“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: Daughters, Growing up, Halloween