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Saturday, October 31, 2015

Bah Humbug

Just in case you haven't noticed, Halloween is this week.  It's very very easy to forget American holidays when you live overseas and hardly ever leave your house.  We been here in Dushanbe for almost a year and I haven't noticed any seasonal decorating at all.  Baku decorated for New Year's, but I haven't seen anything here.  There aren't even any malls where the stray Ded Moroz could lurk.

So it could probably have slipped my notice that Halloween was this week, but it certainly hasn't slipped my children's notice.  That's the problem with teaching them how to read calendars - they read calendars.  "Mom!" Kathleen will announce after staring hard at the computer and counting softly under her breath for twenty minutes, "It's only seventy-six days until Christmas!  That's so close!  I can't wait until it's one day!  Don't you wish it was one day?  What do you want for Christmas??"

They've been counting down to Halloween for at least the last month and everyone has just about reached fever pitch.  Last Monday Joseph was acting up during Family Home Evening so I took him up to bed.  He lay in bed, wailing disconsolately.  Finally I calmed him down enough hear what he was wailing about.  "Don't leave me!!  I don't want to stay home!!  Don't got to the embassy for trick-or-treat without me!!  I want to go to Halloween!!!!"  I reassured him that it wasn't time yet so he rolled over and went to sleep.

This year Kathleen is going to be a medieval lady, Sophia a pioneer, Joseph Robert E. Lee, Edwin a Chinese boy, and Eleanor a pink princess.

And the best thing about these costumes?  I didn't have a single thing to do with them (okay, almost nothing.  I had to pin up Sophia's dress, which is adult-sized).

Somewhere between the children's first Halloween and now I formulated my I Don't Make Costumes policy, which is that I don't make costumes.  I don't consult on costumes, I don't help with costumes, and I never ever ever buy costumes.  When the children ask me what they should be for Halloween I shrug my shoulders and tell them that they're welcome to be whatever they want as long as I don't have to do anything to help.  I'm that mean.

The other day the girls were speculating what it would be like to just request a costume and a few weeks later have it show up ready-made in the back of Dad's car.  After considering the possibilities, Sophia finally admitted that it was actually more fun to make their own costumes.  They spend weeks trying to cobble together anything they can find into a reasonable costume.

This year they presented me with a waistcoat and stock, sewed during quiet time.  After Joseph's nap he was dolled up in a collared shirt, waistcoat, play coat, stock, Edwin's shorts with strings tied below the knee, and Sophia's tights.  The time period was a little off for Robert E. Lee, but I wasn't going to say anything.

Kathleen went through a multitude of outfits before settling on a mishmash of dress-up clothes that vaguely resembles something that might have come from the middle ages, if they middle ages had a lot more beading, sequins, and polyester.  Edwin requested a T-rex, a Stegosaurus, and an Airbus A-380 before settling with a Chinese-ish red brocade robe, also from the dress up box.

Sophia fished out a tutu, pink ballet skirt, and pink dress-up skirt and stuffed a protesting Eleanor into the ensemble.  Next year she'll be big enough to wear Sophia's red princess dress.

A few days ago Kathleen got worried about their homemade costumes.  What if some of their friends laughed at their costumes?  What would they do?  I assured her that their friends, almost all boys, probably wouldn't even notice what they were wearing, and not to worry.  After all, isn't the most important thing about Halloween the candy?  It's a holiday entirely devoid of any deeper meaning so she didn't need to lose sleep over it.

So if you happen to see my kids on Halloween dressed like the dregs of the dress-up bin, be assured that that is exactly what they're dressed up in.  But at the end of the night, I won't have spent a penny and everything can go right back to the place it came from.  And the children will be able to tell stories to their children about their horrible, mean, lazy mother who made them make their own Halloween costumes.  It will be great.

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