Thursday, September 20, 2012

Subliminal messaging: Halloween 2012

I knew this day would come--when my boys start telling me what they want to be for Halloween. And unlike last year when every day presented itself with a different costume idea, this year the requests, which started coming in a few weeks ago, have stayed the same:

  • Miles: ghost
  • Felix: [insert unidentifiable qualifier that sounds like "chingerstwashion"] train

Ghost--easy, right? Take some scissors to a white sheet--bam, done. Sure, in cartoons it seems like those sheets with 2 holes are the poor man's solution to the perfect costume. But let's think this through--how easily do you think a sheet with 2 eye holes is going to stay on an active 4-year-old boy? And I imagine that after 2.5 seconds he'll rip it off. And then I have to establish a 2nd costume for the under-the-sheet reveal. Or constantly replace/straighten the sheet. (Although, if we did an 80s exercise ghost, I could use a sweat band around his head...)

[????] train---not so easy, right? And truth be told, I don't have time to convert an Amazon box into a diesel engine with straps. Just not this year. Also, I see some of the ghost costume limitations: I know that in about 2.5 seconds Felix will want the box off. Sure, I could dress him as a conductor, but then who gets to hold the awkward box during Halloween parties or trick-or-treating? Yeah, I'm not interested. I'll already be cherry picking the best candy in their bags to put into the parents' private stash (I kid, I kid).

So what does a mom do? She starts sending subliminal messages over a few weeks about the costumes she wants them to wear starting the moment they express interest in Halloween costumes.

"Miles, you know that superheros run REALLY fast?"
"Let's have a superhero race!"
"Miles, your shoes look like Super Why's shoes."

"Felix, wouldn't it be fun to go up into space as an astronaut like Curious George?"
"Hey, let's pretend we are astronauts and jump off the bed into 'space pillows'."
"Boys, it's time to make space pudding!" (Put homemade pudding in a plastic sammy bag, tie up 3 ends, and cut the tip of the 4th. It squirts out like a frosting bag/toothpaste. Growing up, my mom called it space pudding.)

Low and behold, Miles suggested being a superhero one moment. I took that and exploited it for all it was worth. Now, with the help of Etsy, he's set. And with Felix, it was a little more direct--I finally asked him if he wanted to wear Miles's astronaut costume and blast off into space. He said, "yeah. I want to be a scary astronaut." The price is right (free), and we'll just work on our scary face.

Okay, before you start nominating me for the mom who crushed her children's dreams, please know this is coming from a space of trying to avoid any extra crazy/work/anxiety for our family during this exceptionally busy fall. If either of the boys pitched a fit or didn't display an ounce of interest in the costume ideas I planted into their noggins, I wouldn't push them.  Next year I have a sense that resistance could rear its ugly head...but at that point they are holding their own handmade train box and figuring out how to put back on their ghost sheet the umpteenth time it falls off. 

This year? The fight is just not in me. #pathofleastresistence


  1. YES. THIS.

    These same conversations are going on at our house. We went to the consignment store last weekend to see if I could find a perfect costume without any work, and came home with a froggie costume that is supremely adorable and Owen loves wearing around the house, but Owen doesn't want to wear it for Halloween. I made the mistake of asking him what he wanted to be and telling him I could try to make it. Anything.

    Rookie mistake. Like Miles, he keeps saying "Fire Engine" and "Train". Like, not the conductor or the fireman, but the actual engine. I was thinking of a cardboard box outfit too until my husband reminded me that, um, HOW will that work on a 2 year old? So currently I'm playing with the idea of creating something similar out of fabric and stuffing it so he's like a fire engine marshmallow.

    I do love DIYing, and I do love crafting and I'm teaching myself to sew, so one would think I could cobble together some sort of costume, but I'm not sure a fire engine with no pattern is going to be a good first project.

    Oh, Halloween.

    1. Yay! I can reply! But you poor folks can't have pop up comments anymore...
      On the up side? You got a great new costume for your dress up bin at home.
      On another up side? This is pushing you to learn how to sew!
      On the third up side? There is nothing cuter than a toddler dressed as a fire engine marshmallow (esp your kid!)

      Oh, Halloween indeed. :)

  2. Yes, ASTRONAUT! So glad that purchase is being put to good use. I wore my brothers Space Camp outfit 3 years in a row.

    Can't wait to see pics!

    1. Oh AunT, you have NO idea. That comes out quite a bit!

  3. It all sounds good to me. They sound pleased, and you have saved yourself angst and anguish. As you note, the day may come when they will be more adamant, but good for now!