A Day in the Life of a Mom Right Before Halloween
I spent most of this morning running around the Halloween Procrastinator Hell that is NYC right now. Almost every good costume option is sold out. “You should have come earlier!” The saleswoman in Village Costume Shop told me. I sighed and shouted back, “I’ve been here ten times already!”
Harlow has had her costume planned for months (she is a demon which is a long running joke amongst her friends at school), and typical of Harlow, she made sure her demon is as fashion forward as possible.
Mazzy has been much less decisive. First, she wanted a velvet purple cloak and Halloween themed fishnets to use for some sort of witch coven costume. Then she decided that wasn’t good enough and wanted more ideas. We scoured the options online. We made multiple trips to peruse the costume shop—luckily, it’s pretty close to our apartment. Finally, she decided on Draculaura from Monster High. She didn’t like the store bought costume, so we put some things together on our own— pink and black striped tights, pink hair extensions, big black boots and a repurposed Little Miss Muffet costume which works better than it sounds. But then, earlier this week, Mazzy decided she hates her Draculaura costume. Truthfully, I knew this was coming because she never let me see her in it. At this point, we were only a week out from Halloween, so I suggested every last minute costume idea that came to mind. Mazzy liked none of them and said she would rather not dress up at all.
Then last night, just two days away from Halloween, Mazzy figured it out.
“I figured it out!” she ran into the living room happily.
“For Halloween? What do you want to be?”
“What the hell is this?”
“It’s a scene from Spiderman.”
“Can we see if we can find the shirt?”
I found the t-shirt easily online. That wasn’t a problem. There are a million versions on Amazon, Etsy, Red Bubble, etc. Apparently, it’s a thing. But every single site gave me the earliest delivery date as November 2nd.
“I’m sorry, Mazzy. It’s not going to happen.”
“Well then I’m not dressing up.”
“What if we made it ourselves?”
“We could draw it on a white t-shirt.”
“We can’t make the taxi.”
She was probably right. “What if we wrote the top part with marker and then printed out the taxi and fastened it on somehow?”
“That’s not going to look right.”
“Listen. When I was a kid, we always made our costumes. That was part of what made them clever! It didn’t have to look perfect. I used to make your costumes when you were a little kid too. The sushi, Corduroy, Olivia— those were all partially handmade.”
“It wasn’t until you started wanting VERY SPECIFIC costumes, like Mal’s purple leather outfit from Descendants Two, which should not be confused with Mal’s purple leather outfit from Descendants One, that we started buying packaged costumes.”
Mazzy agreed to let me give the t-shirt a shot. I found the highest resolution version of the taxi graphic online and printed it out. Then I put it under a white t-shirt and traced the words with a Sharpie. I cut out the taxi and just straight up glued the paper onto the shirt with fabric glue. It’s not going to hold up long term, but all we need is for it to last the weekend.
“What do you think?”
“See? I knew we could get it to work.”
“Okay. Now you have to find pink flannel Hello Kitty pajama pants!”
“NOT GOING TO HAPPEN, MAZZY.”
I got Mazzy to agree that any pink flannel patterned pajama pants would do. And that’s how I spent my morning in last minute Halloween Prep Hell. I went to Target, Old Navy, Marshall’s and TJ Maxx, where I finally found some options.
I decided the ones on the left were the best (even though they are an adult large) and purchased the cats on the right too, just to be safe. The cat pajamas aren’t the right pink, but the cats are kind of like Hello Kitty and honestly I had no idea what Mazzy would think. I could be a hero or a failure, but I wasn’t going to know until Mazzy got home from school.
Now, what about Mike and I?
Some parents plan their family costume way ahead of time and make the kids follow suit, even if they don’t understand what they are representing. Like, I’m sure we will have more than one Squid Game family this year. Mike and I usually get costumes last minute, based on whatever the kids choose. It started with us doing Maleficent and the Evil Queen when Mazzy and Harlow were going as Mal and Evie. I didn’t even know Mike was being the Evil Queen until he surprised us that night.
This resulted in my favorite photo of all time:
The next year, Mazzy wanted to do her own thing and Harlow wanted to be Harley Quinn, so Mike and I ran around the day before Halloween putting together a last minute Joker and Catwoman.
The year after that, Harlow was Fashion Panda. I wasn’t going to dress up but we got two pairs of ears by accident, so I just followed her lead. It’s perhaps the easiest and best costume ever.
This year, I thought we were ahead of the game. Over the summer, the kids wanted us all to do WandaVision together. I loved that costume because Mazzy was going to be Wanda, Mike was going to be Vision, Harlow was going to be Agatha, and I was going to be Darcy.
That’s Darcy in the top left. She’s basically me in a black puffer jacket with a hat and glasses. Easy peasy.
But back in September, the kids put the kabosh on the family WandaVision costume. “But why??? It’s so good!” They had no explanation for me. We were just another family without a theme.
In mid October, on maybe my 3rd or 4th trip with Mazzy to the costume shop, I decided to buy white angel wings and a halo, just so the trip wouldn’t be a total waste. I figured I could be the angel to Harlow’s demon.
Then, this morning in TJ Maxx, while searching for Tom Holland’s pajama pants, I spied a big red hoodie in the men’s section and realized I could put together a last minute devil costume for Mike. We’ve got a Halloween party on Saturday night, where adults are heavily encouraged to dress up. Could devils, angels and demons be our family costume coming together after all? (Plus one disheveled Tom Holland?)
I bought the red hoodie. Mike already owns a red cape from a past Superman costume, so all he needed to complete the costume was devil horns. Except, when I got to the costume shop, devil horns were all sold out. That’s when the woman told me I should have come earlier. Mmmhmmm.
I almost gave up. But then I heard a familiar voice in my head. “Listen. When I was a kid, we always made our costumes. That was part of what made them clever! It didn’t have to look perfect.”
And that’s how I ended up at Staples and the hardware store buying black duct tape and red masking tape (that was all they had) to make homemade devil horns.
You think I can do it? We shall see. The last minute-ness of it all is kinda our Halloween tradition.
Make sure to follow me on Instagram to see if it all comes together.
What are you guys being for Halloween this year? Do you dress up as a family? Or is everyone on their own? Who dictates the costumes— you or your kids??? How late in the game does everyone decide?
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