I don’t know when it started. I guess it’s possible that she may have always been this way—even as far back as inside the womb. I am referring to my daughter’s need to be the best at whatever she does. When it comes to Halloween, it’s no different. She pushes it to the limit—or at least to my limit—always needing to have the most original costume possible. This means that it can’t be purchased straight off the shelf, and since I don’t sew, I can’t make it in the traditional sense. Instead, I am forced to come up with creative—and hopefully affordable—ways to help her achieve her vision. Over the last few years, I’ve actually started to develop anxiety as soon as October 1st arrives, wondering what brilliant idea my daughter will come up with next—and whether I will actually be able to help her pull it off.
When she was little—and I was still somewhat in control of the choices for a costume—the biggest challenge was deciding on which Disney princess she was going to be. She started out by being Snow White when she was three—an easy costume that only required a dress and a ribbon for her hair. Then, at four, she wanted to be Ariel. I would have been happy with only buying the elaborate dress that she had to have, but she was adamant that she couldn’t be Ariel without her long, red hair. So, I gave in. Now looking back at all of the Halloween’s since that one, I do believe that this is where it may have begun—the ambitions of my sweet Halloween overachiever.
Jasmine, at age five, was still somewhat simple. The costume, and all of it’s accessories, were an easy purchase—straight off the shelf—and it should have been enough. My daughter already had long, dark hair, but for her, she wanted it to be longer. Instead of having to buy another awful synthetic wig, I was able to find a clip-on hair extension that gave her a waist-length ponytail.
At six, she informed me that she was done with Disney princesses—she wanted to make her own costume: Elf Princess. She already had the perfect dress, so she only requested three things: 1) a wig; 2) prosthetic elf ears (yes, I had to glue them on); 3) sparkly fake eyelashes. In the end, once I got over the trauma of gluing on fake eyelashes on my sweet 1st-grader, I was stunned to see that I was actually able to pull it off.
When she was seven, she surprised me by wanting to be a Nerdy Boy for Halloween. To be honest, I wasn’t thrilled with having to buy boy pants, shoes, shirt, and suspenders for her costume, but I was happy that I didn’t have to buy another wig. We taped up a pair of glasses, and tucked her hair into her shirt to hide the length. Her costume turned out to be such a hit at school that the following year there were quite a few girls wearing a similar one. (Unfortunately, I don’t have a photo—what was I thinking?)
At eight, her entire costume revolved around wanting a real purple wig from an actual wig shop. We decided that she would be a perfect Mannequin. She dressed in black with long, black gloves and a lot of jewelry. To finish it off, we bought a pair of purple fake eyelashes, and applied a lot of makeup. No one even recognized her during the Halloween parade at school—a huge success!
When she was nine, she decided that she wanted to be a “Stressed-out Working Mom.” (She swears that she wasn’t being me, but I don’t believe it.) Fortunately, this costume did not require another wig. Instead, we teased out half of her hair, and put the other half in pink fuzzy rollers. She wore a nightgown under a bathrobe, with one stocking and slippers. To finish it all off, we added some messy makeup so that she would have a frenzied look.
Last year was the most elaborate of all—and it nearly put me over the edge. She wanted to be a Zombie Pageant Girl. I had no idea how to transform her into a zombie, but she had total faith in me—and a lot of ideas. She wanted to use liquid latex to make wounds, make-up so that she’d look dead, some glued-on garish wounds, and a lot of dripping blood. Of course, she would also need a dress, a sash, a wig, and a crown. The end result actually blew me away—she was transformed.
And the bar was set even higher.
Today, I am once again experiencing the agony of trying to figure out how to help achieve this year’s vision. In all honesty, I’m not sure if I’ll be able to pull it off. I’m not going to reveal it yet, but I will soon. There isn’t much time left to figure it out—Halloween is now only two weeks away!
Like with so many things in my daughter’s life, her desire to be unique—to be an individual—leaves me feeling somewhat in awe of her. It’s for this reason that I want to support her creativity, to help her turn her wonderful imagination into a reality. My advice to my daughter is to never forget these wonderful Halloween costumes—even when she has out-grown trick-or-treating and she no longer wants to dress up—I hope she takes the memory of them with her. And, I hope that she will always hold onto her desire to stand out from the crowd.