We’ve been talking about potential costumes for Halloween for several weeks around here.
Being the thrifty, creative mama that I like to think I am, I really love making homemade costumes. Or more accurately, I love coming up with ideas for homemade costumes and then sending the kids and my creative ideas to my mom’s house where she works her magic at the sewing machine.
Two years ago they were Emily and Clifford. Last year it was Max and Ruby. What magic could we create this year? I was giddy just thinking about allÂ the possibilities. Until my sweet three-year-old hit me with something I wasn’t expecting.
“I want to pick my costume out of a catalog.”
Huh? A catalog?
“I want to look through all the pictures and circle the one I want, Mama.”
I mustered a smile, letting go of my cute cardboard-box-tractor idea.
“Okay, Sweetie. I’ll be on the lookout for a costume catalog.”
Sure enough, later that day I checked the mail and what was on the top of the pile — a catalog of kids’ Halloween costumes. I passed it into the back seat andÂ within a couple of minutes my son zeroed in on the costume he wanted — Spiderman.
I promised him I’d see what I could do and spent the next several days secretly sulking and then eventually coming to terms with my homemade Halloween issues.
I like when my kids have costumes that are unique and personal and homemade. I like the oooos and ahhhs we get when we visit houses. I like sharing the photos with friends and family via e-mail.
But what I really like is how I feel when I walk alongside them in their cute, creative costumes. It makes me feel like a good mother. You know the kind of mother who bakes cookies and does projects and who makes homemade Halloween costumes. (Ahem…or commissions her mother to do so.)
But my boy was insistent. He wanted to be Spiderman.
And so I put the word out to my husband and my mother to be on the lookout for a Spiderman costume. I popped into consignment shops and thrift stores with no luck. Late last week, however, I got the call. My mom was in Walgreens and she had found a Spiderman costume in my son’s size. It had built in muscles and a mask.
“Perfect,” I said. “Buy it.”
I turned my attention to my five-year-old. Surely she would let me get creative with her costume. We perused our dress-up clothes. We made a list of ideas. We were well on track until two days later when she laid eyes on her brother’s costume.
“I want to be Spiderman too, Mama,” she declared.
Walgreens coupon in hand, my mom, the kids and I headed back out. It took three stops before a decision was finally made. Spiderman was nice but this year she would be a Snow Princess.
Later both kids tried on their first-ever store-bought costumes and proudly paraded around the house. My son even slept in his Spiderman costume that night.
Sometimes it’s really hard for me to let go of my picture-perfect Martha Stewart-inspired mothering ideas. Luckily I have two patient but persistent teachers who continue to show me what being a “good mother” is really all about.
Erin Barrette Goodman is a writer and yoga teacher in Charlestown. She is the founder of the Rhode Island Birth Network, which promotes empowered decision-making during the childbearing years and the host of monthly circles and retreats for mothers.Â She blogs at exhale. return to center.