Halloween Costumes = Family Fun (Part Three)

Here it is, two days before Halloween, and I’m just getting around to posting pictures of last year’s costumes!

I had so much to share last year about our town’s Trunk or Treat and our little family celebration, but I guess I was too busy chasing down The Pioneer Woman (can you believe that was a YEAR ago?? If you don’t know what I’m referencing, click here, straightaway!) and then we moved on to Thanksgiving and Christmas, and now here we are, 365 days later. Time flies.

Anyhow, if you’ve been reading this blog for long, you’ll already know that I am a Halloween enthusiast – my family doesn’t travel much or spend a lot of money on extra-curricular activities – and so it is true that Halloween is one of our biggest days of the year. We spend money on it and everything. Mostly because I am not a maker of costumes, but an unapologetic buyer of them.

We had an awesome plan for last year’s costumes, plans that I have still tucked away for a future Halloween, but then I had a baby and, one month later, my husband had major back surgery, and then, three weeks later, it was the week of Halloween and we just had to scrap our “plan” and make do.

I have no memory of where this idea came from or who to credit it to…was it me? Mr. Gore? My mom? Rebekah? The Holy Spirit? The next-door neighbor? I honestly don’t know…but it turned out to be a super fun theme, and one that was actually quite meaningful and timely for our little family.

My husband’s back surgery (and the year leading up to it) was a huge deal, taking a major toll not just on him and me, but on our family and on our church. Thus, when 0ur small town’s Trunk or Treat turned out to be his very first post-surgery outing, my heart was just going nuts to see him up and walking again, pain-free, as he partook in one of our favorite family holidays.

When he was dealing with chronic pain, unable to sit at the supper table for meals, unable to drive without intense pain, unable to be at rest without heavy medication, I had wondered if our life would ever be normal again.

And now, on October 31st, 2013, it was.

It was a special Halloween, indeed, and I’ll never be able to look at these pictures and just see “Halloween”.

I see relief and victory and hope and love and joy and…

grace. Always grace.

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I was “Doc McFrazzled”, my husband was, you guessed it, a surgery patient, Rebekah was a nurse, Gideon was a medic and little Betsie was a “sick girl”.

We covered our car at the Trunk or Treat with the Red Cross flag we made for Gideon’s birthday party, and it was just so convenient to have Baby Shepherd nearby in his bassinet, portraying a newborn in our little hospital nursery.

Because, you know, he was one. I didn’t even have to dig that nursery tag out of storage – it was still in my bedroom!

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This was the most inexpensive Halloween we’ve ever celebrated! All we had to buy was a couple of rolls of gauze. 🙂

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The rest was found in our dress-up box and from family and friends who work in the medical field.

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And when we won the costume contest later that night, I almost went into cardiac arrest and had to be toted off to our makeshift hospital. I can’t tell you the last time I won anything, and this was a really great moment for our homeschooled children who don’t have many opportunities to compete or win rewards. They…actually, WE…couldn’t stop talking about our luck that night.

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It was the best Halloween EVER, but then, I’m pretty sure I say that every year. Halloween does that to me.

~

Want to see other Gore family costumes from years past? Click here to find Part One and here to find Part Two.

Gabbie, Pioneer Woman and Ridiculous Me: a Trilogy

Part 1: Gabbie

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When I woke up on the morning of November 1st, I had simple goals for the day:

1. Recover from Halloween by drinking my coffee in bed and keeping my pajamas on all day.

2. Catch up on homeschool.

3. That’s it.

But life takes awfully funny twists and turns, and few have been quite so twisty or turny as the ones mine took today…

It all started back in August. My friend, Megan, was planning her daughter, Gabbie’s, 6th birthday, and Gabbie had made an unusual request for one so young: the dearest, darlingest desire of her little heart was to have a Pioneer Woman party. And not like, Little-House-on-the-Prairie-cowboys-and-indians-pioneer-woman-party, but Gabbie’s-favorite-person-on-the-planet-Ree-Drummond-THE-Pioneer-Woman-party.

You don’t see a lot of those on Pinterest…

But here’s what I love about Megan. While I would have taken that theme and secretly planned all the details while my daughter slept, turning it into a sunflower and basset hound affair where all the boys had to wear ranch clothes and all the girls had to wear tunics, Megan actually sat down and planned this party with her little girl.

Flipping through cookbooks, Gabbie picked out several Pioneer Woman recipes that she wanted to make with her friends, and as usual, Megan set the stage for a genuinely lovely and laidback party wherein both her daughter and her guests (and their Mamas!) would leave feeling happy and appreciated.

For Gabbie’s present, I decided to aim really high and, sitting down one afternoon, I sent a long and gushing e-mail to The Pioneer Woman herself, telling her about Gabbie and her party theme, and asking rather pathetically if a small token might be procured in time for her birthday…nothing much, just an autograph, or a video shout-out, or a spatula…a Kitchenaid mixer perhaps (or two? One for me, one for Gabbie?)…anything, really, that the Pioneer Woman had signed, touched or breathed on.

Knowing it was a major shot in the dark, I worked hard to keep my expectations in the “it-never-hurts-to-try” category rather than the oh-my-gosh-I’m-going-to-become-BFF’s-with-PW-while-making-Gabbie’s-party-the-best-ever category…

for I knew it was very unlikely that PW would even see that message, and if she did, would have her hands tied; it is common blogging knowledge, is it not, that if you send a gift to one “biggest fan ever”, you leave out 1,158,935?

Yes, Ree Drummond has that many followers on facebook.

Still yet, it was worth an attempt for our Gabbie-girl.

But as her birthday party drew near, it became apparent that my message had probably been swallowed up into a sea of PW fanmail, perhaps read, perhaps even appreciated, but understandably unanswered. My disappointment was not too keenly felt, and I had to take a minute to feel sorry for Ree Drummond who probably receives thousands upon thousands of requests from people like me who just want this “one tiny thing” from her.

And it was great; even though my dreams of the present-of-a-lifetime didn’t materialize, Gabbie’s party was a precious affair.

The children arrived to a table stacked with miniature pizza boxes that they got to decorate with fun stickers and markers before moving to another table where they put together their own pizza using PW’s homemade crust recipe.

Then, while their pizzas baked in the oven, they moved to another table and put together a Pioneer Woman fruit pizza. There was also PW’s lasagna for the grownups, as well as her beautiful (and towering!) Chocolate Strawberry Nutella Cake that served as Gabbie’s birthday cake.

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I was just so touched by that sweet party, and left that day not only realizing what an amazing woman and mother Megan is, but that Gabbie is more than your typical fan of Pioneer Woman…

She’s a superfan!

All that to say, when my friends and I were sitting around in early October discussing Halloween costumes, and Megan mentioned that she had nothing planned, I offhandedly mentioned that Gabbie should dress as Pioneer Woman, remembering her birthday party and her unprecedented adoration for Ree Drummond.

I was joking.

But apparently Gabbie heard the idea and was like, YEAH, baby.

From that night on, she was determined to wear a Pioneer Woman costume for Halloween.

(You don’t see a lot of those on Pinterest, either…)

But over the next couple of weeks, I watched in wonder and amusement as Megan did it again. Where I would have said, “You know, sweetie, that doesn’t really match Mommy’s costume”, Megan found a way to make her little girl’s dream come true and, although she was still clueless on the Sunday before Halloween about how to make this costume materalize, by the time I saw Gabbie at our town’s Trunk or Treat on Halloween night, she had been transformed into none other than Ree Drummond…

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I cracked up.

The best part of all? When Gabbie approached our “trunk” to recieve her treats, she first handed ME a treat of prettily wrapped homemade cookies. Because that’s what Pioneer Woman would do.

(Let’s all take a moment to ponder the cute/sweet/preciousness of that idea and give Gabbie and her mama a round of applause).

When our troop returned home later that night and all the sugar-laced children had been strapped into their beds, I did what every American mother does on Halloween night, edited and uploaded photographs onto facebook. It was so much fun to peruse the snapshots of what had been a truly special evening (more on that next week), and I loved looking again at the different costumes our little churchkids had come up with this year. They were all so precious.

But when I came across Gabbie’s picture in the hundreds I had taken that night, I stopped for a minute.

I smiled.

I said “eureka!”

And I decided it was worth another shot.

Going straight to Pioneer Woman’s facebook page, I posted Gabbie’s photo and left Ree a quick caption: “At our town’s trunk-or-treat, I was so happy to be visited by a little Ree Drummond. This is 6-year old Gabbie, your biggest fan!”

It took no more than a minute and, assuming it, too, had been swallowed into the blackhole of internet posts, I gave it little thought and went on to tweak and edit some more of our photos before finally calling it a night and going to sleep…

And that leads us back to the morning of November the 1st.

When I woke up, I set out to accomplish my first post-Halloween goal of staying in bed with my caffeine and pajamas. Leisurely sipping on my first cup of coffee, I opened my laptop and was perusing facebook when I got a notification.

Clicking on it, I saw with bug-eyes that this was not my typical notification.

And that’s when our day went twisty…

~

Click here to read part 2!

(and here to read part 3).

A Storybook Halloween – Part Two

…Continued from “A Storybook Halloween“…

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So as I was saying, Granny was just sitting in bed waiting for someone to come visit her, as sick people are prone to do…

but she most certainly wasn’t expecting a wolf.

a BIG…BAD…WOLF!!!

“Oh dear me!” Granny cried.

and she sprang from her bed in terror.

For even those who are very old and very sick can become quite spry and hasty when there is a wolf at their heels.

But alas, she was no match for a fast and hungry wolf.

He caught her, and tied her up in the closet to save her for his dessert…

and Little Red Riding Hood would be his supper.

He put on a hat and shawl and crawled into bed, for he had a sneaky plan: to trick Red Riding Hood into thinking that he was her Granny, and not, in fact…

a mean. sly. horrid. cruel. dastardly WOLF.

Just as he curled up under Granny’s covers, Little Red Riding Hood arrived.

“Hello, dear Granny!” she sang with a smile…

and walking up to Granny’s bedside, she presented the basket of goodies that her Mother had sent.

But when she looked at Granny, she thought something seemed a little…strange.

“Granny…what big eyes you have today…” she said.

“Well, the better to see you with my beautiful dear!” replied Granny.

“And what big ears you have!” said Red Riding Hood.

“Oh, well, the better to hear you with, silly!” replied the wolf, growing more nervous – and hungrier – by the minute.

“And…what big teeth you have!” said Red Riding Hood, leaning in closer to figure out what in the world was wrong with her Granny.

The Wolf knew his time was up.

In his vicious wolf voice, he lunged forward and growled, “the better to EAT you with, my dear!”

I’m afraid it all would have been over for Little Red Riding Hood and her Granny if something quite extraordinary had not happened next.

A most handsome woodsman who was out hunting for his supper happened to walk by at that very moment and heard the Wolf’s growl and the little girl’s shriek.

He burst through the front door and presented something even sharper than the Wolf’s teeth…

a sturdy and trusty axe!

The Wolf tried to weasle his way out of the Woodsman’s grasp and ran as fast as his feet would fly…

but just as Granny was no match for the Wolf…

the Wolf was NO match for the handsome, manly, ruddy (and married) Woodsman.

With his own trickery, he was tied up and sat waiting for his deserved death…

while Little Red Riding Hood and the Woodsman laughed at his foiled plan.

And what happened to Little Red Riding Hood and the rest of the characters after this fateful day?

They lived happily ever after, just as they should have.

Except, of course, for the Wolf, who was made into a batch of hamburgers, providing a very fine supper for Little Red Riding Hood’s family right after this picture was taken.

The. End.

~

Costume details and outtakes coming up tomorrow!

~

This telling of Little Red Riding Hood and all photos are property of Mrs. Gore’s Diary and Benjamin Grey Photography. 

A Storybook Halloween

I am beyond excited to share the following post with you, and have to give special thanks to our sweet friend and brother in Christ, Ben Williams (at Benjamin Grey Photography) for spending a fun afternoon with us behind his camera lens. I will never forget this day and will always cherish the photographs he took for us.

~

Our Halloween “theme” fell nicely and quickly into place this year, and it was unanimous: Little Red Riding Hood.

Rebekah would, of course, be Red Riding Hood, Gideon would be the Wolf, Papa would be the Woodsman, and Betsie would be poor ol’ Granny.

But what part could I play?

“I know!” Rebekah exclaimed with glee. “The closet that the Wolf puts Granny in!”

Great. I’ve always wanted to be a closet for Halloween. And its funny…my little pipsqueak doesn’t realize that, just a few years ago, I would have played the role of Red Riding Hood.

Prima donna.

But in the midst of our brainstorming, my Mom had a brilliant idea – there was one character we had forgotten: Little Red Riding Hood’s Mother!

Perfect!

And as I pictured all of us in our costumes, I got that excited feeling in my gut…

Because I had an idea.

Ben was more than willing to help me out, and a week before Halloween, we all dressed in our costumes and acted out the story of Little Red Riding Hood while he snapped away. We had a blast doing this, and the best part? The kids have no idea that I’ll be using these pictures to make a very special Christmas present for them: a storybook for each child starring…us!

I’ve always wanted to be in a book. And if I can’t be the star, at least I don’t have to be the closet.

Would you like to hear our story?

~

Once upon a time, Granny was very, very sick.

Little Red Riding Hood’s mother decided to send some goodies to her, and asked her daughter if she might deliver them. She put on her cape…

handed her the basket of goodies…

and kissed her goodbye, after warning her to be very careful on her walk through the woods.

Little Red Riding Hood took off on her adventure, and she felt very brave and important.

But what she didn’t know was that, lurking in the woods nearby, was a BIG…BAD…WOLF.

Hooowwwwwwwl…

He laid in wait on the path ahead, hoping someone would amble by.

And he was very…very…hungry.

Little Red Riding Hood was enjoying her walk and was getting very close  to Granny’s house…

when suddenly, she heard a noise!

It was a wolf, and Little Red Riding Hood was very afraid.

But as he approached her, he looked very friendly.

“Hello, Little Red Riding Hood!” he said with a sly smile on his face.

“Hello…” she replied.

“What are you doing out in the woods alone on this nice Fall day?” the Wolf asked.

“Oh, I am on my way to my Granny’s house,” she replied, “for she is very sick and my Mother asked me to deliver this basket of goodies to her.”

“Oh!” said the Wolf, “You…I mean, they…look delicious. Er…where does your Granny live?”

“That way!” answered silly Red Riding Hood.

“Perfect!” said the Wolf. “Gotta go!…”

And with that, he was off, running down the lane to return to the Woods.

Or at least that’s where Little Red Riding Hood thought he was going.

But gasp! He wasn’t going to the woods.

He was going to…t0…Granny’s house!!

Where poor Granny sat in her bed, feeling very under the weather and very lonesome. She had been waiting all day for someone to come and visit her.

But she wasn’t expecting a wolf.

~

to be continued…

(Part Two).

~

Want to remember this idea? Pin it!

Halloween Costumes = Family Fun (Part 1)

I love Halloween.

Always have.

Always will.

When Mr. Gore and I were first dating, it didn’t take long before I dragged him into the realm of my holiday madness. I’ll never forget our first Halloween as a couple. We dressed up in costume (I was a princess and he was a gangster), I made him an absolutely awful home-cooked meal (on accident, not on purpose), we went trick-or-treating at the homes of some of our friends, and then we went, in costume, to the movies – my giant puffy dress wafted up and over my theater seat, and I loved every minute…even though I hated the scary movie we watched with a passion.

Then we got married and moved to Kentucky. I cannot share a picture of the costume I wore that year, as we “stayed in” for our Halloween “party” (you know what I mean?)

Not surprisingly, the next year I was pregnant, and dressed as a miserable pregnant woman. Mr. Gore wore jeans and a t-shirt.

Had we lost our Halloween spirit? NO. WAY.

Because the next year we were joined by our first baby, and our Halloween spirit went up about 2,000 notches when I learned what fun could be had in dressing up as a family unit. Poor, poor Mr. Gore…

It should be noted that, I always come up with fun ideas and spend August and September being so excited about our costumes…until I am getting dressed on Halloween night. There, alone in my room, I berate myself for being such an IDIOT who still gets dressed up on a decidedly children’s holiday…

But that all washes away when I step into the living room and my kids just nearly die of excitement over what I’m wearing. Little ones are so very easy to impress, and I will gladly look like the dork of the century for them every October 31st, so long as they will enjoy it. And then probably when they don’t, just so I can embarrass them.

So. Our first Halloween with baby. Gideon was 7 months old and an absolute mizer. He didn’t like to be held by other people and he didn’t like festivities. Which was a problem, as Mr. Gore and I were playing a key role in our church’s Halloween festival…it was going to be loud and there were going to be lots of people there. Gid was sure to hate it. So I dressed him as a chicken (I glued a felt “beak” to his pacifier) and put him in a “nest” (a cheap laundry basket wrapped in burlap) of raffia, surrounded by Hobby Lobby craft eggs for him to play with. Throughout the entire party, he was able to be happily unsociable, and I was able to enjoy the party! Mr. Gore dressed as a gentleman farmer, and I was his doting wife, dressed in my Granny’s old pioneer costume that just happened to fit my new Mama body perfectly. I will admit, this was a very throw-together year for us – I spent very little time on our costumes (note the cardboard sign and the office clip), but we had such fun!

The next year was one of my favorite Halloween themes ever. We dressed as the “First Thanksgiving” – Mr. Gore was a pilgrim, I was an Indian maid, and Gideon was a turkey. We did not eat him. (and we kept news that I was pregnant again a secret until November – we didn’t want to get the Pilgrims in trouble).

No, I changed my mind…the NEXT year was my favorite theme ever. My brother and his wife (Amy! You know her!) had moved back to town, and we had more kids to play dress-up with us. Gideon was absolutely in love with Peter Pan at the time, and my little nieces were thrilled to play the part of Wendy and Tinkerbell. Mr. Gore reluctantly dressed as Mr. Smee, and I displayed just how much I love my kids by donning a faux mustache (my real one wasn’t impressive enough) and dressing as Captain Hook. I actually loved this costume, as I felt comfortably fashion forward with my knee-high boots, white ruffly sundress and black J. Crew 3/4-sleeve velvet dress coat (that I borrowed from my Mom). The hat came from the Disney Store, as did our Peter Pan costume (and all of these items are still being enjoyed today!). The sad news: I ordered a precious mermaid costume for Miss Sunday to wear, but it arrived the day AFTER Halloween. Tragedy.

The next year we went Biblical. Gideon was the young shepherd David, Rebekah was his little lamb, Mr. Gore was dumb Goliath and I was Goliath’s dumb groupie, who carried around a sign that said “Goliath Rocks!” (Get it? “rocks”…slingshot…yeah, it was the best I could do). We ordered some cool headgear off of Amazon, and the rest of our costumes were pieced together from our church’s closet full of nativity costumes. Rebekah’s lamb costume came from Chasing Fireflies (I think).

Man, that was fun. But now that I think about it…

the NEXT year (last year) was really my favoritest Halloween ever.

I love it so much, I’ve decided it needs its own post. Comin’ up tomorrow…