Happy Halloween

Oct 30 2009

You know when it totally pays off to have five kids?

On Halloween.

Now, some parents are actually nice to their kids.  They start Halloween and Fall Harvest preparations weeks in advance.

There are trips to the pumpkin patch that result in adorable photos of tiny tykes perched on enormous squashes, galoshes covered in mud, cold-kissed red cheeks peeking out over puffy coats.

Nice parents do art projects that include jaunts to gather Fall leaves for pressing, scissor and glue time to create construction paper spiders, maybe even fun family time making their own costumes.

Next come the fine candy and shiny new bucket purchases.  And then the big night arrives.

Kids are dressed to the nines, candy is delivered in mega doses, and everyone heads home happy.

Good parents, after going over every piece of candy and looking for injection punctures and razor blades (ah, the fun of Halloween), even let their kids keep all of their own candy.

There there’s our family.

In lieu of the pumpkin patch this year, my kids have free pumpkins that were sitting outside of an insurance agent’s office in our home town.  We don’t even have to carve them since the agent’s face is on a sticker stuck to the outside of the pumpkin.  Two birds (pumpkin patch + carving), one stone.  Yay!

And costuming five kids can be tricky.  Did you know that new costumes for children run $25-50 each?  For our family, that would be $125-250 for one night’s worth of Halloween fun.  No, thank you.  I’m simply unwilling to spend the money for new costumes… but I’m also unwilling to spend the time making five costumes.  What’s a mom to do?

Get creative, that’s what.

Last year, for my two-year-old twins, I raided the pet costume section.  Yep, that’s me.  No shame at all.  I gleefully ignored the “not for children” warnings on the labels and purchased, at $7 a piece, matching bumble bee costumes meant for canine companions.  They fit like jackets.  So the head-piece with the antenna was a little weird, what with the giant gaping holes where dog ears should poke through; so what?  It was dark.  They got candy.  Everyone wins.

We had lost the hats by this point, but here are the dog costumes in all their glory.

This year, my now three-year-old twins are costumed out of the pajama section at Target.  In good old UnderRoos fashion (if you’re a child of the 70’s, you’re totally tracking with me right now), I found baseball PJ’s one size too big at $9 each.  The extra size is important so you can bundle the kiddos up in all their warm gear and then squash all the fabric down by pulling the PJ’s over the top.  Sort of a Baseball on Steriods effect; we can have fun and stay current on current events!  Best part is, they’ll have “new” PJ’s a year from now that are already purchased.

My nine-year-old has been outfitted from house-wares.  I found a giant, bendy spider with large, pipe-cleaner-type legs that’s meant to be used as home decor.  I can bend those legs around my son’s arms and torso, and he looks like he’s been attacked by a monster spider.  Add some fake cobwebs that are supposed to be used to decorate outside, and splash some of my white-girl foundation on his tan skin, and he looks like a spider victim.  Sufficiently morbid for any boy to love.  And a total of $10 for the whole bit.

My girls make costume-life easy since I’ve been paying through the teeth for dance costumes for years.  They get the “oh, go get something out of the dance box” line.  Which is followed by the “but that’s not fair!” response.  Which leads to the “life’s not fair” follow-up, or the preferred, “that’s because we love them more than we love you” statement… and on and on and on.  Free fun for everyone!

And on to Halloween night and trick-or-treat time.

I’ve already stated that kind and generous parents let their kids keep all of the candy they collect.

We’re neither kind nor generous.  Sorry, kids.

Here’s how I figure it.

You (my children) can’t go trick-or-treating without me.  I am a necessary part of your candy-harvesting intentions.  I, however, due to social and cultural impositions that I do not support, am not allowed to trick-or-treat myself.  Therefore, I’m out there doing most of the work (costume acquisition, make-up, and hair included) without any of the benefit.  These are unacceptable working conditions.

Commence contract negotiations.

I, the parent, will take you, the child, trick-or-treating.  I will act as costume designer, make-up artist, hairstylist, safety patrol, cheerleader, manners instructor (say “thank you”), and coach/trainer (“just do one more block”).  In return, you, the child, agree to pool your candy.  You will have one bag, marked with your name, in which you can reserve your 15 favorite pieces of candy for your sole use.  All remaining candy will reside in a communal vessel (aka, the candy basket) for all family members to partake equally.

On birthdays, we throw our kids parties.  On Christmas, they get stocking fillings and presents.  For Easter, we arrange egg hunts, fill baskets and make bunny cake.

On Halloween, we make it all back, baby!  Kids, start your engines.  It’s time for the Woolsey family candy-acquision machine to roll into town.

Who has five kids?  We do!  Who’s getting candy?  We are!

Happy Halloween.