Halloween Costumes

“Mom,” I said, when I was in second grade, “I have a Halloween parade at school tomorrow.  I don’t know what to be.”
Mom looked at me.  She put a hand over her mouth and tilted her head, thinking.  She glanced at the bowl of plastic fruit on the dining room table: shiny red apples, perfect pears, and clusters of grapes, purple and green.   A smile crossed her lips.  “Hang on.”  She went to her sewing room and returned with a piece of green felt and her scissors.  “Here.”  She folded the felt in half, cut a V into its center, and threw it over my head.  She knelt and cut a line of similar V’s into the bottom of the fabric, giving it a jagged Fred-Flintstone look.  She grabbed the grapes from the bowl and began safety-pinning them to the felt, which sagged in response.  She found a pair of green tights and pinned a cluster of grapes in my hair.
The next day, the students donned their costumes and filed into the cafeteria for the parade.  There were princesses and ballerinas; cowboys and robbers and vampires.  There were scary costumes. There were funny costumes.  And then there was…me.
I kept my head down.  I trudged along at the back of the line, my grapes flopping and banging against me with every step. I was humiliated: Never in the history of the Village Elementary School had a child been a grapevine.
And then, I heard it:  “Isn’t that sweet?”  One parent said, as I passed.  “What a great idea,” a teacher said.  “How clever,” said another.  
Yeah.  It was clever.  No one had ever thought to be a grapevine before.  My mom was pretty cool.
I won a prize of course: a three pack of Play-doh, red and green and blue.  But it really belonged to my mother.
* * *
When V was in second grade, she wanted to be a sunflower for Halloween.  I made a green felt hat and attached orange and yellow petals to it.  But the petals sagged and flopped and fell into her face.  I added pipe cleaners to strengthen the petals. 
They didn’t work.
I got poster board and cut out new flowers and stapled them to an old green hat.  I sent V to school looking like a rooster.
She came home with her prize: A three-pack of Play-doh.
I made her share it with me.

I wrote this post in reponse to a prompt from Write on Edge: "With Halloween approaching, many of us are revisiting fond memories of trick-or-treating, favorite candy, and parties. For Tuesday, reach back to a costume that made an impression. Was it yours? A friend’s? Maybe it was a costume you never got to wear. Show it to us with your words, draw us into the emotions it evoked at the time."

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Writing in the Margins, Bursting at the Seams: Halloween Costumes

Monday, October 24, 2011

Halloween Costumes

“Mom,” I said, when I was in second grade, “I have a Halloween parade at school tomorrow.  I don’t know what to be.”
Mom looked at me.  She put a hand over her mouth and tilted her head, thinking.  She glanced at the bowl of plastic fruit on the dining room table: shiny red apples, perfect pears, and clusters of grapes, purple and green.   A smile crossed her lips.  “Hang on.”  She went to her sewing room and returned with a piece of green felt and her scissors.  “Here.”  She folded the felt in half, cut a V into its center, and threw it over my head.  She knelt and cut a line of similar V’s into the bottom of the fabric, giving it a jagged Fred-Flintstone look.  She grabbed the grapes from the bowl and began safety-pinning them to the felt, which sagged in response.  She found a pair of green tights and pinned a cluster of grapes in my hair.
The next day, the students donned their costumes and filed into the cafeteria for the parade.  There were princesses and ballerinas; cowboys and robbers and vampires.  There were scary costumes. There were funny costumes.  And then there was…me.
I kept my head down.  I trudged along at the back of the line, my grapes flopping and banging against me with every step. I was humiliated: Never in the history of the Village Elementary School had a child been a grapevine.
And then, I heard it:  “Isn’t that sweet?”  One parent said, as I passed.  “What a great idea,” a teacher said.  “How clever,” said another.  
Yeah.  It was clever.  No one had ever thought to be a grapevine before.  My mom was pretty cool.
I won a prize of course: a three pack of Play-doh, red and green and blue.  But it really belonged to my mother.
* * *
When V was in second grade, she wanted to be a sunflower for Halloween.  I made a green felt hat and attached orange and yellow petals to it.  But the petals sagged and flopped and fell into her face.  I added pipe cleaners to strengthen the petals. 
They didn’t work.
I got poster board and cut out new flowers and stapled them to an old green hat.  I sent V to school looking like a rooster.
She came home with her prize: A three-pack of Play-doh.
I made her share it with me.

I wrote this post in reponse to a prompt from Write on Edge: "With Halloween approaching, many of us are revisiting fond memories of trick-or-treating, favorite candy, and parties. For Tuesday, reach back to a costume that made an impression. Was it yours? A friend’s? Maybe it was a costume you never got to wear. Show it to us with your words, draw us into the emotions it evoked at the time."

Labels: , ,

9 Comments:

At October 24, 2011 at 7:37 PM , Anonymous Chasing Joy said...

I like this a lot. Won't it be nice if she makes her littl girl a costume that wins a prizeon day. :-)

 
At October 25, 2011 at 3:21 AM , Anonymous dosweatthesmallstuff said...

Aw, such sweet memories! Both you and your mother are talented and full of ideas!

 
At October 25, 2011 at 3:43 AM , Anonymous The MOM said...

Play-doh prizes! The last-minute costumes are the best, definitely. I loved the description of your daughter's costume, and yours!

When Hubby first started teaching, he found out that the school he worked at expected the teachers to dress up for Halloween day during school spirit week...the afternoon before! We couldn't come up with a costume that was appropriate. Finally, he tied a leaf to a ball cap with a piece of string so the leaf dangled in front of his face. Whenever someone asked what he was he would blow on the leaf and tell them he was a leafblower. LOL

NC Narrator- popping in from Write on Edge

 
At October 25, 2011 at 4:45 AM , Anonymous Kpiccini said...

My heart just melted with that story and the meaning behind it....how we never think our mom is right until she is. Wow, how I loved this!

 
At October 25, 2011 at 6:34 AM , Anonymous TMW Hickman said...

How cute! Sometimes the last minute costumes are the most creative!

 
At October 25, 2011 at 7:15 AM , Anonymous Alison@Mommy is a Power Ranger said...

Those sound like such cute and creative costumes! I loved this post!

 
At October 25, 2011 at 12:29 PM , Anonymous Cheryl said...

Hee! I loved this! Moms are always right, aren't they?

 
At October 25, 2011 at 4:44 PM , Anonymous Nancy C said...

Yay for moms! I love the symmetry here. It takes so few words to say so very much, and you say plenty about creativity and risk and motherly love.

 
At October 26, 2011 at 6:02 PM , Anonymous DeborahBatterman said...

I can't say that my mother made Halloween costumes for (or with) me . . . it wasn't her thing. I can say I had the greatest pleasure making costumes with (and for) my daughter so, yes, your post certainly evokes treasured memories. Of course, I could wax sentimental about growing up in a community (Brooklyn, NY) where my friends and I could walk door-to-door unchaperoned. Times do change, don't they?

 

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