Christina M. Currie: Costumes equal chaos
October 31, 2008
Halloween originally was a Celtic holiday, celebrating a new year at a time when it was believed the veil between the living and the dead was the thinnest. Whether costumes entered the picture as part of the celebration or, as some believe, to scare off or fit in (so as not to be mistaken for the living and taken away) with the ghosts of the dead still is debated.
The connections between the celebration of old and that of today defy me.
The idea of costume-clad children going door-to-door collecting sweet treats bears little resemblance to the day’s origins. Two thousand years ago, it was a celebration. Now, it’s just chaos. At least, for me it is. And I know I’m not alone among parents who will turn off their porch light tonight and fall to a chair in exhaustion.
It’s a complicated day, and frankly, I wanted to crash into a chair days before the actual holiday.
First, the costumes. Eight-year-old Katie was easy. She came across a costume she loved weeks in advance at the grocery store, and I threw it in the cart, congratulating myself for being so on top of things. For once, I wasn’t going to be the parent sifting through the leftovers, searching for enough costume pieces to make a whole. I can almost laugh now at my naivety – if I had the strength, that is.
On dress-up day, Katie couldn’t find the shoes she was going to wear, had lost a piece of her costume, didn’t want to wear part of it because it was uncomfortable and said the hat didn’t match. I hit Kmart and Wal-Mart with mere minutes to go searching for those finishing touches that would make what had become just a dress into a costume.
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Seven-year-old Nikki had decided she wanted to buy a costume, until we went to the rental place. Boy, did her tune change.
Ever the tomboy, we couldn’t leave without the vest, chaps, hat and gun belt (with guns, that was the most important part) that made her an authentic cowgirl.
Except we did. We managed to get home WITHOUT the cowboy hat. And yes, it was the day before the school’s Halloween festivities.
I say the school’s festivities, because they are not on the same day as the actual holiday.
Not only do parents have to deck their children out for Halloween, they have to do it twice?
I wasn’t the only parent flying through the school, toting overflowing plastic bags, trying to get to two classrooms and dress two kids for the same parade at the same time.
In their defense, though, I was the only parent I noticed cutting the tags off anything.
So far, I’m not a fan of the holiday. Especially when I realize that I’m going to have to do this all again tomorrow.
OK, I do admit that I’ve done a fair amount of running around and spending a few dollars on a costume of my own. It is a fun holiday. Really, it is. Kids love to dress up. They love to yell “trick or treat” and, more than anything, they love, love, love all the candy they get.
It’s a little more difficult for parents. Granted, the costumes are adorable, but the expense, the time and the very worst, the candy, doom us to a night of make-up-encrusted kids hopped up on sugar, telling their parents to “stick it up,” while pointing their toy guns. At that point, I’m more than happy to play dead.
After all, isn’t that what the holiday is REALLY about?