Spending years playing Halloween parties and hosting Halloween costume contests, I have seen the creativity of many folks when it comes to costumes. Even giving out candy at Trick or Treat, I see little ones with great costumes. But instead of feeling connected to it all, I always feel like a spectator. And there is a reason for that.
Second confession. I have no creativity when it comes to coming up with Halloween costumes. I have friends who entertain me year after year with what they come up with, but truth be told, I have not a lick of that talent.
This year, I bought four humorous matching Halloween shirts for the band and called us the Halloween Squad. Not the height of my creative thought process, but done and done.
I would feel bad, but I have come to realize it may a hereditary thing. A non-creative Halloween gene, passed down from my mother
Now I don’t want anyone to think that my mother had no creativity or fashion sense. If you look at pictures of her from her late twenties and early thirties, she looks like a movie star. When I was growing up, I always had a real fashion style. I was the kid who over heard her kindergarten teacher talking with a group of other teacher about my amazing ensemble one rainy day. Matching yellow and orange raincoat, boots and umbrella. I could have given North West a run for her money in my day!
But Halloween was a different story.
My mother did not sew. Another gene I got from her, but that is a different blog post! She did not do arts and crafts, or make handmade any things.
I guess you could say we had a tradition. Every year, about three weeks before Halloween, my mother and I would go to Ben Franklin in the downtown of the small Wisconsin town I grew up in. This was what we called a five and dime store. No Target or Walmart around in that time.
We would go to the rack of Halloween costumes. They had what were probably highly flammable polyester capes that tied in the back and plastic masks.
“What do you want to be this year?” she would ask.
There was usually a Princess costume, a Barbie and various other girlie type costumes. Maybe a couple of animal things. I would look through the rack and pick one. She would pay and home we would go.
On Trick or Treat day, I would gather with my friends and off we would go, door to door, collecting our loot in plastic pumpkins.
My friends would have homemade costumes. Sheets for ghosts, Hobo, maybe a pumpkin or two. Oh how I longed for those creative, homemade costumes.
One year I commented to one of my friends about how cool their homemade costume was and how I wished my mom could sew.
My friend looked at me as if I had lost my mind.
“Are you kidding?” she said. “Just once I wish we could go to the store and get one of those cool costumes they have. You are so lucky your mom can just buy you what you want to be!”
I was taken aback. Huh? Polyester capes and plastic masks?
I may have been young, but my logical 8 year old mind figured it out pretty fast. A human trait that is just there. The same as the non-creative-Halloween gene.
We always want what we don’t have. Sad isn’t it? Maybe humans are the only creatures on earth who continue to struggle with this one.
So this Halloween night, for those of us who had store bought costumes, I am going to try to remember the things I need to be thankful for. A job, that can be stressful, never boring, let’s me work from home and pays the bills. A chance to be a part of other people’s class reunions, weddings, Halloween celebrations, birthdays, even if it isn’t playing in a stadium. A dog who wants to eat other dogs, but loves me more than life itself. A boyfriend who can be unsympathetic, but makes me the best me I can be. A house, tiny, with old house issues, but full of memories and a warm, dry place to sleep.
I know Thanksgiving is for giving thanks. But really? Just one holiday for gratitude?
Happy Thanks O Ween. Especially to all of you who only had store bought costumes.