Saturday, October 30, 2010

Halloween Memories

I was going to write this post all about how frustrating it is to try to be expected to create Halloween in a country that doesn't have it (What do children do on Halloween? Beg strangers for candy. Halloween requires the involvement of children andcandy-giving strangers.) However, when the Smith Alumnae Association posted on Facebook, asking about our most vivid Halloween memories, I thought I would do something more positive and positively nostalgic.

So, Smith Alumnae Association, my most vivid memories of Halloween as a child were our homemade costumes. There were a lot of things in my childhood that my mom took very seriously. Science fair projects might take months of preparation. Easter egg hunts involved careful tallying to ensure that no egg was left behind. But the Halloween costumes were always my favorite. My mother seemed to have endless creativity when it came to Halloween costumes when I was a child. Her sisters took Halloween just as seriously and also created Halloween masterpieces that became a collection shared among all the kids. In our family, it was practically considered child abuse to take your child to a Halloween parade in something store-bought. Sure, we were butterflies, vampires, witches, and puppies like everyone else. But we were also lobsters and race cars (not race car drivers!). I'm still impressed with how the women in my family could make a costume out of nothing. My mom would take basic costumes and make them something new with a few simple changes. Or she could make something out of whatever she found around the house. Which leads me to a memory I have of the All-Time-Greatest-Halloween.
I will preface this story with the note that I may be combining different years into one Halloween, but that's what the memory does.

As a preschool teacher, I have come to understand that when you have multiple children under the age of six, their limited range of motion might be to your advantage. So, I have infinite respect for my mother and her ability to create three imaginative, immobilizing costumes for my sisters and me. Jess, the oldest, was, if I recall properly, a vacuum cleaner. She was all in grey with a big white bucket (with the bottom cut out) around her torso with hose coming from it. I, lest I be something so simple as a clown, was a jack-in-the-box. A clown costume, plus a box around my body held up with straps over my shoulders. While Cassady, the baby, was a flower because at her age she didn't need full-body immobilization, the head was enough. I remember seeing a picture of this Halloween later on and commenting about how ingenious it was to restrict us so we couldn't run away. My mother said this was not in any way her intention. Whether it was or it wasn't, I'm still impressed.

3 comments:

  1. My mother also made all of our Halloween costumes and then boxed them all up once we'd all outgrown them. They have since been used by cousins, family friends and my nephew even dressed in my little brother's 20 year old Halloween costume last year. It amazes me how sturdy all of those homemade costumes ended up being.

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  2. I remember all those costumes as well as santa which was used by Andy and Zack. I was the reindeer that had to pull Zack around in the wagon the year he was Santa. I can't even remember being a princess like most little girls including you in the picture above, but I remember being a fly. Mom just tried to tell me I was a bee, but I was definitely a fly. I had the best wizard costume ever in 6th grade. Which as you know was way before Harry Potter. The idea was to be like Merlin.

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