Well, dangit. I accidentally already ate most of the Halloween candy. This is not a rare occurrence, as I seem to do it every year, pillaging the sweets that I’ve purchased well in advance of the holiday. And yet it takes me by surprise every single time.
Candy aside, this Halloween is shaping up to be full of surprises, mainly because of this: I actually bought costumes this year.
Usually, when my kids start spouting costume ideas, I tell them to find something in the three plastic bins we have in the basement where all of our costume stuff resides. If that fails, I will muster all my motherly strength and take them to the thrift store to cull together something vaguely resembling whatever their desired costume might be.
This year, the thought of doing either of those things just seemed too overwhelming. That’s why, almost as soon as the costume chatter began in early October, I pulled up amazon.com and got to work.
“You want to be a Pokemon character?” I confirmed with Henry one night during a rare lull between football practice, dinner, fighting and homework.
“Yeah, my friends are all dressing up as different characters, and I was hoping to match them,” he said cautiously, unsure who this woman was who was willing to buy a costume online without a second thought.
“How about this one?” I showed Henry a pajama-looking green and white Pokemon jumpsuit, and he was sold.
“Done,” I said, moving efficiently on to the next kid. “Emmett, what’s your fancy this year?”
“I’m thinking about one of those inflatable costumes, like an alien or a T-Rex or something,” he replied.
I typed “inflatable costume” into the Amazon search bar and was presented with a whole buffet of ridiculous inflatables. Emmett’s eyes lit up when he saw one that inflated in such a way that would make it look like he was riding a small dinosaur. It was ridiculous. He was thrilled. Twenty-five dollars later, it was ours.
Hyrum was the easiest of all. He’d been talking for weeks about dressing as an Army medic, and with a few clicks, I purchased the costume of his dreams. When he came home from school a few days later and found it sitting in my bedroom, he put it on immediately, even wearing it for piano practice a few minutes later.
Further surprises: Logan and I have hopped on the costume bandwagon as well. In years past, Logan has just slapped a dress-up wigs on his head 10 minutes before trick-or-treating, and I haven’t dressed up at all. We’re the Ebenezer Scrooges of Halloween, you might say.
But for whatever reason, Logan really wanted us to knock it out of the park this year, which is why we found ourselves wandering the aisles of a costume store one morning last week. Have you ever been inside one of these big-box costume stores? There are costumes and hats and masks in every size and variety. There is no way you could go in there looking for a costume and come out empty-handed.
However, as we were looking for couples-themed costumes, we couldn’t help but notice the contrast between what was available for men and women.
Male fighter pilot: realistic full-body flight suit, looks like he could land an F-16 at any moment. Female fighter pilot: skin-tight mini skirt with a shirt unzipped almost down to her belly button, looks like she couldn’t climb into a fighter jet if her life depended on it.
Male prison inmate: striped shirt and pants, prison number stamped across his chest. Female prison inmate: bright orange thigh-high two-way zip dress with a sign citing “indecent exposure” as her crime.
Yikes. We both laughed and cringed at the disparity. But I digress. Logan and I finally decided on a good old 1980s theme: He bought a black and neon track suit with accompanying mullet wig and headband, while I found a baggy neon sweatshirt to wear with leggings and leg warmers. And yes, there will be scrunchies and ratted hair involved, because I didn’t perfect the sky-high bangs technique in 1989 for nothing.
Our kids are going to be blown away when they see their mom and dad actually putting real effort into Halloween night. Like I said, this Halloween is full of surprises.
Julia Ditto shares her life with her husband, six children and a random menagerie of farm animals in Spokane Valley. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.