My Personal Halloween Tradition
What I remember most about celebrating Halloween growing up is the effort my parents would put into making our costumes. No, we didn’t have those fancy store bought costumes with the shiny plastic mask and smock… ever. It never seemed odd to me that we didn’t purchase our costumes and I never really wanted to either. When I think back upon those nights of sewing, hot gluing and papier-mâché I’m reminded of some of the fondest times of my childhood, as well as lessons in cooperation, creativity and cleverness.
Sure there were other kids at the party with batman costumes, but mine was the only one that stood out, had some character. The other batman costumes were almost identical, while mine, equipped with shiny black boots and belt, that were mom’s of course, but altered to fit just fine (she had tiny feet). The mask was perfect and was actually more than a mask… it was a headpiece. Made from papier-mâché and finished with a perfectly smooth, dark-blue shine it fit snugly over my 10 year old head. Everything from the shiny weaponry hanging from my belt clips and spray-painted gold to the perfectly cut and stitched emblem that hung proudly from my tiny chest had been made the week prior in nightly gatherings of joy and laughter.
I’ll never forget the pumpkin costume. Framed with wire and covered in dyed fabric it was an artistic and architectural feat. The leafy stem top hat definitely added that final touch. How I made it through the evening without hurting myself or someone else is amazing. I could’ve been blown away by fierce winds or accidentally tossed off a building by drunken teenagers. Needless to say I’ve survived every Halloween and every crazy costume my parents were able to create and we were so eager to wear. I believe my favorite was the Ghost buster costume at age 11. I wore a decked out beige jumpsuit with an old vacuum strapped to my back that had been reassembled and spray-painted silver. Added to the hose attachment was a shiny battery powered laser gun which made that recognizable pulsating electric sound as it lit up in bright flashing red. A buster of ghosts I was indeed.
Although some costume ideas, such as ugly female clown or my brother’s famously disturbing frankenwolf, may not have set the following season’s costume fashion trends they were entertaining nonetheless and were a lot of fun to make and make fun of. Learning to plan, budget, sew and construct were lessons that proved to be invaluable. Though it’s the memories of my brothers and parents joking, smiling, appreciating and enjoying each other that makes all those other horrible memories like getting caught sneaking out and wrecking the car seem minuscule… sort of. I still dress up every year and I still have yet to buy a costume.