My top three Halloween costume memories, in no particular order, are:
Second grade. Catholic school. They let us dress up with the stipulation that our costumes be religiously themed. Picture a schoolyard teeming with angels, with a few sainted friars thrown in. I had one of those cheapo printed plastic sheets with matching full-face-reeks-of-polyurethane masks prevalent in the early 80s. Honestly, I don't know why there weren't more Halloween suffocation deaths reported with these things. Anyway, facing certain excommunication, I convinced Mrs. Gariano that I was a fairy godmother. I don't remember the look on her face as I pled my case, but I'm imagining something that would convey "I know you're bullshitting me, you know you're bullshitting me, but we're going to let the kid who came as the devil stay, so we're not sending you home." They gave me the bye and and the next year we could wear whatever the hell we wanted to.
Nine years old. My aunt presented me with something that was vaguely superheroic, outfitted with a spangly cape and a complex network of snaps and ties. It had perhaps been an American Flag in a previous life. I wore it, because when your aunt presents you with something, you damn well better wear it. I mean, we've all seen A Christmas Story, right? No one presented me with anything for a few more years, so I wore it again next Halloween.
Late junior high. I finally convinced my mom to get me the devil tail and cape and ears they were selling at Mervyn's. I don't actually remember wearing it.
Oh, did I say my TOP three memories? I meant my three Halloween costume memories. Period. I'm sure there's another get-up or two in there that failed to make any impression. The short of it: my kids are going to have costumes they LOVE. Now, The Girlie, of course, is far too young to have any say in the matter, so I reserved the right to outfit her in whatever costume I see fit for her body type. Garden gnome it is. Age Inappropriate, you may cry. But in such a cheek-pinchable kind of way. One year successfully avoiding Disney-branded princesshood… check.
The Boy, after months of shoulder-shrugging, finally offered that he liked bunnies. Not something I would have gone with, but acceptable, I suppose. Mr. New Media's quite the quick thinker, however, and offered up, "You mean like Peter Rabbit?" And we had ourselves a winner. One blue felt jacket with brass buttons and some carrots for the road, bunny ear hat, yarn pom pom tail, and tea-dyed/fur embedded shirt later, we've got ourselves a decent Peter Rabbit. And that smile pretty much did it for me, convinced me that yes, dammit, I WILL go through all the work again next year. Even if half the parents at his school give me the blank why-didn't-you-just-go-to-the-Disney-Store-for-a-costume stare.
Full disclosure here: None of these pictures were taken on Halloween, because Pamplona has NOTHING on trick-or-treating in our neighborhood. I've looked in the eye all the Transformers and Supermen and Caribbean Pirates and Disney Princesses Du Jour. I have no doubt that, had we taken a moment in the yard for pictures, we'd have been gobbled up by the crowds and regurgitated at the base of a tree somewhere. That and the photos would have had a backdrop of truly crappy costumes that would have taken all my mad Photoshop skilz to remediate. And I forgot to take the camera out with us when we left the house.