I am afraid. Halloween is around the corner and once again I’m instinctively gripping my seam ripper just a bit too tightly. The horror of our community’s annual Halloween costume competition - oh, excuse me - Halloween party, has me stressed.
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Another year for costumes to be judged, prizes to be awarded and little hearts to get broken. And therein lies the real scare: The big people who take losing very hard.
The competition by the moms to outdo each other is tremendous. You can see us, bright red from holding our breath in suspense while the judging is going on. Some resort to catcalls and secret signals when the kids are parading before the judges, futilely trying to influence them. For the most part, the kids ignore their moms, the lucky ones hiding out behind their masks as they march in a circle for what seems like a thousand years.
And when they finally call out the winners, it is frightening to see the children comforting their moms with the free donuts that are served and trying to coax them out the door with their chocolate candy collected after a hard beggar’s night out before their sobbing and accusations become too embarrassing.
In past years, my children have asked for the craziest costumes. My middle one wanted to be a salad. What kid wants to be a salad? This is the same child who gags when any green vegetable comes within two feet of her “pre-processed foods only” body.
The best I could toss together was a big ball of green cloth stuffed with newspaper for her middle, green tights, croutons of yellow sponge, red felt tomatoes, and a bottle of Wish Bone dressing to carry. She added the "cheese" with her winning smile and did her best to ham it up. No need to add nuts - we already are.
She won. (Or shall I say I did?) The down side is that I had to live up to that win, and my other kids felt they deserved a similar winning wardrobe, causing every creative bone in my body to feel arthritic.
All that effort for free candy? Well, a lot of that IS chocolate. All I asked for was my fair share of the good stuff. (No apples, please. My increased blood pressure from Halloween stressing provided a nice healthy glow, thank you.)
I thought I was in the clear this year as this tricky charade expires at age 10 and all my kids are all past their prime. Then I was asked to be a judge. I accepted the challenge as I am not well-versed in conjuring up lame excuses on the fly. (Note to self: Ask the kids for help.)
I am hoping that no one gets too scary when the winning costumes are called out. I am not exactly sure where the emergency exits are located and I already have enough grey hairs to disguise.
Mary Fagan has an M.S. in Education and is the mother of three children with the gray hairs to prove it. When not watching them closely, she offers lighthearted parenting humor at http://motherwise.us.