I was super-excited the first year Angus was old enough to go trick-or-treating. I told him to dream up whatever he wanted to be and I would make it happen. He thought long and hard and then said “I think I want to be…SPIDERMAN.”
But….but…. but….. You have Spiderman costumes and Spiderman pajamas and Spiderman freaking everything and you are LITERALLY SPIDERMAN EVERY DAY, I said. Wouldn’t you like to be something SPECIAL for Halloween, with a NEW costume? Bob the Builder, maybe? Duck Dodgers? Elmer Fudd? Bear from Bear and the Big Blue House? ANYTHING?
Nope. Spiderman it was. With his icky-textured worn-threadbare unitard and the mask that always creeped me out slightly and the fleecy web-printed cape my mother had made him (which spoiled the authenticity because everyone knows Spiderman doesn’t wear a cape, but this is Canada. We got weather). And it was adorable and he had a blast, and I was ever-so-slightly disappointed.
Dumb. Dumb dumb dumb dumb. Every year since has been either a mad scramble to piece together their vision of something or a wallet-emptying trip to Party City. Whenever I was trying to scrapbook a decent Indiana Jones map or sew a heart on a voodoo-doll dress I would think “I should have just bought something”, and whenever I decked them out as Hercules and Aphrodite or something I would think “they look too slick, it’s obvious we just bought something.”
I don’t remember my parents spending this kind of thought or dough on my costumes. As Hannah said, wasn’t everyone either a hobo or a pirate? Yeah, because a cork beard covers a multitude of mildly-offensive stereotypes, and the rest is all old clothes and fake knives – or real ones, because it was the seventies and we were allowed to flout safety rules in the pursuit of laughs.
I remember being a pirate (I’m uncertain which parent’s closet produced the white satin shirt with the plunging neckline – it’s probably better not to know), a painter (same shirt, board with some paint on it, paintbrush, fake beard; some guy asked if I was a cat. I guess we know HE wasn’t handing out the ecstasy free to trick-or-treaters), a vampire (flowy black clothes, white face, fake blood), and a gypsy (man, that shirt got a lot of wear).
Eve’s costumes have gotten more creative as she’s gotten old enough to put some thought into them. After a few years of witches and princesses and mermaids she moved into Vampire Rapper (Angus’s old pants so they’d be baggy, a t-shirt she decorated, old jewelry, white face, fake blood) and Life handing people lemons. This year she was a cute lumberjack (NOT a sexy one) because she tried on a red-and-black-checked dress in Hot Topic and it was adorable and the only way we could justify buying it was if we built her Halloween costume around it.
Angus relied on me to pull something together for him for as long as his trick-or-treating days lasted (sniff). We still go to our friends’ Halloween party every year though, and if you don’t dress up you have to down a gross penalty drink. This year he was Jose Bautista. He wore his own baseball pants, his Blue Jays Jersey, his Blue Jays hat… and a cork beard.
It’s the circle of life, man.