Costume Parade of Horrors – by Cara Potapshyn Meyers
The older my son gets, the more I wish he were a toddler when I used to zip him up in a pumpkin suit as his Halloween costume. For the past three years, my son’s choice of costume has gone from gross to ghastly to downright gory. My son has even been delighting in gory Halloween creativity. And this is a kid who practically screams at the sight of a paper cut (see photo below)!
I’m trying to understand his fascination with everything “gore,” but I’m just not getting it. His friends are not into this gory stuff. It is just not due to his current “issues.” His past two costumes were also disgusting. Could it be he is just a real “boy” and enjoys acting out his gory fantasies on one of the most exciting days of the year for kids?
Two years ago he wanted to be a “Hell Rider.” Last year it was the “Grim Reaper.” This year it’s a “Skeleton Zombie” (see photo). Thankfully, with the “Hell Rider” costume, the mask and bloody chains felt uncomfortable on my son, so he ended up looking like a “Biker Dude.” At least he ended up looking a little more “toned down.” Last Halloween, the reaper hood bothered him and the plastic reap was cumbersome, so he ditched both for me to hold and he presented more like a “black ghost” or “scary peasant.” Take your pick. Either way, it was better than the original.
This year, with this zombie costume, I am hoping my presumptions will prove true. Based on my son not liking anything covering his head, the disgusting mask will be on for a grand total of five minutes. Then, hoping it will be a warm day (it may get into the 60s as the temps here have been up that high recently), my son will get overheated and need to take off the top of the costume, leaving just the pants on. By then he will look like Frankenstein having a “bad couture day.”
What makes this whole situation the most mind boggling is that my son hates candy. All candy. He takes one lick of a lollipop and throws it out. Abhors the taste of chocolate. Yet Halloween is one of his favorite days of the year. Why? The costumes. He loves to dress up. He was Spiderman for three years in a row when he was younger. I could understand him wanting him to feel “invincible” through donning a superhero costume. This gory stuff is a complete mystery to me. But I try to oblige because he loves the day…just not the candy. In fact he comes home and empties his sack into our Halloween candy bowl for us to distribute to others. He simply gets a rise out of pretending he is ultra scary. Or ultra gory. Or ultra…something. Maybe he is acting out the antithesis of his true personality? Who knows, other than a child psychologist.
I just had to sigh the other day when I was at our local craft store, buying some pumpkin carving tools. Three Tween girls were with their Mom, giggling and oozing with excitement as they were trying to find items to create three Barbie Princesses. I listened as they wanted the colors to match perfectly and found accessories that would make their costumes look more authentic. The Mom sounded exasperated. She didn’t have the patience to compare colors and worry about accessorizing etiquette. So while the three girls were running from isle to isle, I slipped over to the Mom and whispered, “Be thankful you have girls who want to wear respectable costumes. My son wants to be a grotesque skeleton zombie. I want to bury my head in the sand.” She smiled and took a deep breath. Then she said, “I guess you are right. I don’t have any boys, so I probably should be thankful. I just have so much else to do today. I can’t spend the whole day here.” I reminded her that her girls were at least wanting to be princesses and not pseudo-hookers. They were joyfully and excitedly choosing the details for their appropriate costumes. And most of all, I reminded her to relish this moment. Once it is gone, you can’t get it back. She took another deep breath and agreed that like my son, her girls were growing up so fast. One minute they are toddlers in a pumpkin suit, and in the blink of an eye, they want to be Barbie Princesses. Or in my case the ghastly Skeleton Zombie. She seemed more relaxed and thanked me as her girls came scurrying back for help with their decision making. I smiled, too and we said goodbye. Then I was quickly reminded of the “zombie from hell” costume. I told myself that at least my son didn’t want to be a drugged-out, overly tatooed, half-naked Rock Star.
Where’s that sand for me to bury my head in?