I grew up with a mother who wasn’t terribly crafty, but come Halloween would dutifully create my Halloween costume with her own two hands. Over my trick-or-treating career she whipped up a black cat, gypsy and hobo using only her cunning and sheer force of will.
Nowadays we call these people Martha Stewart, back then we just called them mom. I, of course, never failed to appreciate all the hard work and who knows how many scarves and hoop earrings my mother sacrificed to the cause of homemade costumes.
I was forever grateful that I had a mother who cared enough to go the extra mile. I could just feel the love.
Of course that’s not what happened. What happened is that I coveted the cheap one piece smock and molded face mask that made your breathing sound like Darth Vader and would by the end of the night be so uncomfortable that you ended up wearing it atop your head while the rubber band cut into the flesh of your chin. I ached to wear Wonder Woman, Bionic Woman, heck, I’d have dusted off an old Barney Rubble they had laying around the Woolworth’s. I just wanted one of those cheap plastic costumes in the worst way.
Accordingly, because God has both a plan and a pretty healthy sense of humor, I gave birth to a child who wants homemade costumes in the worst way. No store bought or cartoon characters for this kid. Last year her criteria was that she wanted to be something “big with a box.” A lot of mothers would have gone to town on that. Maybe making her a town (or at least a respectable high-rise). Perhaps a robot? How about a train? Not me, I searched the memory banks of my childhood and came up with: hobo! She wasn’t seeing my vision.
“Where does the box fit in?”
“You live in the box. The box is your home.”
Now I should explain that we weren’t attempting to poke fun at the plight of the homeless nor were we making a political statement. This goes no deeper than my having a child intent on using a “big box” for her costume and my trying to come up with something that required no more effort than putting her in her dad’s old clothes and shoving a bandana on a stick into her hands. This year I was armed and at the ready.
I had done my homework and had an arsenal of box-shaped costume ideas at the ready. I am supermom, hear me roar!
“I want to be a cupcake” she said. See what I mean? Sweet kid but kind of a trial. How about a Jack-in-the-box? A Christmas present?
“A cupcake” she said again, firmly. I love her but sometimes I think she was sent just to test me.
Thus, I spent last night crafting a costume for my daughter who has lately suffered the delusion that I am one of those clever, “crafty” type moms who doesn’t hot glue her fingers together. We spent two nights in the kitchen fashioning a big fluffy cupcake out of silver paper and fiber fill. There were ribbons and pom-poms and yes, I did indeed hot glue my fingers more than once.
A week ago I didn’t even know we owned a glue gun and now I am causing serious bodily harm with one. Look at me grow! It occurred to me as we giggled and laughed and fought back the fluff with our bare hands that this may be my last year for costumes.
My children are at the cusp of the age where looking cute for boys outweighs creativity and no girl would be caught wearing a box or a giant baked good. Halloween appeals to all ages and this is certainly true this year. This is my time for “let’s pretend.”
I’m going to pretend that my daughter is still very young, and small, and that I have endless years to spend giggling with her over costumes. That she will always believe that I can make — and do — anything. That I have endless years to spend with my own little cupcake. I don’t, of course.
Soon “cool” will outrank “costumes” and time, like trick-or-treaters, marches on. Today all I can do is hope that the hot-glue — and my heart — both hold out long enough to get us through this Halloween, and the next, and the one after that. Love ya cupcake!