2009. I was searching for a monkey costume for Annie, but my friend Kellie alerted me to a psychedelic elephant costume and it was a no-brainer. Elephants in general, I think are cute, but the flower power motif in bright fuchsia just made the outfit. I didn't realize until I went digging around for these pics, but MORE PROPS! Annie had sweet Babar whom she still loves dearly and actually rode the train not two days ago and Graves has a mega creepy clown. Wow.

Halloween Year Four: Never Grow Up!
This is where things started going downhill. To be fair, I had a near nervous breakdown and was HORRIBLE to my dad when Peyton brought me to surprise Spingsteen. Things where way upside down in my life, so I'm not sure there was room for it to be a stellar costume year. The thing that bothered me most, though, was that it was a definite miss, but a close miss. Annie looked pretty good in her Tinkerbell costume which was two sizes too small and the second one I bought (the first was about four sizes too big) even with the tights and turtleneck under it.
 I actually MADE (as in sewed) Graves's costume and shock of all shockers, that part looked pretty darn good. The screw up was with his leggings. Which were actually green sweetpants with a weird brown striped trim that for some reason went basically up to his knees.

I had gotten in a bind with what he'd wear for bottoms and I just DID NOT FEEL COMFORTABLE with him wearing green girls' leggings. Again, this seemed to be a struggle for me. Y, ALL, times have changed. I've moved to Brooklyn and became enlightened. Just kidding. But two things happened:

1. I started putting his sister's hand me down leggings under jon jons and gingham pants on the regular. Because I just could not do denim every day. And because apparently, not only is lightweight gingham not really suited for Yankee persuasions it's not suited for the climate either. It's basically like wearing a Kleenex.
2. I did decide that fretting over gendered costumes was not worth my time...
Exhibit A:

Exhbit B:
*For the record, I still fully think gender is a thing and that it's not as fluid as probably some of my friends believe. But at the same time, a costume is a COSTUME and the whole point is you get to pretend you're someone your're not. So I probably wouldn't have a problem with buying my two year old green pantyhose. In fact, if it was humorous enough and his tunic was long enough, I don't think I'd have a problem buying Peyton green pantyhose. And I definietly wouldn't be stressing over feminizing the glow-worm.

Halloween Year Five: Princess and the Frog Prince
While Year Four was probably my least favorite in actual practice, Year Five was my least favorite in theory. I didn't really have a gameplan, though, and Minnie found the kids some great marked down costumes at the TJ Maxx. I'm just not a huge fairy tale/princess/ect. type person. For some reason, it's just not my thing. HOWEVER, Annie was about as enamored with the huge hoop skirt (somewhat Swedish looking?) princess dress as I was the worm, chenille eatable, and psychedelic fuchsia elephant of the first three years. I was mostly just happy that they coordinated in some way. And I do think they ended up being a charming "couple" and they played the parts well. Lots and lots of kisses! No props needed for photographs when you have spontaneous sibling affection. It wasn't a bad year.

Halloween Year Six: Oz Meets Brooklyn
I feel like we had a completely different vibe this year. I think a lot of that was me and Peyton dressing up. The kids loved that and I think we'll continue it for awhile. I also think that I was more creative, if you can call it that. It didn't look perfect. AT ALL. But this year, for the first time, we really worked with what we had. We bought some stuff for Peyton's costume, but otherwise we all wore things we had. And I (with some help) figured out a way to make a theme fit what we had rather than choosing a theme and then buying a bunch of stuff. It was a good exercise for me.

It will be fun to see what next year holds. Especially since our budget is going to be UNREAL =)

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