Friday, October 31, 2014

Halloween By The Numbers

My teenage daughter just sent me an urgent text from her study hall at the high school. The fan fell out of her tail and a piece broke off and her bird had deflated.


No, my daughter doesn't imbibe in hallucinogenic mushrooms (as far as I know). And this isn't some secret code; we're not in the CIA.

My daughter and most of her class went to school today as ostriches. They ordered inflatable costumes en masse. I had some issues with the whole thing. (Does this surprise anyone? It certainly didn't surprise my daughter; she's definitely used to my issues by now.)

All right, first of all, how was this creative? Halloween gives kids an opportunity to flex those neglected artistic muscles. Pre-made costumes? Not so much.

Next, how does it allow anyone to express individuality? Everyone is wearing the same thing!

Finally, the ridiculous contraption (the quality of which, as I've already pointed out, is not particularly long-lasting) cost about $40. What about the kids who don't have four ten-spots lying around? Or pushover parents?

At any rate, like most of my convictions, this one wasn't great enough to preclude my daughter participating. So, we dutifully ordered, paid for and picked up her ostrich. She went off to school this morning with her friend from next door, both armed with deflated ostrich costumes. They would blow them up at school. Which brings us back to the beginning of my post and the trauma for today.

Like most seventeen year-olds, my daughter stopped trick-or-treating a while ago. But, I have fond memories of her costumes through the years.

She was just six weeks old when we celebrated her first Halloween. Like countless contemporaries, she was ... a pumpkin. (Uh-h, what was I just saying about creativity and individuality? Hmmmm.)

At age one, she was Pooh Bear. My husband and I spent that Halloween in New Orleans at the Anne Rice Ball (talk about creative and individual outfits!). My mother came up to babysit and took lots of Pooh pictures for us.

By two, my daughter was a big fan of the Teletubbies. She was LaLa, the yellow one. (I never really understood the Teletubbies. Then again, I don't smoke weed.)

At three, she couldn't choose between a fairy, a princess or a kitty. So, with a decidedly "more is more" approach (which, I might add, has stayed with her), she dressed as a "Fairy Princess Kitty." She was a veritable vision of pink glitter, let me tell you. She practically reeked of "girly-girl."

Subsequent years included Alice in Wonderland and Madeline, a green-faced witch (we had just seen Wicked on Broadway), and a "cat burglar" (all black, including a mask and a watchman's cap plus a pillow case full of stuffed cats). Then, we went into the horse years. In addition to dressing up as an equine herself, she was alternately a horse fly, a headless horsewoman, and the "ghost rider of dead man's gulch." I loved that particular costume. She wore a cowboy outfit, ghoulish make-up, and we wrapped her in spider webs.

I miss those years, the pretty, the pink, the ponies. Too old to trick or treat, now she and her friends "hang out." 

And, they dress up like ostriches. 

You'll be happy to know that I received a follow-up text. My daughter found the missing piece, re-inflated her bird and went off to Physics.

I guess it will be a Happy Halloween after all.

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