Sunday, October 24, 2010

Costume Traditions

Halloween is one of my favorite holidays. I've always loved dressing up, usually as a clown or witch, and can't wait till the night-of to hand out candy to the Trick or Treaters. I like making a big deal over decorating the front porch and keeping it "just enough", but "not too" scary.
Every year, I make sure I acknowledge the great costumes on the little ghosts and goblins (and  spidermen, bumblebees, princesses, football players, etc)... I'm not sure how it makes them feel, but it makes me happy.

When my kids came along, I started putting together costumes and dressing them up for Halloween. 
For Dallas' first Halloween, he was a baseball player. Only seven months old, I dressed him in a little red and white striped outfit with the cap to match.
Every Halloween I made new costume. A clown outfit with yarn "hair" attached under the edge of the hat and makeup on his little face. A cowboy, dracula, the list goes on.
For Shanel, I did the same. She's been an unhappy ballerina, (she wasn't having any of this "dress up" stuff), a "Jem" doll, (she still reminds me of the trauma she suffered when certain kids at school pointed out to her, the mis-spelled name on the front of her dress), a witch, a hobo, a pumpkin, a clown, and on and on. 

Over the years, there were many "carefully thought out" costumes. I'd gather items from Goodwill and our closets. Big shoes, hats, gloves, belts and wigs were added to our collection.
I'd get the sewing machine out for some of the costumes, sometimes staying up all night to finish my project.
I prided myself in putting together these costumes for the kids. Never a "store-bought" costume. I thought it was more fun to come up with the idea and see it through. Besides, it was much cheaper and the quality was better.
We'd take pictures of the kids each year to compare with the year before.

Even as adults, the kids like dressing up and have come up with some great costumes.  
They've used things I saved over the years and have added to the collection
Dressing up for work, school, parties, I've helped them with costumes and makeup.
I'm glad the kids have enjoyed this.

A few weeks ago, Dallas brought his six year old son, Gavin, over.  
Gavin couldn't wait to tell me his dad bought him a Halloween costume. 
Dallas couldn't wait to tell me how much he paid for it.
Then, with a little sarcasm and a smirk on his face, Dallas said "Yeah, we never got to buy a costume at the store. We always had to make our costumes". 

Ohhhh... wowww.... way to stab your mom in the heart, Dallas. 
Cut my heart right out of my chest.
I knew he was joking with me, but deep inside, I wondered, did he really feel this way?
Did I deprive my kids some Halloween tradition? I figured we were making our own traditions. Did most kids buy their costumes? 
Did I really need one more thing about their childhoods to worry about?

I told Dallas I thought they liked coming up with their costumes each year and putting them together. I didn't think they cared about the ones at the store. 
He mentioned again, they never got to buy one.

I didn't really think any more about the costume he purchased for Gavin or the comment he made about having to make them when he was growing up. It didn't bother me like I let on. 
If he wanted to buy a costume at the store, that was fine. Less work for me. 

About a week or so later we went to lunch together. Dallas told me they're having another costume contest at his work. He's won this contest a couple of times with my help. We've used  makeup, hairspray, and articles out of the boxes I've saved for so many years.
I asked what he was going to be and he told me. I told him it sounded like a great idea. 
I didn't ask if he needed help. 

    Maybe he was going to buy this costume.                                                                                                                
             And then:         "Do you think you could make my costume for me, Mom?"
 "Of course", I said with a smile ...and a little smirk....   ....and a warm feeling inside.

So, after:   
2 tubes of silver makeup, 
4 yards of silver vinyl fabric, 
3 yards of elastic, 
1 silver painted funnel, 
72 rivets, 27 snaps, 
                  and 1 red heart snapped to the front of his jacket, 
                 .. here he is..... Dallas.... The Tin Man.

                                     And, YES, he did win First Place.