I hate Halloween (or used to) because my mom was a giant pain in the ass.
There. I said it.
She would either drive us nuts by going all out with decorations, costumes, and baking amazing themed cookies…
She would go bat shit crazy and do nothing and I would have to wear a dented mask from some other year or go as a ghost.
The only good thing about Halloween was that it saved me from her awful cooking*, because she never cooked on Halloween. I was allowed to just dive into the trick or treat sack until a sugar coma was achieved.
(*My mom was an excellent baker. She loved to bake. Cooking, however, was not her bag…and eventually she just stopped doing it.)
I can’t recall any of my sister’s Halloween costumes, except one…I think…was a clown.
With all due respect, my mom was only around until my sister was 3, so there weren’t that many chances for costume success anyway.
What I recall as the beginning of the downward spiral of Halloween for me was the first grade.
All I wanted was to be Wonder Woman.
Diana Prince/Wonder Woman was my favorite!
I had really long hair and was pretty good at sleeping with those big, horrible rollers (remember those?!) to make my hair very “Brooke Shieldsy”. I thought this would be a perfect thing to do for the Wonder Woman costume.
I saw the amazingly beautiful Wonder Woman costume at the store and begged for it every time we went.
One day, my mom (who is also a fantastic seamstress and made a fair amount of clothing and costumes) came home with a bag.
Now, even at 6, I knew there was a chance that my mom (who is clearly related to Eddie Murphy’s mom) might simply go to Joanne’s Fabrics and buy the pattern to make my costume instead of the “perfect” costume at the store and I would just have to deal with it.
So, I was not expecting that bag she held containing a store-bought costume.
I became very excited, like children do, and couldn’t wait to get my hands on that bag.
She handed it over and I ripped it open.
There it was.
The most hideous, embarrassing, store-bought Wonder Woman costume ever made.
(Since I am now a semi-adult and know how ridiculously flammable that effing thing was, I am currently crossing my arms across my chest and pouting twice with an added foot stomp.)
What in the hell was she thinking?!?!
At 6 years old (or at 39), I did not have a fantastic poker face and was not able to hide whatever that look on my face was.
Shock? Anger? Confusion?
At 6, I could not wrap my head around how she could fuck up something so fantastically simple.
Did she not know me?
Had we never met?
Had I not specifically taken her by the hand numerous times and guided her directly to the correct thing?
Was she fucking serious?
(Don’t try to pretend that you are not right now imaging a 6-year-old Cory articulating my specific gripes and disappointments to this character called “Mom” who thinks she can saunter right in an ruin my Halloween. The first Halloween in a new school and unarmed with the knowledge of what those other kids are bringing to the Halloween table costume-wise.)
In reality, I didn’t fully have a grasp on the “trigger button vocabulary” yet, so I didn’t mouth off or throw a fit.
First of all, you don’t pull that tantrum shit with my mom. You want to throw your ass on the floor and sob and stamp and make a scene, that’s fine; she’ll step over you and go about her business. But the second you try to drag her into your nonsense and suggest/imply/state that she made a mistake, or you are displeased, you better hope your ass can fun fast…or that your blood is made of anti-freeze because that woman will turn you to ice.
My little sister liked to throw tantrums…and I liked to watch, but I was no fool; best to keep that one happy.
I took one run at the costume topic.
“That’s not the right one.”
(Smooth, Cory. Very smooth…and wise.)
“Is it Wonder Woman?”
“Then it’s the right one.”
“Fine; I’ll take it back and you get nothing.”
[She grabbed the costume back; I sobbed.]
(I am REALLY playing this one rather smoothly, don’t you think?)
“No, no, no….I like it…let me try it on…I’m sure it’s fine…”
Tears and snot running down my face.
She handed it back and I ran up to my room to try on this awful, smelly, plastic, fire trap that was to bring me Halloween joy…
That creepy fucking half-mask with the elastic string that snapped on your head and hurt more than it should…
Those creepy eye slits, nose holes, and mouth cut-out were frightening.
I felt claustrophobic immediately.
I looked at my pathetic, flammable self in my mirror and sighed deeply.
The next day, I wore that horrible mess to school with my hair curled as if I really was Wonder Woman.
Then I saw it…
Samantha was also dressed as Wonder Woman.
She had on the costume I wanted.
She looked beautiful.
She looked at my costume and you could tell she knew hers was infinitely better.
I dropped my head.
She didn’t say anything, but I took off my mask.
Samantha and I played at lunch and she knew I was sad. She told me my hair looked pretty while we jumped rope and she wished I was going home to her house with her mom to trick or treat that day.
As I walked the 2 blocks home from school, I dreaded going out to trick or treat, but if I didn’t I would be at home pouting and that would not go over well.
Not having the kind of mom who explained certain things that only adults think of, she sent me out trick or treating at 3p…when most people are still at work.
I was defeated after 3 blocks and although I had some candy, I knew Halloween was a complete failure that year.
Later, as it became dark, my mom had me hand out candy to trick or treaters who came to the door.
Neither she nor my stepdad took me out and every kid in our zip code got to see my horrible costume.
The next year she bought me a witch hat and I wore that…with a hole cut in a sheet as the dress.
(Those must have been some super awesome meds the doctor prescribed for her, because she was a real treat, for sure!)
She at least made cookies the following year (2nd grade), so that was good, but my sister had been born a few months earlier, so no trick or treating…again.
In the 3rd grade, I simply recycled the witch hat and said the 8-year-old’s equivalent to “fuck it”.
In the 4th grade I was an amaaaaaaazing vampire…because my aunt Lisa and her girlfriend Rosalie did my makeup and worked out a cape for me. My sister was a toddler vampire and we were AWESOME!
In the 5th grade I made myself into a table setting and made a cake hat. That was fun and I won some award at a party we attended. My mom was already gone or I would have told her to suck it.
In the 6th grade I was a punk rocker and walked around bombing people with eggs and shaving cream with the rest of my friends. It was a blast.
I didn’t dress up for 7th grade except for a party, at which I was Cyndi Lauper in one of my grandma’s spectacular dresses from the 50s. Again, awesome, but Halloween was not about candy and fun anymore.
That was the last year I dressed up for about 15 years.
Ty and I always had a blast figuring out his costumes, and it made me happy that I had a boy so we could be as obnoxious as we wanted…and we were. Some of his costumed freaked the shit out of people.
Then The Sass came along.
When she was 1, I dressed her as a Dalmatian and I dressed as Cruella DeVille and carried her around while Ty dressed as JLo (pillow in the ass and all)…which was FANTASTIC!
I caught the Halloween spirit again and it is now one of my favorite holidays.
This year is the first year in a few that Halloween falls on my time with The Sass, so I am jazzed to take her trick or treating. I am even dressing up as the mommy of a werewolf. It’s going to be awesome!
Parents, it’s OK if you don’t have the money or want to spend the money on a fantastic costume for your kids, but at least encourage them to be creative and make their own Halloween magic…
…otherwise they grow up to be authors of snarky blogs who call you out on your bullshit…even if they find it funny one day, as I do.
OK everyone, be safe and go get some CANDY!