Thursday, October 31, 2013

Why You Should BUY Your Kid's Halloween Costume

My mother made my fantastic '80s asymmetrical prom dress and several Halloween costumes.  And she didn’t do the unskilled crafter thing that I can do, as in going to Michael’s and trying to make something out of aluminum pans and glue.

She sewed.  On a MACHINE! 

The costumes she made were gorgeous. I couldn’t have been prouder in my mom’s creations, especially when the alternative was a glorified plastic tablecloth and a horror mask printed with some cartoon character. You forty somethings remember those? No thank you.

When I was about nine, my friend Barbara and I had a joint Halloween birthday party. Both of our birthdays were at the end of August, which meant everyone was out of town.  Our parents decided to postpone our birthday celebrations until Halloween so we wouldn’t feel like total losers.

Heyell no was I going as a bulbous koala or a raccoon.  I HAD to be a roller disco girl, rocking purple satin pants, a pink satin jacket with “Boogie” or something scrawled on the back with glitter paint, and white Capezio jazz shoes.  My mother sewed the entire thing. It was everything I’d hoped for and I felt HOT!

Positive I had the coolest costume in the room, I showed off a bit by doing a big Russian split – squatting down and then jumping up into a straddle split in the air. 

Higher and higher I rose until I got to the top of the jump, and snapped my legs wide open. I looked cool, and I had SKILLS, people!

Unfortunately, the satin was far too delicate to survive the force of a muscular girl launching herself into the air.  The seat of my pants burst open like a frankfurter in the microwave. 

My roller girl satin jeans were ruined.  My panties were on full display.  Barely ten minutes in.  The kids howled with laughter.  Not only did I want to go home, I wanted to die.  At my own party?  Really?

I spent the rest of the party with someone’s shirt wrapped around my waist, foreshadowing the days of wearing a butt shirt because I’d bled through my clothes like a stuck pig. 

Lesson:  Homemade sometimes means made to stay at home.  As in on a hanger.

Thirty-two years later that lesson was forgotten.   

You may recall how I resolved to be some combination of Martha Stewart/a martyr/an idiot by making my almost five-year-old son’s knight costume. 

Well, it turned out amazing!  Look:

My knight in shining armor.
You are blinded by my talent, I know...

Except my poor son could barely walk down the stairs, and couldn’t see for shit.  When we got to the party where the costume would debut I definitely got to feel like a rockstar with all the ooohs and aahs. (What do you MEAN you didn’t have me pegged for a crafter?!  I have many talents, don’t you know!!) 

But when my kid knelt down to eat his pizza down I winced, stifling my desire to yank him to his feet and feed him like an upright armored baby.  All I could think about was getting more wine to calm my nerves over my soon-to-be ruined handiwork.

Eventually, Mr. R took off the leg armor and walked around with just the breastplate, which had an awful lot of the white underside of the foil candy cups showing.  He looked a knight who had lost a battle with some poopy birds. 

It was ironic that Mr. R and I had wanted this outfit to be museum-worthy. A mom friend quipped, “Looks like you made him a suit of armor -- not necessarily a costume.”

For his school party on Thursday, and for actual trick-or-treating a friend took pity on us and offered to lend us a costume from her son’s dress-up arsenal.  We might wear a few elements of the costume I slaved over, like the helmet, but the rest of the getup was bound for its life in the closet.  

Note to Martha, kids like to DO things on Halloween.  Like MOVE.

Doing battle against Martha for her
 beautiful, yet unwearable, costume.

As for me, I’ve learned my lesson.  Halloween costumes should be bought and not made. 

At that's what I think this year.  

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

How I Got My Comeuppance at Michael's

The first fail of the day had already happened, and it was not going to get the best of me.

I got the kids all dressed and ready, put them in the car and drove almost halfway across town to an event that was. . . THE FOLLOWING DAY.

Feeling stupid and guilty for having disappointed the kids, I decided to take everyone to Michael's to gather supplies for my son's what-the-crap-have-I-gotten-myself-into Martha Stewart knight's costume.

In the mall garage I took my ticket from the machine and put it oh-so-responsibly in my wallet. Almost immediately I spotted a woman heading to her car.  She pointed to her vehicle, and seconds later we had rockstar parking. 

Sweet!  I thought. I totally deserve this!

I ushered the kids down the escalator and into Michael's, which was packed. While I caught my bearings in a store that reminded me of how much a crafter I was NOT, I noticed a sign advertising that Michael's, the store that just roared DIY, would be happy to provide you with their professional pumpkin carving services.  


What had the world come to?!!  We couldn't even carve our own fucking pumpkins anymore?  We were that precious, and that time-crunched? God Forbid your jack-o-lantern didn't look like it was carved by Michelangelo.  No wonder we were all so anxious, angry and insecure.

The death of the imperfect, yet lovingly carved pumpkin was clearly a symbol of our failures as a nation, as a culture, and as a civilization.  

And I had to take a picture of it.  Make that two. 

Finished with my mocking, we found some of the supplies we needed, and it was further confirmed that this costume would have me visiting every store in the city.  We checked out and made our way up the escalator and toward the garage.  

Crap! I forgot to validate the parking!  

I searched in my bag, in the interior pouch where I KNEW I'd put the little blue card.  Nothing... 

I pulled the kids into World Market to try to find my ticket and get it stamped.  I squatted down by the front window and began rifling through my purse. Receipts dating back to 2007, candy wrappers galore, but no ticket.  I looked desperate and ridiculous.  And my kids were acting like VIPs at a preschool rave.  

"Guys, I can't find the ticket we need to get our car."  I hoped the image of us walking six miles home -- an urban Trail of Tears -- would scare the shit out of them.  "Be quiet so I can focus, ok?"

It was as if they heard, "Do a Karaoke version of 'U Can't Touch This'!" My pain and suffering meant nothing to them.

I decided to take them back to the car.  At least there I could contain them and not feel like the store manager had announced:

Attention shoppers, at the front of the store there is an African-American woman who has lost her parking ticket and who can't control her kids worth shit.  Gawk at her STAT if you want to feel better about yourself.

We went to the car, and strapped in. I rifled through my tote bags in the trunk as though I had lost my engagement ring.  About 6,000 prospective parkers asked me if I was coming out.  When I shook my head, several thought I was lying and hovered anyway.  

Mr. R began to show some concern, especially when I buried my face in my hands and released a few sobs that rode the fence between fake and real. Lady A, however, cackled like someone watching the Bridesmaids poop scene while stoned.  Her brother tried to get her to showoe some compassion, but she couldn't have cared less. 


"Yes, Mommy." 

Now I was getting all Braveheart if, of course William Wallace had had a uterus. And a car.

I’d give it one last try. I unloaded the kids and marched back to Michael's to retrace our steps.  

"Has anyone returned a parking ticket?" I asked a cashier.

"No, but feel free to look around," she replied.

I didn't have to go far -- it was right there, on the floor where I'd dared to not only mock, but photograph the Pumpkin Carving sign.  

Ok, Michael's and Martha and people who outsource their jack-o’lanterns, you win.   

You totally win.  

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...