I feel the need to apologize to all the lovely Target shoppers at our local store last week. You see, I felt the insane desire to bring the kids (all 3 of them) into the shiny shopping mecca in order to find Wyatt a Halloween costume.
I know, it was 3 weeks before Halloween, how could I wait so long?
I had to wait so long because apparently I birthed not only the pickiest male dresser under the age on 9 on the planet, but also the pickiest Halloween-costume-wearer. The boy cannot decide on a costume to save his life. This one is too babyish. This one is ugly. I don't like this one. Can't I be this one with all the fake blood and the cleaver?
Why? Why, won't someone please tell me, why does it have to be so hard?
I love Halloween. I love decorating with all the pumpkins and gourds and sometimes even that fake spider web stuff hanging all over my front door. I love making cider on the stove and having the whole house smell like a big pumpkin pie. I love the trick-or-treating in the freezing cold and returning home to see if some teenager has smashed our jack-o-lanterns. But I absolutely hate trying to pick out Halloween costumes.
It isn't that the task itself is horrible, but the choices for boys are.
I noticed, as I had in previous years, that the "boy" section for Halloween costumes contains a wide array of disgusting, violent and gory costumes. Okay, I know, Halloween is supposed to be scary . . . but does it have to be violent?
I am all for dressing up like a vampire, or a mummy or a skeleton. But a serial killer? No thanks. And of course, my boys are drawn to the most violent and most gory costumes like moths to a flame. And with each plastic butcher knife or sickle that they pick up from the accessories bin, I begin to lose my sanity, right there in the Halloween aisle at Target.
I think I actually, physically threw my hands up in the air before turning the giant 2-seated cart that my kids insisted upon riding in (although in my opinion they are too big for) around and heading to a more calming area of the store (think bed & bath section . . . ).
"Get whatever costume you want," I screamed. "Just pick one out, I don't' even care anymore."
How's that for some good parenting, right there?
A little part of me knew deep down inside that if I showed my real disgust with the situation, Wyatt would stop trying to convince me to buy the Serial Killer costume and settle for something a bit more PG. And I hate that I had to do that. But for Pete's sake, the school rules clearly state that no masks, fake blood or pretend weapons are allowed at school for the student's costume party, I know there is a reason for this. And I am not about to buy my kids 2 costumes, one that is tame enough for school and one that they can wear at home.
What kind of message would that send?
Obviously, our (my) Halloween-costume-buying issues have created a situation in which I've over thought the whole thing to death, and no good can come out of it. However, how do we, as parents, stick to our morals and values in a culture that clearly gives no regard to them?
And I really don't think I am that unusual here, the majority of the parents of my kid's friends believe the same way and we do not consider ourselves extremely strict, we even allow our kids to watch PG-13 movies on occasion (shocker!).
And the school, our public school, supports this and has for as long as I can remember.
So, what is wrong with the retail portion of this? Why can't we keep the obvious gore and violence out of the kiddy section and only offer these types of costumes for older kids and adults?
I am a huge believer that kids should be kids. They should have fun and be encouraged to use their imaginations. They should be allowed freedom in their choices, within reasonable boundaries set by parents. And I suppose that some people will think that I'm overreacting to the whole violent Halloween costume thing, but I'll stand by my choice. When it comes to my 3rd-grader, who still does not like to go into the dark garage by himself, there will be no Freddy Krueger costume, or "murderer". If he wants to be a vampire or a werewolf, fine.
Lucky for me, he chose to be a clown. And not the scary kind either, but the kind with flashy sunglasses, a Flash Gordon t-shirt and a rainbow wig with face paint.