Halloween is another rite of passage that separates my family from the perfect. Those cute family costumes where everyone is a Ghostbuster, a Star Wars character including the new baby dressed up as Yoda – we don’t do those.
I want to.
I also want the perfectly color-coded, gingham enhanced Christmas card.
My family wants something different.
My youngest son wants to be a vampire bat with razor sharp claws and teeth. My oldest daughter wants to be a trainer from Pokemon My oldest son is too cool for everything. He’ll probably be a cowboy. The baby has no say, except that whatever we put her in better be lightweight because this is Texas.
I tried to steer them toward a unified theme. I showed them movies that mean something to me. I hoped they would get on board with The Royal Tennebaums. Wouldn’t that look so cute? One boy would wear the red and white striped eighties track suit. Another would wear a corduroy blazer and sweatbands. My oldest daughter could wear a fur coat and blond wig. We’d be the coolest hipster family around.
In the end, I couldn’t do it. It’d crush their spirits. Just like when I started to high-jack my daughter’s school project that involved making a pumpkin into her favorite book character. She wanted to make the pumpkin a Yorkshire terrier and cover it in fake fur. I wanted to use brown glitter and metallic paint. For the record, my idea looked so much better. But it was her project so we turned in a brown hairball of a pumpkin.
So we’ll be a hodgepodge of characters for Halloween because I can’t wrestle my kids to my will.
I have a friend who does. Every year I look forward to seeing what the whole family is wearing. Last year they were characters from Night at the Museum – the Egyptian Pharaoh, Amelia Earhart, and Teddy Roosevelt. The year before that they were the gang from Peanuts.
Last week her son was at my house for a play date. I asked him with excitement what they all were going to be this year. He answered me in his gloomiest kid voice, “I want to be one of those green army guys but I have to be Peter Pan.”
I felt bad for the kid. I wouldn’t force my son into a costume he didn’t want to dress in. But I was curious too.
“How did your mom convince you to do it?” I asked.
“She said we’re all part of the community,” he said.
“The community,” I repeated.
I’m going to save that for next year because I can get behind being part of the community and maybe a family costume for Halloween 2016.