Thursday, October 30, 2008

Happy Halloween!

He's going as a vegetable garden because it occurred to me a couple of weeks ago that his green Zutano cozie overalls look like grass, and we happen to have a set of baby vegetable toys to pin on. The only thing I had to buy was the pumpkin hat.

I resist store-bought costumes. It's not because I had a childhood full of perfect creations whipped up my mom on the sewing machine. She probably did at least once or twice, though she worked full-time, and certainly I remember my grandmother being pressed into service as a seamstress for a marvelous 18th century ("Martha Washington") dress that didn't get the exposure it deserved because it was one of those razor-blade-crazy, Halloween-is-canceled years. Mostly I remember Halloween costumes as more-elaborate dress-up. I was a gypsy more years than I can count because it meant wearing, like, six skirts layered and half my mom's costume jewelry, which was just about as great as a bagful of candy. Some years I left off the jewelry and added a shawl and kerchief and was a pioneer girl, which meant that I could carry one of my mom's good willow baskets over my arm -- I always liked when I could incorporate the candy receptacle believably into the costume. More important than the authenticity of the bag, though, was finding a way to make lots of layers essential, so that I didn't have to wear a jacket over my gypsy or pioneer or whatever else gear and thus ruin the whole thing.

If when Ben is older and can exert his own will about costumes, he wants to be a store-bought Spiderman or whatever, I'm not going to argue. Less work for mother, as my mother always used to say. But I'll be happy if, at least some years, Halloween means raiding all our closets and finding the fantastic in the familiar.

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