Trick or Treat Savings & Loan

When I was a kid, I wanted nothing more than to have our mom buy a Barbie costume for me for Halloween.  You know the one...Barbie was garbed in a shocking pink, plastic dress that tied behind the neck with drawn on faux pearls and it came with a mask that smelled like animal carcass (or so I've been told...) that stayed on for about 12 minutes before the elastic snapped and your mom had to strap it to your head with an old shoelace.  The one that was made ENTIRELY of plastic and your parents held their breath as you skirted every staircase, brushing right past the neighbor's lit pumpkins, for fear you'd burst into flames or melt into a puddle of pink plastic right before their very eyes.  Nope, never got that pink Barbie costume. 

But now I know why.  They were expensive.  I've never understood paying more than $10 for a Halloween costume. It's against my religion. My storage area houses a Buick sized bin that contains a plethora of clearanced Halloween costumes from years past. When my kids start tossing around ideas of what to be for Halloween, I send them down to the bin. "But mom, the Cad Bane costume with super reflective head gear and laser blasting pistol isn't IN the bin" I remember growing up wanting nothing more than for my mother to buy me that plastic Barbie costume. She would retort with, "Can Barbie wear this pillowcase, threadbare towel, and make-shift cotton batting wig?" Why yes mom, that is exactly what I had in mind. But now I'm that mom. I refuse to give in to the hype of Halloween costume catalogs that show up in the mail (that I destroy before my children know of their existence) I refuse to be a patron of Halloween specialty stores for a variety of reasons (most important ones being they are fucking terrifying and horribly over-priced)  A few years ago my husband came home with store bought FULL PRICE Halloween costumes for the kids and I almost had heart failure.

Is it mean that I crush my children's childhood dreams of being a Clone Trooper or Lalaloopsy?  Probably.  But I just can't get on board with my children picking their costumes out MONTHS in advance and then dropping $40 on each one...and THEN changing their minds about what they desperately want to be.  Halloween costumes are insanely expensive.  And if you think about it, they are a colossal waste of money.  They are worn for a few hours at most, are cheap  pieces of shit that fall apart after visiting no more than six houses, are worn when it's DARK out so who the hell can even tell what the child is supposed to be, and for those of you in colder climates chances are your little princess or Jedi is going to be wearing their fluffy marshmallow coat, boots, hats, and mittens over their costumes anyway.  Why spend the money?  Or at least the insane amounts they want for some of those costumes. You can buy a whoooooooooooole lotta groceries with Halloween costume money.  The year my Mr. bought the costumes I just kept picturing the kids walking around as boneless skinless chicken breasts, pork loin, produce, and other necessary staple pantry items...when asked what my kids were dressing up as for Halloween that year, I'm quite certain I replied chicken cordon bleu with steamed vegetables, chicken alfredo lasagna with a mixed salad, and loaded baked potato soup.

So it may be mean of me to squash their visions but I DO buy Halloween costumes and then GENTLY steer my children in the direction of those costumes.  The ones happily housed in my Buick sized storage bin with pretty little clearance stickers on them.  I always make sure I buy costumes that I KNOW my kids would have a least a small amount of interest in.  I wouldn't buy a Thomas the Train in the hopes that my princess loving 4 year old would love it and want to sleep in it dreaming blissfully of Percy and Sir Topham Hatt.  I wouldn't buy a Harry Potter themed costume for my son who is convinced that he truly is a Jedi in training.  They usually get so excited by the costume overflow that they forget about the low quality high priced crap they saw at the store.  Who needs that when mom has a bucket FULL of low quality low priced crap right here???

Even though *I* never got to be plastic pink highly flammable Barbie for Halloween, I'm ok with it.  Because a few years later I DID get to wear my older sister's hand-me-down Miss America costume, complete with pipe cleaner tiara and glittered banner.  My mom made some killer costumes for us growing up...several of which she still has.  And although I DO have sewing skills, my clearance shopping skills are better.  My kids still get to dress up in some sweet ass costumes.  Considering what I have to spend each year on candy for the little neighborhood urchins (and myself because I hoard and eat half of it before October 31st even arrives) I can't be dropping $40 on ONE freaking costume, I just can't do it.  So as some parents rework their monthly budgets, revamp their household energy usage, and vow to eat nothing but ramen to ensure that Junior gets to be Boba Fett, we'll still be eating just as well as we ever do, keeping the thermostat at a comfortable temperature, and my kids will be proudly trick or treating in their costumes that I rescued from the floor at Target and purchased for 90% off.


C Wittman said...
October 5, 2012 at 5:00 PM

I think I'm becoming your biggest fan!

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