One of my favorite Halloween memories is the year I decided I didn't want to be a Disney princess, fairy, or ballerina. I wanted to be a rabbit in a hat. Specifically, a giant rabbit popping out of a giant hat. I don't know why, I have a suspicion it could've been because of the Care Bear movie, but I'm not sure. Anyway, my mom, not big into sewing, still obliged and took me to Michaels to pick out the exact right felts and plastics to Frankenstein together the insanity. Oh man, I loved that costume, I wore it for a week after the actual event and pitched a fit when my mom threw it away without consulting me. Parents are always trashing and selling your childhood shit when you're not looking. WTF, parents.
In a post on the New York TimesMotherload blog, KJ Dell'Antonia talks about a similar tradition she has with her kids. Every year, her children dictate what they want to be, and she has the creative task of making that dream a reality. The fact that she doesn't know how to sew adds another layer of challenge to her kids crazy requests — think a giant green monster from space who is married to the Beverly Hills Chihuahua. Stuff like that.
I help make their costumes, too, because I love Halloween. It's the most un-baggage-y of holidays. No one's parents ever got upset that she couldn't come home for Halloween; no one worries that we're missing its true meaning. Glue-gunning yarn onto cardboard is its true meaning, especially if you eat candy while you're doing it.
Word. For parents who have the time, money, skills, and inclination, making costumes can help kids express their true weirdo personalities. However, those are a lot of requirements. When adding up all the money that goes into an ambitious homemade costume, it might rival what it costs to get one from the store. Plus, there's the whole thing about time and basic skill. I know that's the reason I only had one homemade costume and the rest were store bought or pieced together from my family's closets — I was a mighty fine decapitated farmer in a pair of giant old overalls and some corn syrup mixed with red dye. And you know what? Halloween was just as fucking magical.
I like Dell'Antonia's point that Halloween is a holiday where you don't really have to worry about whether you're gonna go to mom or dad's apartment, or to your parents or your partner's sister's house. You don't have to stress about relatives staying with you for a week, and you don't have to take a road trip to grandma's in Vegas. You just get to kick it with friends, dress in whatever insane concoction you desire, and eat hella tasty candy. So, basically, no matter what you dress in or as, Halloween is the greatest holiday ever. I think we can all agree to that.