November 2, 2009

Happy HalloWTH? (PART 1)

Firstly, I forgot to say when the contest for Hollis’s book would end. Let’s say Tuesday, midnight EST.

AND YES I know Halloween is OVER and I should have told you all this last week, but I have been VERY BUSY preparing to cheat at NaNoWriMo. (Are you NaNoWriMo-ing? Well. There will be more on this later. I swear it by the cat-fuzz lint balls sticking to my pink socks.)

When the first of the Halloween costume catalogs came, my children snatched it and ran off to decide who they would be this year. This was a bittersweet occasion; my son had already announced that this would be his last year trick or treating, as NEXT year he would be a TEENAGER. (Excuse me. I have to pop into the downstairs coat closet for heaping hot serving of mental breakdown with a side of shrieking, NO NO NO, at the heavens in horrified denial....Okay. Back.)

I may have gotten MISTY, remembering a fat wad of black-haired baby stuffed in a punkin’ suit, but he would have none of my days of yore crap. “I can’t help outgrowing trick-or-treat, Mom,” he said in patronizing tones, then added, magnanimously. “Next year, I’ll just help Maisy eat her candy. After all, you always say we end up with too much, and it isn’t good for our teeth.” What a guy!

Sam claimed the eldest’s child birthright of going first with, well, everything, including catalogs. He flipped a few pages, then waved at a picture of a black clad fella holding a long wickedly curved sword and announced he would be, “Whatever kind of ninja that is.” No one felt any need to alert the media; he’s been whatever kind of ninja is shown with the most lethal-looking weaponry since he was 5 and we moved to this house. He doesn’t even particularly LIKE ninjas---at least, not the way he likes, say, Transformers II or anything Star Warsian.

But the ninja costumes are always pictured with the (sold separately) katanas or morning stars or double death daggers. He always talks me into the weapon accessory pack, and the day after Halloween, when the costume itself is an abandoned heap under some dirty towels, Sam can be found in the cul de sac, meeting up with a troupe of neighborhood boys who have also been some sort of ninja every year since time immemorial. Tradition dictates that they should get cranked up to eleven on mini-Twixes and then beat the ever living crap out of each other.

Maisy announced she was going to be a “Sparkly Pink Mummy Fairy.” Um YEAH. You heard me. I told her good luck finding a SPARKLY PINK MUMMY FAIRY costume because there is no such silly thing, and why didn’t she just be a space princess slime monster, or a vampiric winged mermaid zombie duchess. And didn’t I feel stooooopit when she showed me the picture? YES, VIRGINIA, THERE IS A SPARKLY PINK MUMMY FAIRY.

OKAY! Said I. Sparkly pink mummy fairy and ninja with poison drip death blade of despair. Got it.” Then I looked in the catalog at the prices. GARG! The mummy-fairy costs forty bucks and doesn’t come with tights or shoes. And the NINJA? You don’t want to KNOW what they were asking for a black polyester jumpsuit with elbow ties. I said, “Throw the catalog in the pile of 100 million other catalogs we are sending to recycling without ever even OPENING, and hey, kids, DON’T WORRY I AM SURE SOMEONE SOMWHERE IS GROWING MORE TREES. HEH. We will go burn us a heaping scoop of irreplaceable fossil fuels and find these costumes...elsewhere.”

So we went to the Halloween store, and it was thirty to forty bucks for a costume with no accessories. We went to Target. Best deal on ANY kind of ninja? $29.99, no accessories. YIKES. So we braved the good Walmart, because I had seen on TV that Wal-Mart had costumes for 12.99.

WARNING: WHAT FOLLOWS IS A BITTER AND MODERATELY HATEFUL DIGRESSION, BUT PLEASE EITHER SKIP AHEAD OR FORGIVE ME BECAUSE IT COMES FROM A WOMAN WHO MOVED TO A SMALL TOWN TWELVE YEARS AGO AND WHO NOW LIVES IN THE SUBURBS:

“The Good Wal-Mart” may seem like an oxymoron. I am not a Wal-Mart fan. But THREE Wal-Marts have sprung up like evil mushrooms in the horrifying wake of urban sprawl that has all but defeated my small town. When we moved here, there was NO Wal-Mart, and NO mall, the guy next door had PIGLETS, and, not coincidentally, there were 97% LESS women who are either over forty or who live hard enough to LOOK well over forty ---whatever, they are OLD ENOUGH TO KNOW BETTER---sporting tramp stamps that one can see clearly because they are wearing butt cleavage jeans from the juniors department and tube tops and clear plastic stripper shoes as they march around with shopping carts yelling on their Bedazzled cell phones about what happened on Cougartown.

So now we have a good Wal-Mart, and yes, good is a relative term here. One Wal-Mart smells like feet and the kind of antiseptic they use in government-run old folks homes. The second smells like a TROVE OF HIDDEN CORPSES and the kind of antiseptic they use in government run old folks homes. The third one, which smells ONLY like the kind of antiseptic they use in government run old folks homes, is by process of elimination The Good Wal-Mart.

OKAY! ANGRY DIGRESSION OVER! RESUME READING.

They did have costumes for $12.99. If you wanted to be Thomas the Tank Engine and could wear a size 3T. CLEARLY one has to begin this Halloween shopping thing sometime before October 29th.

My kids ended up being Harry Potter (black track suit he already owned, $1.99 round HP glasses, eyebrow pencil to draw on a lightning scar, a stick from the yard as a wand, and a plastic sword from the dollar store so he can beat the ever-living crap out of his friends later) and a Ballerina (pink and black tutu with genuine diamelle spangles from last year’s dance recital). And you know what? They LIKED it. They had JUST as much fun running through the icy rain with their friends and screaming and gathering horrific amounts of free sugar as if I had shelled out almost 100 bucks for costumes and accessories.

Lesson learned, Universe. Of course...I learned it here on the last year one of ‘em will be trick-or-treating, but still. Lesson learned.

Posted by joshilyn at November 2, 2009 7:23 AM
Comments

At 13, both of my two oldest children claimed they would no longer go trick or treating.

This year, those same two children are 14 and 15. They both went trick or treating.

When I suggested they were too old, their jaws dropped literally. My oldest even proclaimed, "You are never too old to go trick or treating." Clearly, she is delusional.

But despite pronouncements, this really might not be the end.

Posted by: Linda Sherwood at November 2, 2009 9:57 AM

There may be such a thing as a pink mummy fairy costume, but there SHOULDN'T be.

Posted by: edj at November 2, 2009 10:09 AM

That sparkly pink mummy fairy costume is a great way to start out a Monday!

Posted by: Jenn at November 2, 2009 10:51 AM

Oh! I'm so excited to see that you Nanowrimo that I didn't even read the rest of your blog yet - I had to go right to comments. I'm soooo excited - this is my first year doing Nanowrimo, although I've been a fan for many years. Too chicken to try it. I'm off to a great (and very cocky) start - I logged in about 3,400 words yesterday. I'm home from work with a sick child today so a few paragraphs might just find their way into my draft (while I'm "working from home"). I just checked out gods in Alabama from the library the other day (having loved Between, Georgia). But, I'm sorry to say you have been put on the shelf until Nanowrimo is done - I feel confident you'll understand. :)

Posted by: Kitty at November 2, 2009 10:58 AM

Oh! I'm so excited to see that you Nanowrimo that I didn't even read the rest of your blog yet - I had to go right to comments. I'm soooo excited - this is my first year doing Nanowrimo, although I've been a fan for many years. Too chicken to try it. I'm off to a great (and very cocky) start - I logged in about 3,400 words yesterday. I'm home from work with a sick child today so a few paragraphs might just find their way into my draft (while I'm "working from home"). I just checked out gods in Alabama from the library the other day (having loved Between, Georgia). But, I'm sorry to say you have been put on the shelf until Nanowrimo is done - I feel confident you'll understand. :)

Posted by: Kitty at November 2, 2009 10:59 AM

Apparently, I'm so excited that I got a little trigger-happy with the post button. Sorry!!

Posted by: Kitty at November 2, 2009 11:02 AM

My parents always stuffed me into the previous year's ballet costume for Halloween.

Now that I'm an adult (and have re-started taking dance classes) I still wear the previous year's ballet costume for Halloween.

Thriftiness for the win.

And I don't think they even have *cheaters* at NaNoWriMo any more. They've started a "NaNo Rebels" thread on the forums, so I'd suggest that you're that. Get you a black leather jacket and some motorcycle boots and write, Joss, write.

Kitty, I'm glad you're doing NaNo! Good luck and I hope you enjoy the process. Sounds like you're off to a great start to me!

Posted by: erinanne at November 2, 2009 12:35 PM

I take the lessons anywhere I can get 'em. My blond-haired duo went at Luke Skywalker and Princess Leia--complete with used light sabers, totally slapped together costumes, and the whole sibling thing going on. They looked awesome, and we didn't buy one thing that we didn't already own. . .but we did ruin my husband's khaki dress socks as they were stretched over The Boy's tennis shoes and up his calves to make it appear that he was wearing Luke's boots. Good times.

Posted by: Roxanne at November 2, 2009 12:58 PM

We were always gypsies or hobos as kids-- easy hand me down clothes kind of costumes.

And as for WalMart, well take a look at this site:
http://www.peopleofwalmart.com/

Posted by: Laura L at November 2, 2009 1:59 PM

I love reading your blog...It just makes me laugh sometimes....
And I can so relate to your Wlamart rating! LOL!
We have way too many in our neck of the woods...being one of the largest city's in the US will do that...so there are some I just won't go to...I just hate going at all...I love visiting my DD's and their local farmers market, and Co-op...much more fun!

Posted by: Lutra at November 2, 2009 5:34 PM

NaNoWriMo is just fun to say.

Posted by: Heather at November 2, 2009 7:11 PM

Poor Sam. Trick or treating is the most fun when you are a teenager and mom and dad doesn't have to go with you. My daughter (age 17) and I took my puppy Izzabella out trick or treating this year. We didn't actually ask for candy but mostly walked around looking at all the awesome costumes. We were pirates. Izz was tinkerbell.

Posted by: Debra at November 2, 2009 9:18 PM

Love the costumes that come from home or are used more than once. I don't know how I've managed to do this -- in fact it may be the one and only right thing I've done in raising my children -- but for some reason every year when they talk about Halloween, they rush up to their rooms to find costumes they already own to choose what they are going to be. It astonishes me every time. This year I had to pull out a safety pin to get Darth Vader's cape to stay together, but by golly it worked.

Posted by: Lori B. at November 2, 2009 11:25 PM

I am so glad that I wasn't the only one to mutter "I certainly am NOT spending $40 on a costume" at our local Wal-Mart/Target. After assuring the kids that I would check the internet for costumes, but before having had a chance to do so, they both wound up rummaging around in the old costume bin. The younger child decided his Ghostface costume from two years ago still fit him and he wore that (yes, I do realize that we had bought a serial killer costume for a then-8-year-old, thank you very much) and I bought $1.99 worth of vampire teeth and makeup and the older one wore a....wait for it....old Harry Potter robe also from two years ago (which I made, so that didn't cost anything either). Everybody was happy, especially me.

Posted by: Julia at November 3, 2009 9:57 AM

A Pink Mummy Fairy!! HEE! Oh my......

Posted by: Kathy at November 3, 2009 2:03 PM

Last time I went trick-or-treating? It was 1970. I was a freshman in college. One of the girls on my floor in the dorm was not quite 5 feet tall. We bought her a mask, wrapped a sheet around her, gave her a little pumpkin bucket to collect the loot, and sallied forth. Made a nice haul that night, as I recall.

Posted by: Jan in Norman, OK at November 3, 2009 4:35 PM

Well, you just have to visit this website!!! :)

http://www.peopleofwalmart.com

Warning- it's horrifying!!

Posted by: Reagan at November 6, 2009 1:42 AM