As you can see, my plan was foolproof. In my mind. Then I had children... and my children had opinions. These opinions included ideas about what they would and would not wear at Halloween. Mostly these opinions revolved around what they perceived as "cool" or "not cool". Also, these opinions tended to change the night before Halloween...after I'd completed their costume. So now it's store bought costumes and no matching. (Who's being judged now? )
Too bad, because I had some good ideas too. Some of the better ones that were summarily dismissed were:
- Marie Antoinette and some random French peasants. My daughter just didn't get this one and she hated the wig. What kind of girl hates a huge white wig, I ask you? If I could wear a big old powdered wig to the grocery store I would totally do it... and I might or might not yell "let them eat cake" when I walked past the bakery.
- Little Bo Peep and her sheep brothers. I'm not sure why my four year old son would not want to dress up as a sheep to coordinate with his baby brother and be herded by his older sister's crook while I took pictures, but it totally ruined a good photo op. that would've been very cute in one of those graduating senior slide shows. Whatever.
- A family tribute to "The Wizard of Oz" - again foiled by: a. my sons, who felt that they could've made a lot shorter work of the Wicked Witch of the West if only they were allowed to use their light sabers at the church trunk-or-treat, and b. my husband, who had no interest in going out in public dressed as a member of The Lollipop Guild. Go figure.
Personally, my favorite Halloween costume when I was a little girl was a gypsy. When you live in the Rocky Mountains the idea of being a gypsy is about as exotic as it gets. I had visions of being decked out in a white peasant blouse, huge gold hoop earrings, a festive head scarf with fringe all around the edge, and a red skirt that would fly up in a huge circle when you spun around on your heels. (One of the best parts of being a little girl is a twirly skirt. Fun.) I would of course need lots of bangles and beads and bracelets and baubles - because I was pretty sure that those were the things that made a gypsy's life so great... and I'd seen pictures. Oh, also, I'd need a tambourine.
Yep, that's what my costume looked like... in my head. However, as I recall I usually ended up wearing a read bandanna, lots of cheap, beaded necklaces, and some lipstick. (I realize now that essentially my costume was a biker chick at Mardi Gras.) The things that really gave it that authentic Mediterranean flair though, were - snow boots and a winter coat. The sad truth was that Montana at the end of October was no place for twirly skirts and peasant blouses. No place for a gypsy- unless the gypsy wanted frostbite.
I look back on my gypsy obsession now and have a couple of thoughts. Firstly, I'm totally unclear about whether it is or is not okay to allow your child to dress as a gypsy for Halloween. It seems a little... racial. I think it must be alright, though. I mean, I would let my kids dress in lederhosen (another thwarted family costume theme: "The Sound of Music" - I wanted to be that Baroness lady), or in kimonos or ninja wear. I would let them dress like Cleopatra and other Egyptiany people. So...
Secondly, I didn't know that one day I would come dangerously close to living the gypsy lifestyle with my three children and hugely pregnant belly. Living like a gypsy, with the constant moving around, is less glamorous I've found, than dressing like one. We are on the move again after just one year. Our rental house was sold and the people that are buying it actually want to live in it. Rude. At first I did not think it was going to be a big deal to find housing. We wanted to "downsize" anyway and we were pretty open to whatever came along. (By the way, the word "downsize" might sound neutral and consoling, but in reality- it's pretty lame. I'm hoping to leave the "downsize" part of life behind us really soon.) Too bad for us, finding a rental that allowed us to keep our kids around people they know and didn't force us to revisit the last school year with our daughter (an experience just as enjoyable as a daily bikini wax) turned out to be asking a lot. Particularly when you're trying to "downsize".
With about 10 days to go before we had to move out we still had no place to move... in. What I learned next was this: Necessity might be the mother of Invention, but the mother of Necessity is Poverty. That's when I hatched my plan. Yurt. Or maybe a tent. At a campground. Homeschooling and cooking over a fire. Apparently Poverty is also the mother of Crazy. My family was not impressed. I told my sisters that a lot of people live that way. They told me that those people were called "homeless" - or "scary polygamist kidnappers on the run from the law". They told me that I needed to find somewhere to take my soon to be newborn baby that did not include communal showers and exposure to random mosquito borne diseases.
Fortunately, God knows that despite my willingness for adventure/borderline personality, I am not exactly cut out for camping and that I would last about two minutes in a Yurt homeschooling my children and beating my clothing against a rock. After that, there would just be a lot of tears. From me mostly. So... although I was looking forward to a big adventure, we have successfully found a place to move our family... that includes a permanent roof and flush toilets. Now with exactly two days to spare all I have to do is come up with a way to move all of our stuff. Maybe, if I can find one that fits over my belly, I'll wear a twirly red skirt and a huge powdered wig during the whole fiasco and hope that the new neighbors recognize a gypsy (at heart) when they see one... and since it's August, I won't even need snow pants.