Sunday, October 28, 2007

Halloween Checklist

Published October 28, 2007
St. George Spectrum & Daily News

Today is a momentous day for me. As I write this column, it is exactly one week before Halloween, and all the costumes are finished. (Excuse me while I brace for the imminent universal implosion.) I didn't even realize I had everything ready until the kids asked to go to the Halloween carnival at the church tonight. When I began to tell them I didn't know if we had all the costumes, I stopped in my oft procrastinating tracks and realized my mental list was almost completely checked off.

Ray: Ninja costume? Check. Nunchucks? Check. Nunchuck Skills? Consult Karate teacher. Nunchuck spelling? Wikipedia says we're good...Check.

Miriam: Burglar costume? Check. Menacing stare? Check. Cleptomania? Two out of three's not bad.

Cate: Cat costume? Check. Puss in Boots accessories? Check. Pronunciation practice so she'll stop saying Pus in Boots? Check.

Evelyn: Fairy costume? Check. Precious, fairy-like good looks? Check. Self deprecating smile so no one realizes I secretly take full credit for those good looks? Check.

Michael: Pumpkin costume? Check. Remembering why I've never had a child wear a pumpkin costume? Check (bad preschool memory involving a stuck costume and a desperate need to urinate). 2nd guessing the pumpkin costume? Check. Remembering my issues should not come before my desire to make my children happy with the costume they choose to wear? Check. Pumpkin costume/newfound humility? Check.

Of course the kids' costumes are not the only ones ready for the big day. I put the finishing touches on a rather spectacular costume of my own. I'm one of those moms who dresses up with the kids every year. If you're not one of those moms, I just have to say I don't really understand you. I like you, because you have enough good taste to read The Mother Load, but I don't understand you.

I mean, think about it. All year long, you're "MOMINEEDFIVEDOLLARS!" or "MOMSHEHITME!" or "I'MTELLINGMOOOOOOOOOOMMMMM!" One night a year, you get to be someone else...go incognito...hide behind a mom-free facade (while performing your mom-ly trick or treat duties, of course) and relax in your new identity. You're not going to grab that opportunity like it's the last bottle of fabric refresher on the store shelf after potty training week?

Since becoming a mom, I've been a firefighter, a toddler, a graduate, and a gypsy, among others. This year, I won't so much depart from reality as I will make that reality known to the world in a very enthusiastic way. I'm accompanying the kids trick or treating as "Weird Al Yankovic's Biggest Fan." There's not much to it, but it is a costume I'll never forget. The jury's still out on whether I'll tweak it a little here and there and turn it into "Weird Al Yankovic's Favorite Stalker." Either way, it's perfect. That mental list is almost completely satisfied.

Sarah: Weird Al Yankovic's Biggest Fan costume? Check. Life experience as Weird Al's biggest fan? Check. Life experience as Weird Al's stalker in case I decide to go that direction with the costume? Do the words, "Restraining order? What restraining order?" mean anything to you?