Each October, our church has a Halloween party. It's a grand time with kids and costumes aplenty. My little family always dresses up together in costumes put together by yours truly. I don't always sew everything, but I do fashion them myself, for the most part.
So, last week I was in my Halloween costume cocoon, sequestered in my basement with only a few intermittent absences from the sewing table (without the field trip to the pumpkin patch, the Cub Scout Pack Mtg and the 27 trips to JoAnn's to tear me away from my task I might have become a true hunchback before the week was over). It might seem insane to you that I started on Monday to make six costumes for a Halloween party on Saturday. But, add this little tidbit and you'll see I've come a long way: back when Maia was a baby, I started the day before the party.
I guess I work well under pressure. I used to start the day before the party and then stay up until like 3 in the morning to get my work done. Of course, the more kids I had the more costumes I had to make and I realized I needed a bit more time. Even though I did work on our costumes for a week, I was able to get them all done during nap times and after the kids were in bed each evening. And I never even stayed up past midnight!
This year we really struggled to find our theme. Again, Mason suggested Star Wars but we just have such a strong girl presence in our family that I think that one would be hard to pull off. We also considered some Dr. Seuss-inspired themes, but in the end we chose to go with Toy Story 2.
Maia was excited to color her hair red for her role as Jessie. She was very easy-going about all the themes we discussed; she's such a sweet girl.
Mason was excited to be Woody for our church party but equally determined to be a vampire for trick-or-treating (I just love that he likes to dress up with the family for the party; I don't care if he wants to be something else when he is out and about in the neighborhood).
Teensy did have some initial reservations about this possible theme; she was distressed that Tour Guide Barbie's outfit is less than glamorous. I assured her that some sparkly blue fabric and "diamond" buttons could make her a proper Barbie. Now, she's a believer.
Kenna wasn't sold on Bo Peep until she awoke Wednesday morning and saw her dress, then I couldn't get it off of her! She loves the "hook" and keeps telling me how she has to put it around Woody's neck--a move I discourage imitating.
I'm going to be brutally honest here, dear friend and devoted reader: my husband is not perfect. It just took him 8 months to change the burned-out light bulb in my closet ("Why should I change it? It's just going to burn out again anyway." !?!?!?!?!?). BUT, he is the perfect husband for this Halloween-costume-concocting-wife. For the Halloween party, that man will put on anything that the kids think up and I put together. Anything. How could I not love this man?
Usually, I wear whatever supporting role is left over so I was thrilled when Mason suggested that Daddy and I be Mr. and Mrs. Potato Head. I felt like I had a real costume that wasn't necessarily dependent on all the others to be understood. Great thinking, Mason!
If you know me very well, you might know that I am ridiculously competitive. Well, there are awards given at our church party but I don't win because my Michael is one of the judges; his family is disqualified. In a way, this is good for me because I don't have to stress before-hand and practice deep breathing while they announce the winners in each category. I think when Maia was a baby we did win "Best Family" or something like that, but Michael's been a judge since then so we haven't been in the "competitive circuit," as it were. (Of course, that has never stopped me from declaring myself the winner in my own mind year after year, but that's just my own sicko competitive brain's way of thinking.)
Well, this year they announced the winners and I happily cheered for them all with honest feelings of "good for you!" for them. Truth be told, there were some really good costumes and I quite enjoyed them. Anyway, at the end of the awards the bishop said that they added a new category this year. Then, he proceeded to give my family the "Lifetime Achievement Award."
I felt myself turning red. In his little speech, the bishop mentioned that my Michael had been excused from judging this year so that our family could be considered for a prize. I had no idea! I hope that people know that I didn't ask for my Michael to go on hiatus as a judge just so we could win. I thought he was judging as usual. Of course, I was happy to have my hard work recognized. I was also just a little embarrassed, that's all.
Hand on heart, I don't do the Halloween costume thing to win a prize or even to hear people say, "Did you make all those costumes?" I do it because I love the feeling of making something that brings my family together and binds us all for one fun night. I do it because my kids love it and I love hearing them say, "My mom made this for me!" I also do it because I love the creative challenge of thinking of the fastest/easiest/cheapest way to make a character come to life. And, maybe, too, because I'm a little insane.