The countdown to October 31st has officially begun, or so I’ve been informed by the ghoul-worshiping creatures with whom I reside. “Only TWENTY-SEVEN DAYS till Halloween, Mom! Isn’t that ENTIRELY KEWL?!” the crew reminds me again. And again.
“Yeah, yeah, yeah. Halloween, Schmalloween,” I grouse to no one, thinking of how consumed my brood will be with all-that-is-grisly-and-gruesome till the night of terror and celebrated harvest of sugary treats is finally over. Indeed, I’m troubled by the hype surrounding the event, nauseated by the deluge of candy corn spilling from checkout counters near and far and burdened unmercifully by the demands that have been placed upon me to produce two of the most obscenely wonderful costumes on the planet—“…because we HAVE to be the SCARIEST, Mom. It’s a RULE. No more baby stuff. We want to make people screeeeeeam! Can you make us some costumes, Mom?!”
“MAKE you some COSTUMES?!” I muttered to myself through clenched teeth. “Surely you jest, my dear, sweet children,” I chortled while marking the calendar with big, fat letters, “BUY COSTUMES,” all the while fighting the urge to add, “BLOW THE ENTIRE DAY IN PURSUIT OF THE PERFECT HALLOWEEN APPAREL.”
Oh, the PRESSURE! Oh, the HORROR! Oh, the GUILT associated with parenting smallish beings! That’s code for: I have serious issues with time management, I like crafts but I’m not especially crafty, and I can’t sew to save myself. I much preferred the chapters in life during which my charges were oblivious to my non-Susie Homemaker allegiance. Or when they were perfectly content to be disguised as plump-ish pumpkins or whiskered kittens (read: sinfully adorable garment-age conveniently plucked from store shelves or received as gifts). My husband and I then bundled them up and wheeled them around the neighborhood in a big, red wagon—pausing only to wipe noses, to sample the loot and to shift their lumpy bodies around like sacks of potatoes. Life was so much simpler then. Complexity now rules the land. There are voices to be heard, desires to satisfy and wallets to purge.
That said, a week ago Sunday all three of those matters were sufficiently addressed as it relates to the aforementioned holiday. Three stores, two giddified children and a ridiculous chunk of time later, we had spooktacular Halloween outfits. And all was right with the world—except the process itself was unbearably tedious if not downright maddening. There were rubbery rats to pet, hideous-looking masks to ogle and 67 varieties of wigs to try on. True to my paranoid self, I obsessed, “I do not like LICE in my HOUSE! It makes me CRINGE, it makes me GROUSE! Please, oh please, don’t let there be, anything LICE-ISH there for me!”
Needless to say, nothing even remotely “lice-ish” awaited me in this Mecca of Halloween wares; however a sea of costumes, a barrage of creepy sounds and an infinite array of gotta-have-it-or-I’ll-die accessories beckoned to my brood, rendering them incapable of making a decision. Never mind that solid commitments had already been made. “But Mom, we have to look at EVERYTHING FIRST; and we have to try on capes and hats and horns and tails and….”
Again with the demands. Ugh.
My only saving grace: stumbling into a tree that insulted me. Well, it wasn’t a whole tree, actually. It was just a knot, gnarled and twisted into an unspeakably ugly face, hanging from some sort of bogus tree, poised to share its cantankerous self with those simple-minded enough to encourage such banter. I qualified. And because I find such oddities mildly intriguing, I could not walk away. So we talked. The tree and I. In the middle of Neece Paper. And I felt like a fool, yet completely compelled to continue.
In the end, that craggy hunk of Wizard of Oz-inspired surliness served as the perfect diversion for my pain and suffering (i.e. it kept me from going berserk while fulfilling my duties as the official Appraiser of Halloween Hokum).
May you be so fortunate this Halloween.
Planet Mom: It’s where I live (stockpiling candy corn, leafing through the pages of Crafty Mama in hopes I’ll glean something and contemplating the completely frivolous purchase of a trash-talking tree face).
Copyright 2009 Melinda L. Wentzel