After Elisabeth’s incredibly anticlimactic 1st Halloween last year, I know you’re all dying to know how I handled the holiday this year. Even three weeks after the fact.
So here you go: I didn’t.
I just said “No”. I said “No” to Halloween. I said “No” to the Pinterest and Etsy-inspired expectations. I said “No” to the frilly tutus and over-the-top costumes which require a professional seamstress to craft. I said “No” to dressing my child up as a character whom she wouldn’t even recognize, because she doesn’t watch any TV except Elmo. And I said “No” to Elmo, because, well, a neighborhood kid was already going as Elmo and I didn’t want Elisabeth to steal his thunder. Plus, I hate Elmo. That voice. It’s the worst.
Anyway, I almost didn’t say “No.” I spent a couple of wasted hours searching online for the perfect costume, which let me tell you, doesn’t exist. After marveling at how expensive and grossly tasteless most TODDLER costumes were , I said, “To Hell with this overblown holiday!”
I then went to pbkids.com, where I at least knew the quality of the costume would be semi-decent, found the cheapest option on sale, and purchased. Bonus? It was gender-neutral! Should I ever have a boy, guess what he’s going to be? A pumpkin!
Yup, I bought Elisabeth a freaking pumpkin costume. Quite possibly the most boring, predictable Halloween costume available. Such was my rejection of Halloween’s unspoken costume competitiveness (who will have the most creative costume? the cutest kid? the most original outfit?), I dressed my daughter as one of its principal symbols. I suppose I could have dressed her as a black cat, and that would have been equally cliché. Maybe next year.
My newfound freedom from the reigns of our Pinterest-obsessed mom world felt goooood. I definitely spared myself a few gray hairs by not worrying about something as trivial as a Halloween costume. Because guess what? The costume choice mattered not at all to Elisabeth. She would have screamed her head off no matter what costume I dressed her in.
Ah, yes. Turns out almost 2-year-olds (or at least my almost 2-year-old) don’t want to dress up. Even though Elisabeth had expressed a fascination with pumpkins from the day I placed two outside our door in my pathetic attempt to decorate, she wanted absolutely nothing to do with her costume. Maybe she truly was angry I had put so little effort into it and had a meltdown in protest, or maybe she was just being difficult to be difficult. I’ll never know. All I know is when it came time to don her costume, Elisabeth refused. The moment I tried to dress her, she began wailing and ripping the costume off. I tried bribing. “If you put the pumpkin on, you get candy!” This bribe proved ineffective, as Elisabeth had yet to learn what “candy” was.
While I had given up my obsession with providing a creative costume for Elisabeth, I hadn’t given up on Halloween entirely. She was going to wear that pumpkin, damnit!, and she was going to look cute.
My mom (who was still visiting at the time) and I eventually wrangled her into the costume. Sort of. We couldn’t get the black turtleneck on underneath the pumpkin, so she was a half-naked pumpkin. A traumatized, half-naked pumpkin. (To be fair, it was 70 degrees out. I wouldn’t have wanted to wear a turtleneck, either.)
We arrived at the trick-or-treating venue – on office building on base – and Elisabeth stopped crying once she realized she got to go around taking food from people. It’s one of her favorite things to do, and now she got to do it without anyone yelling at her to stop. She made it through the offices in record speed, and my sweet, sugar-deprived girl selected from her bucket a rice cracker as her “treat”. More candy for me.
This was the day before Halloween, and the next day proved much more successful. Lured by the promise of lots of treats, Elisabeth wore her costume without objection. She was the cutest clichéd pumpkin that ever was. She trick-or-treated like a champ, and even ate a real piece of candy. Then she ate another real piece of candy when she stole it from our neighbor’s basket while I was handing out candy to Japanese trick-or-treaters. Sneaky little pumpkin.
All-in-all, I would say Elisabeth’s second Halloween was far more successful than her first. Probably because I cared about it less. Funny how that works out, isn’t it?
Now you tell me – what did you do for your kids? Anyone go all out? You probably have that crafty gene that makes these holidays actually fun. Good for you!