01 November, 2010

The Hat Makes the Man

I don't really like Halloween. I'm not sure when I started not to like it. Maybe it was the pressure of coming up with a great costume; jeesh, I had the kind of friends who dressed up as green m&ms and other cool things.

Maybe it's that I was raised to think that I was  destined to be hit by a car while trick-or-treating, or that by the time I got to college, it was expected that all females would dress as some sort of sexy version of normal things: sexy vampire, sexy nurse, sexy meter maid, sexy butcher, sexy Cal-trans worker...although I did the Castro thing in the late 90s, and I had fun (and yes I went as a sexy cowgirl).

and now I'm a mom, and so I do Halloween. I am anxious about it every year, that my kids won't have the right costume, that they will look back and think I didn't do enough.. it will somehow be obvious that I can't wait for October to fly by.

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scary girls, scary babies
But enough of all that... we DID do Halloween this year, and not only that, but it went well from costumes to school parties to trick-or-treating.

We went to the Halloween store a few weeks ago in the search of a costume for Jake.  We've done several years of those muscle costumes where the fabric is stuffed with filler to make the kid look big and manly. So far, he's been the Hulk, and Superman and Mr. Incredible, and Spiderman and I can't remember what else. They are great, easy costumes (which end up in the dress-up box later!), but we couldn't find one we liked.

We found a lot of scary things that someone, not us, might set up around a house, but the costume selection was not all that great for tween boys unless you want to wear a mask. We didn't find anything reasonable that night, although my daughter very sweetly let me know that I my legs would look great in this costume:
I love that my daughter thinks I look like this

Share photos on twitter with TwitpicWe carved pumpkins with Descartes' parents last Sunday, which was fun, and made me remember that I carved pumpkins with them the first year I knew them in 1995. This year the carved pumpkins didn't last until Halloween. We enjoyed, okay, I enjoyed, watching Hello Kitty slowly melt and be consumed by mold. It was less fun to clean it up, but I have a wonderful husband who took care of that.

We finally found costumes for both kids. Lucy went as Belle, and Jake went as a cowboy. Picking out Jake's costume was really very fun. Descartes, Lucy and I each picked one or two costumes we thought would work for Jake, then presented them all to him. He laughed and laughed, especially when we each tried to convince him to choose the costume we were holding. We got it down to three, then two, and he finally picked the cowboy outfit.

Both children had school parties/parades... Lucy first... my galliwompus little Belle, who could barely hold still long enough for me to brush her hair. She actually said that her head was going to pop off because she was so excited about Halloween. For trick-or-treating on Sunday night she had to put on a long sleeve tshirt under her dress. I love how Northern California kids just suck it up and wear jackets or layer to keep warm. There's no complaining like we did when I grew up...oh, all that moaning I did about how the shirt or jacket was going to ruin my costume.

The best story of Halloween may be as simple as a hat. Jake wore a hat. JAKE WORE A HAT!

He apparently wore his hat almost all day at school on Friday. Certainly he wore it the entire time Lucy and I were with him when he went from classroom to classroom collecting candy. He also wore it on Sunday trick-or-treating. This is so huge. He's also been wearing his helmet when he rides his bike at school, and all this after he wore a helmet horseback riding this summer.

I know he's getting older, that he's learning every day, gaining new skills, but I think I have just let go of some things. When we realized that Jake hated hats (and gloves) we knew that we were not going to move to any place less temperate, and I sort of stopped worrying about it, and stopped thinking about it last winter. It is exciting to be able to check that box off. We still have a long way to go before he's wearing a baseball hat to keep off the sun, or a knit cap to keep warm, but I'll take several hours of an ill-fitting cowboy hat. It's a start, and we like starts because that means at least we are on the same road.

yes, Gus has a costume on.
awake and happy the entire time!
Sunday night we went through the neighborhood with a couple of other families. Jake went in his wheelchair, for safety, our peace of mind, and the fact that he normally goes to bed around the time most kids start trick-or-treating, so we expected him to get tired. Lucy was very precious, as she asked for another piece of candy for her brother, if we couldn't easily wheel the chair to the door. Later, she just took half of whatever she had been given and put it into his bag rather than ask for more. She gets extra points for that because that girl loves candy like no one I have ever seen.

Everyone made it through the trick-or-treating..no tears, no complaining, no melt-downs...we have bags and bags of candy, and no sick stomachs. Both kids are sleeping now, (although Lucy is next to me on the couch) and I am a grateful woman who just might like Halloween a little bit more this year.
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