Worst Halloween Mom; Best Halloween Dad with the Best Halloween Costumes
As a little kid, Halloween is greatly anticipated. Candy, ghost stories, haunted houses, scary corn mazes, hayrides, and costumes.
Costumes used to be so easy 40 years ago. My mother would take us to the Ben Franklin Dime Store and we would pick out a plastic Halloween mask and a little funny or scary Halloween costume we pulled over our clothes.
Also, my mother could sew up anything in a jiffy. Halloween costumes were no challenge to her. She would take a straw hat, find an artificial flower, and voila, you were a fairy forest princess. Or she would dig into the box in the back of the closet, pull out an old pair of overalls and with the same hat, you became Farmer John. It was the best back then because she was doing all the great Halloween things that moms do.
She would take us to Halloween parties and seemed to enjoy every minute. From the time she created a costume or bought one, to creating some type of Halloween treat, like popcorn balls; to going to the Halloween party and helping with the games. How about Guess Which Body Part with a bowls of peeled grapes and spaghetti? Or the simple bobbing for apples, which we wouldn't dream of doing today with all the germ-aphobe parents? Yep, my mom was a great Halloween mom.
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From Best Halloween Mom to Something went Wrong in the Creative Gene Pool
Then, I became the mom. No imagination at all. I couldn’t sew. I didn’t decorate except for a pumpkin and maybe a dried bunch of cornstalks. Halloween struck anxiety and fear into me, but not because of all the typical Halloweeny things. I feared my kids would be the laughing stock of the Halloween gangs that were at the churches and shopping malls we took them to – no more neighborhood roaming because no one knows the other neighbors.
For my son’s first Halloween, the best I could come up with was a punk rock baby. I gelled his hair into a Mohawk, put black lipstick on him, and diaper pins all over his little sweat suit. Fortunately, at the time, he was the only child and young enough to only be taken to the grandmas' and grandpas' houses. They thought he was adorable no matter how bad the costume.
Later, seeing other kids in either parent-created marvels or rented costumes, I just knew my kids with faces created with eyeliners and lipsticks into unrecognizable characters wanted to hide when the other kids were around. I didn’t believe in spending a lot of money for something that was only going to be worn one night. I know, there must have been an old dried corncob in that cornstalk I bought, and I must have accidentally sat on it while bringing it home.
My kids never complained, though. They anticipated Halloween with all the relish that most kids do. Maybe it was because they just didn't know better, or maybe it is because kids only really care about having fun on Halloween and aren't nearly as judgemental as I am about the lack of creativity in their Halloween costumes. Whatever the case, my kids were great considering their mom dreaded the holiday every year fearing she would have to come up with something for them to wear.
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Best Halloween Dad with the Best Halloween Costume Ideas
When military dad was able to be home, he would outshine me in the Halloween decorating and costume department. The kids were always thrilled to see daddy walk through the door on Halloween. He would tell them stories, he would hide and jump out at them, and he would completely have them in the Halloween mindset, rather than old droopy-drawers mom. He was able to do wonders with that eyeliner, lipstick, and a sweatsuit. My son got to be a pirate, a ninja, and a camouflaged soldier with real camo make-up, and Bad Bart the Outlaw. My daughter got to be the sweetest little bunny rabbit, complete with ears, cottontail, whiskers, and a cute pink nose; and she was a bumble bee complete with antennas. She was also a Valley Girl and a princess with things from her own closet.
Who knew? I didn’t, but thankfully my husband did and he was the grand Halloween artist. You wouldn't think such a big, macho guy would have all these great costume ideas. On the other hand, when we were kids, he was the one who would win the Halloween costume contest on the town square because he was a robot with lightbulbs sticking out everywhere. He came by it naturally.
And the pumpkins were awesome, too. Not just the ordinary one pumpkin with triangle eyes and nose and a toothy smile. No, dad took them out into the yard for a pumpkin carving adventure. There would be giggles and laughs and screams. It was his time with his kids, and I had the selfish joy of standing aside to let him take on the Halloween responsibilities, and letting him create the great Halloween memories.
He saved my kids from total embarrassment by putting them in cool costumes and setting them up with all the fun, scary stories, and decorating with gusto.
Best Halloween Son
Unlike his mom, our son did take after his father with his creative Halloween customs. My kids are seven years apart, and when dad was gone and my son was too old to go to the churches and malls, he would step in and take over. He was his dad made over when it came to Halloween. He created costumes for my daughter and had her in stitches in the yard while carving funny and freaky looking pumpkins. He remembered all the stories and came up with some of his ownn to tell her. I would give him the money, and he would get hay bales, cornstalks, pumpkins, gourds, and beautiful fall flowers to decorate the front of the house.
Now, I must say with relief that I do not have to fear Halloween anymore. I can wait for my grandkids – if I ever get any – to come visit while I admire their dad (my son) and mom’s (my daughter’s) handy work. I think I have a few years to wait…