Wednesday, September 18, 2013

No More Handmade Halloween Costumes.

I am certain I have used this vehicle as a platform to proclaim my strong disdain of store-bought Halloween costumes. I am as passionate about this as most are about political beliefs. Those who really know me know where I stand and I know bringing it up in mixed company would be deemed uncouth.

This immutable view took hold in college when my roommates and I needed little more than a glue gun, felt or fabric, pipe cleaners and duck tape to create our Halloween alter egos. We missed the memo that every other girl on campus received stating this holiday was for unleashing our inner punishable Catholic school girl or naughty nurse and, instead, took pride in making magic from common big-box store items.

One year, we were the Three Little Pigs and The Big Bad Wolf. What were we really? Three girls in white shirts with pink felt wraps at the waist, hot glued with felt "Pig 1," "Pig 2," or "Pig 3" letters and a menacing wolf in a brown dress, brown tights, brown clogs, and an oval piece of light brown fur pinned to her stomach. There were also pipe cleaner ears and tails and store-bought snouts in case our felt-on-felt costumes didn't make our ensemble clear.

A few weeks ago, my roommates and I had a chance to get together and spend a solid 15-30 minutes regaling a new boyfriend in the mix with our Halloween stories.

"We could do anything with felt and a glue gun!" one of us shouted, still proud of the truth in that statement.

Last night, my husband and I aligned on our son's Halloween costume. He will trick-or-treat as Bob the Builder because he loses his shit when he espies the inept handyman and Elmo just feels so trite and commercial.

Before the conversation was over, in my mind's eye, I was running down the aisles of Michael's, Hobby Lobby, and Jo-ann Fabrics filling my cart with Bob the Builder raw materials.

My husband's stern voice broke my virtual craft shopping spree.

"I need verbal confirmation that you WILL NOT make this costume."

"What?!" I said, surprised that he had followed me on my journey but sounding like I'd been caught with a pipecleaner hot glued to my back.

"Say it, Ann," he continued leaving the "ie" off my name which meant business. "You will not make this costume."

"Why?" I said buying some time to peruse my brown and yellow felt options and wonder what aisle would hold a hard hat.

"I swear to God, if our son has a felt toolbelt pinned to him, he's not leaving the house."

"But it's fun!" I shouted back.

"Fun for you. 15 years ago. Not fun when your son is the little boy in the felt costume. Buy it."

Defeated and misunderstood, I texted my college roomate with my husband's ultimatum.

"PINNED?" she wrote back, mocking my husband's knowledge of felt costume-crafting, "I think he means HOT GLUED! If the belt's off the table, make the tools!"

And there my friends, is the loophole. Like Sandra Lee, we will have a semi-homemade Halloween.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Let's All Agree To Stop The Absurd First Day Of School Pics.

The first day of school is several years away and I'm confident I won't live up to the expectations.

I am sure my son will be dressed in a clean, cute outfit. Ok, that's a lie. He's a boy. It will be cute but it may have some dirt or maple syrup on it.

I am also sure I will take a picture. Using my phone. The badass camera we bought in preparation for parenthood sees little play time. The vision of us as a camera-toting couple, using magical settings that make childhood look like a wispy cloud-filled fairy tale, hasn't quite come to fruition.

I'm fairly confident he won't be holding a sign with the date and his grade. Now, in theory, this is a good idea, but then again, so is Communism. I don't want to embarrass my son during the wedding slideshow when his first day of kindergarten pic pops up and the date is written in black Sharpie on the back of an open gas bill envelope.

I thought I'd found my out.

In late August my facebook feed filled with photos of children holding pinterested-out handmade signs declaring the first day of school. My initial horror receded into a dull annoyance only when I realized it was my Southern friends crafting Chevron striped, faux French Provinicial chalkboards and hiring talented baristas for the delicate scroll. If this is a Southern thing, I will gladly play my Northern card and pass on the antebellum ritual.

My horror returned today when moms in Upstate NY joined the shenanigans.

Ladies, let's stop the madness. I understand the pride in the first day of school but we are glamourizing an event that will happen 13 times and, quite honestly, looks like a pain in the ass. School supplies, early mornings, clean outfits, nourishing breakfasts, and the four years leading up to it that were filled with flying puzzle pieces and crushed Kix do not deserve a plaque.

Yes, I know your old friend from work quit her job and started a photography business and is now posting somewhat annoying photos 2-5 times a day with her logo on the bottom and making you feel incredibly inadequate with your camera roll, but what no one is telling her is that the sunswept, filtered, professional sign filled photos are dorky. Friends think it when they're posted and in 13 years your child is going to wonder why all her childhood events had props.

So, let's start a new trend. Change is hard, but it oftentimes begins with a small group of passionate people. I think we are it and I think we are needed.

Screw the sign and pin some mimosa recipes. Mix a giant batch. Bring this giant batch to the first day of school and take photos of you and your friends toasting yourselves for reaching the day with minimal puzzle-shaped scars marring your bodies. Shun anyone with a sign. In fact, make a sign that says, "If your child has a sign, you cannot have a drink."

By the time our first day of school is upon us, the mimosa trend will be all the rage and I will know who to thank. In fact, thank you in advance for your social activism. It's people like us who can truly change the world.