Saturday, October 24, 2009

The Halloween Costume

Each year I struggled to come up with cute, creative costumes for my kids at Halloween. The year that my oldest entered kindergarten, I learned that not only was she to dress up for a class party, but the school would hold a parade in the community and all of the elementary school children would get to "show off" their costumes.

The pressure was on. I wandered through the fabric store with a five-year-old and a two- year-old in tow, praying for inspiration. I am not very creative and I don't sew.

I came up with the perfect solution. I would turn my little girl into a big red M&M. How hard could that be? I loaded up on red felt, thread and white iron on fabric for the letters.

I didn't bother to buy the pattern for the costume. My husband was in residency and I wanted to save the money. I would just wing it.

It was harder than I thought to cut the circle out the right "size". I had my daughter lay on the floor as I measured. I finally got it cut out, sewn together and then I added the final touch - the white cutout M&M letters.

The big day came and my daughter was pretty cute with her white tights and red candy costume. The only problem was that it was a bit flat. M&M candies should be plump. I hadn't planned for this so I used the first thing to come to mind: toilet paper.

I drove her to school and then as we stood beside the car, I began stuffing wadded up toilet paper in through the armholes and neck hole. She was all plumped up and I sent her off to her classroom as a fat,waddling M&M.

I gathered with the other proud parents along the parade route, camera in hand. Here came the kids. Princesses, pirates, super heroes and a variety of animals came streaming out the school steps. I saw my daughter's class coming along the sidewalk. She was between a beautiful princess and Luke Skywalker. She was having a little trouble walking in her outfit.

They made the loop around the playground and headed back toward the school. That was when I learned that my choice of stuffing was not a good one. Toilet paper began coming out the leg holes of the costume. With every waddling step the paper trailed further and further along the parade route.

Proud parents were pointing and waving. They would ask each other, "Which one is your child?"

I could easily have pointed out mine by saying, "Oh, the one with the toilet paper streaming behind her for a block," but I didn't have to. She waved at us and her little sister in the stroller hollered back.

I vowed that the next year I would buy a costume - not matter what it cost.

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