Is there anything cuter than a little kid in an animal costume? When Vera was a baby, she was a chicken for Halloween. It was glorious. Last year, Vera was a bee for Halloween. Again, glorious.
This year? This year I told myself multiple times that I should figure out something for Halloween. Repeatedly visited an Etsy costume that was 80% perfect but couldn’t get over the other 20%. Made a panicked last-minute trip to Target to peruse their selection but couldn’t get over the slim choices (princess? or “sassy” princess?) and icky-cheap fabrics. Finally dug the bee out of storage, crammed it painfully onto our giant child a few days before Halloween, and we went out for sandwiches. She talked excitedly about the bee in coming days, but come Halloween it wasn’t happening.
We tried Plan B, a set of fairy wings I once purchased at H&M on the theory that any well-stocked home should have fairy wings. No go. I couldn’t find the camera, I had nothing as to use as a treat bag. Time was ticking, and we were lucky to even make it out of the house — costume, camera, and treat bag or no.
We headed to a street party thrown by neighborhood merchants. Between parking spot and party, we passed a house where a lady was holding a giant bowl of candy. Walked up, Vera managed a version of “trick or treat”, and she was given a red lollipop for her efforts. Vera loves lollipops more than anything, and red is her favorite color. We went to the street party, and though Vera was too young for most of the activities, she stood patiently in line for an agonizingly long time and came away with a red balloon. Her second favorite thing in the world, after red lollipops. At that point, her evening was complete. We gave up on Halloween and went out to dinner.
Parents put so much time, money and effort into making sure kids have “perfect” — and perfectly photogenic — holidays. Certain traditions must be observed, certain photo opportunities created. Tradition is a beautiful thing to pass on to our children, but how often do parents force things out of some adult idea of a perfect childhood holiday rather than celebrate whatever the child actually enjoys? (How many toddler-with-Santa pictures involve smiles, and how many just show a terrified toddler?) I totally fell into that trap this Halloween, literally trying to force a costume that didn’t fit onto my poor child as she cried. And it turns out Vera didn’t need the costume, the door-to-door, or the huge bag of candy to have a perfect Halloween. For Vera, a perfect Halloween was a red lollipop and a red balloon.
Our daughter went as herself this Halloween. And it was glorious.