Thursday, November 3, 2011

Next year I'll go as "Stranger with Candy"

My 4-year-old grandson Luke asked me what I plan to be for Halloween. Actually, I hadn't planned to be anything but "Grandma," but since he was dressing up as a knight (or a dragon or Ironman, a Ghostbuster or maybe even a princess--he hadn't completely committed), he thought I should wear a costume for Halloween too.

I figured the Naughty Nurse costume I used to wear was out of the question. I miss those days when I could fit into mesh nurses' tights and a cleavage-altering uniform. But no more sexy French maid or roller-skating carhop or Sandy-after-her transformation-in-"Grease" costumes for me.

After I had kids, I was more likely to dress as Pregnant Housewife, wearing orange-juice-can rollers, green facial masks, stained housecoats, and bunny slippers, all borrowed from my personal collection.

So when had life itself become Halloween, and the clothes I owned become costumes? It was about that time I gave up on "Halloween" costumes all together, and just focused on handing out candy to cute little gremlins, ghosts, and goblins.

But this year the pressure was back on. When my grandson asked what I was wearing for Halloween, I knew I had to find a costume so as not to disappoint him.

I headed to one of those temporary Halloween stores that pull into town every year like circus trucks, and checked out the latest alter-ego fashions. Going as Lady Gaga was tempting, but too scary for the grandkids, which left me Angry Birds (a colorful round ball that hid all the extra Halloween candy I'd already eaten this year), Princess Katherine (wear my old bride dress from my kids' dress-up box), or a cartoon zombie (did I really want to look like the living dead at my age?)

In desperation, I searched the Internet for "Hip Grandmother Costumes," but all they had were accessories like gray-haired buns, knitted shawls, and wire-rimmed glasses. I'd been fighting that stereotype since I turned middle-aged and wasn't about to go there now.

My other choice was "Biker Grandma in Leather with Tattoos." Way too scary for my grandkids -- and my husband.

I thought about wearing normal clothes and go as a Nudist on Strike. Or attach a big S to the front of my shirt, put on a black mask, a green ring, and a blue cape, and come as a Confused Super Hero. Or maybe I could just wear a towel and come as Caught in the Shower. But my grandkids don't do puns well.

I continued to look for something more appropriate for my age and my dignity, something that would delight the grandkids without humiliating me, something that was cheap, quick, comfortable, creative, and fun to wear for hours on Halloween night.

After helping myself to another handful of "fun-size" candy bars and washing them down with a glass of Halloween punch (wine), I had an epiphany and knew jus which costume would meet all the criteria for my grandkids and myself.

I bought myself an extra-large red sweat suit from Target, put on a red knitted cap, held some cotton candy in front of my face, and voila: I was Santa Claus, another of my alter egos.

And after eating all that Halloween candy, it's the only outfit that still fits.



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