Oct 29, 2005

In Which I Cave in to Halloween

Public school, which Jack will begin next year in first grade, is beginning to look really good, if only for the reason that all the kids will live in our school district, and therefore birthday parties won't be way out in the exurbs. What a confusing landscape we passed through yesterday afternoon. as we drove along country roads not engineered for the rush hour traffic they were getting. We passed huge new houses on cul de sacs, horses and cows, more developments,more farms, more traffic. It took 40 minutes to get there from our inner suburb/small town.

Kids were supposed to wear costumes to the party, thus combining my dislike of Today's Birthday Parties with my dislike of Halloween. We carpooled with Alex again, the Consumer Child. He was wearing a plush Hulk costume, and he made withering remarks about the sorry-assed skeleton "costume" I made for Jack. I had cut out bone shapes from posterboard and taped them on Jack's clothes. I found the costume idea on the FamilyFun website under "last-minute" costumes. I couldn't find the right kind of string for the mask, and had to use two-sided Scotch tape instead of masking tape, etc., etc., etc., and so of course every piece of his costume fell off when he was at the birthday party, and none were retrieved, either. So, we were back to the drawing board today. My plan to have the boys wear matching skeleton costumes of my own making was beginning to take on a quixotic tinge.

Plus, I suddenly remembered how my mother always had me wear things that were embarrassingly uncool (kilts, galoshes,sweater sets) but that met her standards, and even though the boys were not begging me for "normal" costumes, I caved. Caved in to the need to impress Alex? Let's not think too hard about it. The three of us went to Party Land, "Your Halloween Headquarters!," and got costumes. Now a little Darth Vader (Will) and a little Batman (Jack) live in our house. The boys are extremely pleased. I thought we had left part of Jack's costume at the store, and I sent John to look for it, and I began to feel that I was a worthless human being for not checking the contents of the boxes. This after fighting all the traffic, getting two squirmy boys to try on their costumes at the store, and fighting more traffic on the way home. And a call to the other Party Land franchise nearby revealed that they had no more superhero costumes for boys that age, only total loser costumes like the scarecrow from the Wizard of Oz and, ugh, clown costumes. Is there anything as unfunny as a clown? I was really desparate.

So a few minutes after John left, I apologized abjectly to Jack, and he said cheerfully, "That's okay. We have all the parts." Apparently he had taken part of the costume out of the box without me knowing it,and didn't want to say anything to us. I don't know why. Didn't he hear John's and my conversation? I don't care. We will have a normal Halloween tomorrow. We will. To be partly redeemed by collecting for Unicef. But just partly. I'm a living dictionary definition of "ambivalence."But before I go, Happy Halloween. Yeah.


John said...

Thank you for keeping this family oriented and not quoting yourself.

jo(e) said...

I wonder at this new trend of kids buying costumes. I always thought that kids making their own costumes was part of the fun of the holiday. Seems like consumerism is creeping into everything.

I am beginning to feel very old. I am now the type of parent who will go to the Halloween parade and be saying things like, "In my day ....."