I wasn’t the kind of parent who produced daily science/art/math projects for my children, or thought up of special field trips once a week, or was creative in any way.
In my mind, that meant I didn’t stack up any “good parenting” awards. I hated working on anything “arts & crafty,” which included just about everything except reading a children’s book out loud.
So when school began each year, and the air became crisper, leaner, more aromatic, I began to gnaw my fingernails.
Halloween would arrive sooner than I wanted, and any time was too soon.
Because I hated Halloween.
I just wasn’t good at it.
“What can I be this year? young daughter would ask by mid-October.
And every year, I’d respond the same: “A gypsy?”
I have photos of her when she was 4, and 5, and 6 (and beyond!) wearing one of my old patterned skirts and a worn down shirt, strands of costume necklaces, a bunch of bangles, a neck scarf around her head, and lots of red rouge and lipstick.
Viola! A gypsy girl.
My little boy, however, came home with tales of his friends’ moms making them elaborate ghost costumes, or turning them into Luke Skywalker, or even worse, fashioning cardboard boxes into honest-to-goodness real looking silver rockets.
“No,” I always stated. Sadly, yet defiantly. “Your mom doesn’t do that.”
So most Halloweens, my boy insisted on wearing a paper bag over his head, with holes for the eyes, and a pair of my old cowboy boots.
“I’m a monster,” he’d insist, year after year.
But the year our family splurged for a vacation to Hawaii, I got clever.
Not artsy crafty, but clever.
I came home with children-sized Hawaiian shirts, grass Hula skirts, and plastic leis. When I showed the kids their Halloween costume the third week of October, the expressions were less than enthusiastic, but they appeased me and wore them on the 31st.
That was the year my boy’s best friend’s mom sewed her little guy a huge green Tyrannosaurus outfit, the kind that could win a ‘BEST KID’S COSTUME IN THE WORLD’ award.
My daughter’s best friend’s mom dressed her little pumpkin in a glittery pink and purple fairy queen outfit with gossamer fairy wings and sparkly silver shoes that lit up when she walked.
My children came home from trick or treating early that year, claiming they were tired, no joyous shouts as they counted their candy treasure.
I suggested they change best friends.
Then I castigated myself for not being a good creative parent.
I read to my kids
a LOT of terrific Halloween books.
That should count, shouldn’t it?