Sheepish About Halloween



I have a checkered history with Halloween.  It started when I was a little girl and my overworked mom took me to a late afternoon dental appointment at the end of October.  Unfortunately, this end-of-October date was “Beggar’s Night,” which, in my childhood state, was the traditional night for trick or treating.  Even more unfortunately, the late afternoon dental appointment turned into an evening dental appointment due to the discovery, during tooth cleaning, of one or more cavities.

As the clocked ticked, I slipped into despair.   I remember walking tearfully out to a cold empty parking lot, the day’s remaining light already slimmer than a dim yellow ribbon.   When we got home, and it turned out that all of my neighborhood friends had long since come and gone, my mother jumped into quick, guilty, action.  She pulled out one of her one of her favorite evening dresses (a black wool one with puffed fur sleeves), and converted some kind of round bin that my brother had once used as a Crusader’s helmet into a black cat’s head.

This unfortunate Halloween imprinted several resolutions into my brain which only blossomed fully in motherhood,when I was determined not to be the cause of similar angst:   (1) never make your child a dentist appointment in the month of October;  (2)  avoid cavities; (3)  make your kid’s costume in advance;  (4) make your kid’s costume; and  (5) if you don’t sew, convert other clothes.  (I never got over my admiration for the way that my mother threw together what turned out to be quite a glamorous black cat’s costume, once I took off that medieval helmet.)

These resolutions had mixed results for my own children, especially for my oldest daughter.  (Oldest children often get the fullest brunt of parental ideology.)    I don’t really need to go into the cavities part other than to say that I allowed that child on her first Halloween (at age 2) to conveniently lose her pumpkin of Halloween candy.  (Yes, this was horrible horrible horrible and I have since tried to make it up to her with a great deal of Swiss chocolate.)

The costume part is better. I believed that children, even very young children,  should participate in the making of their costumes.   The strangest example was the sheep, a costume that my oldest daughter “decided” on when she was 3.  (I think it may have started as a lamb, and I say “decided” in quotes, because I suspect that I had some hand in the idea since the sheep costume had a puffiness suspiciously reminiscent of my black cat fur sleeves.)

Our/my brilliant conception was a huge white sweat shirt upon which my very small daughter glued cotton balls.  Many many many cotton balls.  I made a hat, with ears, out of white cropped panty hose, also covered by my daughter with cotton balls.

It made for a very cute, very “woolly” sheep (if wool were cotton.)   Of course, it’s true that  “sheep” was probably not the first thing that came to people’s minds seeing her.  Halloween does not generally bring sheep to mind.

The sheep outfit was intended to be comfortable.  Unfortunately, instead of that cold Beggar’s Night of my youth, it was an unseasonably warm, drizzly afternoon.  Cotton balls get very very heavy when drizzled on.  And hot.

It’s hard to be the oldest child.

Happy Halloween.

In between tricking and treating, check out 1 Mississippi, by Karin Gustafson, on Amazon or at link on this homepage.  (Thanks.)

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5 Comments on “Sheepish About Halloween”

  1. sandysays1 Says:

    Home made is good! Its never too soon to awaken creativity. Visit my site to see why humans invented Halloween – and for a laugh or two.

  2. Nancy Chase Says:

    Happy Halloween to you ! I read your post this morning – attached my memory to halloween costume making of my own. When my son was 8, he wanted to be the white ranger, Power Ranger. I found a costume pattern for it, and started in Sept. I made the basic suit of stretch fabric, then arm cuffs, with felt details, – boots, with shapes to glue on them, a shield, a mask, it was something else. It’s usually balmy here on halloween. Not that year – it was FREEZING cold. I had to make him wear his winter coat over his costume, he was SO mad. I felt so bad for him, but you know how it goes, “I’m the mother” that’s it. Try as we might . . . . .
    He did actually wear that costume until he grew out of it. He would come home from school, and immediately change into the whole thing.
    Then they grow up, and never want you to tell that story about them, in front of them, ever again. And so we tell each other, XO, Nancy

    • manicddaily Says:

      Dear Nancy, that’s a great story, and I’m so glad that the costume was well-used. The one costume I sewed from scratch for my daughter, instead of adapting from other clothing, was a ghost. Unfortunately, everyone thought she was supposed to be a nun from some strange order that wore white habits. Clearly, not as successful as yours, despite the cold. Take care, love, k.

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