Halloween may just be Sam’s most favorite occasion. I just realized how much she loves to play dress-up lately and Halloween gives her the perfect excuse to do it (and she can get treats we wouldn’t normally give her too!).
This year was a little funny in terms of our costume master plan. Early on in the year Sam took a liking to the Toy Story films we got her dad for Father’s Day (It was a double-purpose gift obviously — similar to the anniversary gifts I’d received in the past) and so she asked if she could be Woody for Halloween. I was surprised that she didn’t relate to Jesse more but anything is okay nonetheless. I am in support for whatever it is she wants to be and explore, be they boy or girl or gender neutral in nature.
I got her the Woody outfit for the summer and she wore it practically everyday after camp. The plan was to have Jamie eventually dress as Jesse, however as a last-minute change that didn’t work out and Jamie ended up as Abby Cadabby, the costume we had in storage from when Sam turned 2 (If you read my Halloween post last year, you can pretty much guess what Jamie will be next year!).
Sam used the Woody costume in several pre-Halloween parties, and I think she felt a little out-of-place because no one called her “Woody”. They all would say “cowgirl” or “Jesse”. Even I couldn’t get why since, I thought the Woody and Jesse costumes were very distinct (Or is it because I’m just a Toy Story fan?). At first Sam would correct them and say, “No I’m Woody,”but then eventually she stopped and just smiled and let everyone think what they wanted to think. Her smile was bigger though towards my friends and other like-minded parents and relatives who called her out immediately as “Sheriff Woody” and commended her for making such a cool unexpected choice for a little girl.
And then at some point closer to Halloween, Sam decided she wanted to be a spider instead. While everyone around her wanted to be some form of princess or fairy or flower… she got it in her head to be a spider. I was willing to comply, even if I thought it a bit odd. Even my husband couldn’t believe it when I told him — “A what?!” was all he could say.
So for three weeks I searched high and low for a 4T sized spider costume. Some parents told me I could easily make one but unlike OCMom and her award-winning DIY costume-making skills, I didn’t have it in me. Like cutting children’s hair, costume-making is not in my mommy resume.
I’d have to say that I was quite disappointed. We went to 4 different stores that sell costumes, and all of them had pretty much the same choice options: princess or witch (or some variation of them). They had a Spiderman costume but Sam said that she wanted one with 8 legs, not the superhero. There were a few but only for kids 24 months and under, and even those choices were so limiting (spider, pumpkin, some fruit or vegetable, and a furry animal…) that I didn’t bother looking for a different costume for Jamie to wear either.
I had Peggy Orenstein’s book in my head about how we stereotype girls early on and the costume choices available were proof of that. Here is my daughter with her imagination and creativity running free (just like in her ballet recital, instead of being a bunny or a ladybug, Sam wanted to be a monkey!) and yet all she was being offered were princesses from different fairy tales and their witch counterparts. She said no to all of them each time and didn’t change her mind. I even confessed to Sam that we’d exhausted all local options and she just said to me unfazed, “It’s okay mom – you’ll find one.” Talk about faith in your mother!!
I ended up ordering from Amazon as a friend was willing to bring it home for her, but after a few shipping glitches we realized that it wouldn’t make it back in time. In the end I was able to convince Sam that a feminine-looking little bumblebee would have to do and she did comply, but only wore it to one party. Her story when people commended her on being a bumblebee was that she was supposed to be a spider, but mom couldn’t find a costume. Gee, thanks.
Two days ago, my Mother-in-law dropped off the things she brought home for us from her latest trip to the states and Sam finally got her wish. The spider costume came in with the loot along with a few other things, and we opened it up. Sam wore it THE. WHOLE. AFTERNOON. She picked up her pumpkin bucket and started going from room to room pretending to trick-or-treat too, and she filled her bucket with things from the cupboard and little knick knacks here and there. Today she said she wanted to be a spider again and hopefully we could all go trick-or-treating. “Please Mom?!”
I used to think that Halloween costumes were an inefficient use of funds because the child would only wear it once, but boy have I been proven wrong! To date, our dress-up bin of clothes, props and accessories continues to grow in size because we still keep all the costumes the girls have asked for and have made (such as princess crowns and the like). Sam and Jamie (and their dad) find different reasons to be someone or some thing almost everyday, and it is great for their creativity and imagination. Sometimes Sam will put up something with lots of circles and say she is a Polka-dot Maker. I love it! For now though, her flavor of the month is the spider and spinning webs, and so we shall be just that.
Jamie in the meantime has taken to her sister’s Toy Story likings and tries to keep up with the Halloween dress-up games too…