It changes every day—sometimes two or three times.
“Mama, can I be a pirate?”
“I want to be Batman!”
“What I really want to be is Peter Rabbit. Or a bank robber! Can I be a bank robber?”
For months now, whenever the Halloween conversation came up, I said yes to any costume idea. I knew it would change soon enough, and most of them are doable.
And though I’m a fan of not spending much on costumes—and making pieces at home to make them a little different—I figured we could pull most of these off. And we had plenty of time.
But all of a sudden it’s October. So I think we need to start pinning this down.
And there’s the challenge.
Leo and Daniel are full of ideas. And they love every single one.
If Mama got to pick, they’d be a beaver and a ghost, since those are the handed-down costumes we have hanging in their closets. But I’m still trying to figure out how large a vote I get here.
You see, when I was a child, I never picked my Halloween costume. (I'm on the left in this photo.)
As Halloween approached, my five siblings and I looked through the family costume supply and picked whichever one fit that year.
The baby was a banana—dressed in yellow, with a banana sticker stuck on the back—before graduating to the mouse costume. I remember dressing as a clown, a crayon, a rabbit, a cat, a dinner table—and I brought home full bags of candy every year.
My brother Ricky dressed as a robot—in the same set of aluminum-foil-covered boxes—for years.
We don’t trick or treat together anymore, so for all I know he still wears the same costume
So this whole concept that children get to choose their costumes is a new one for me. But Leo is almost 5. He and Daniel are also in preschool, and so they are probably hearing from the other children that you get to decide what you want to be for Halloween.
And so the deliberation continues, as the boys consider superheroes, uniforms of civil servants, animals, storybook characters, Bigfoot, aliens, and vehicles.
If I had my guess, Daniel will end up as a firefighter, and Leo will be a high-speed bullet train engineer. But every now and then I talk up the beaver costume. It fits both of them and looks great.
Of course, I have to be careful with my costume marketing. If both boys decide they want to be the beaver, I’ll be in trouble.
Mainly, though, I’d just like someone to make a decision so I can get started on the assembly.
A few nights ago Daniel told me he knew what he wanted to be. I held my breath hoping it was something I could handle.
“Be garbage duck man…fire duck man—same time!” he said, with a huge smile.
Well, it’s easier than combining Peter Rabbit with the bank robber.
Photos courtesy of my parents
October 05, 2012 09:42
By Rita Buettner
Before Leo started preschool, we had to fill out several forms full of questions. I came to one question, “Does he have any fears?”
That’s easy, I thought. “Mr. Yuk and zombies,” I wrote.
The next question? “Do you share these fears?” No, though I will never take him to party stores right before Halloween. And I wish we had never introduced him to Mr. Yuk.
Daniel has a longer list of fears: live animals who come within two feet of him, ride-on animals of any size, his father’s mechanical Bigfoot toy, swinging on swings.
A few weeks ago I had to coax him onto a playground when he balked at stepping on mulch. About a month ago he decided to ride a carousel for the first time—after months of clinging to me in terror while watching his brother ride—and he enjoyed it.
Daniel’s fears are very real to him, and we don’t put any pressure on him to overcome them. We don’t need to since he has a big brother who is happy to demonstrate the joys of swinging up to the top of the sky or riding the Penny Pony at Shoppers. I suspect Daniel’s fears aren’t that unusual for a toddler who is still encountering so much of his world for the first time.
Some days, though, I wonder how a child who would dive headfirst off the couch or go barreling down a staircase could be afraid of a swing.
Then I had a thought. Maybe God watches me in my daily life and sees my worries and fears. And maybe to Him my concerns about paying bills and my family’s health and safety and finding enough hours in the day seem as short-sighted and silly as a fear of mulch or a Bigfoot toy.
Maybe as I am reassuring my sons about their fears, I should realize that much of my own worry is needless and unproductive, as well. Not that I shouldn’t be loving and supporting and calming for my sons, but that I should keep my own concerns in perspective.
It felt like a revelation.
Then one evening last week as the boys and I were driving home, a thunderstorm started. We talked about how the angels were bowling and laughed as we pretended we were driving through a car wash. When we pulled up outside our house, I called John—who was already home—and he offered to come help us into the house.
I was standing next to the van as John came out to greet us. All at once, we heard a thunderclap and saw lightning—at the same moment. John and I panicked and jumped into the van with the boys, who started crying because they could tell we were scared. We waited there until the storm eased and then ran inside together.
My mind was racing, thinking of what could have happened—though John thinks the lightning must have been at least a few hundred yards away. As we held the boys and soothed them, I felt my reassurance was inadequate. I can tell them that baby swings are safe and that a plastic, ride-on horse won’t bite, but I can’t promise that lightning won’t hurt us.
But what I could tell them—and did—was that God was with us during the storm, and that He brought us safely home.
How great is our God that He cares about our worries—however insignificant or unfounded. And how blessed we are to be able to offer faith and comfort to our children in knowing He is with us even at times of real fear.
And, if nothing else, He’ll make sure the zombies are kept at bay.
May 31, 2012 09:55
By Rita Buettner