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…

A Boy Called Peter

The pants of his Peter Pan costume were hitting far above the ankle.

The shirt was getting more difficult to slip over his head.

And Gideon began to cry…

“Mom, I just really don’t want to grow up anymore.”

“What’s the matter, Gid?” I asked, concerned by this sudden outburst.

“I mean, I want to be 6 on my next birthday, but not any more grown. That’s as grown as I want to be!” he wailed.

And that’s when it hit me.

The Peter Pan costume.

“Gid…” I said, about to cry, myself. “You know we can get you a new Peter Pan costume, right?”

~

He first wore that costume almost 3 years ago…

It was Halloween 2009, and Peter Pan was an obvious choice, for the classic Disney movie had seemingly been the theme of our year – we had watched it countless times. And when we weren’t watching it, we were playing pirates or flying through the house or seeing mermaids in the lake…

{This was, by the way, fitting rather nicely into my master plan, for Peter Pan is one of those clutch-to-my-chest stories that had defined my childhood, my adolescence, my young adulthood…and I was determined to find a way to keep it around}.

Gideon’s cousin Abigail dressed the part of Wendy, her sister Anna represented Tinkerbell, and the happy trio had the best time traipsing and flitting around town with their Halloween treat bags on their arms that perfect October night. (and I’ll give you a dollar if you can guess who dressed as Cap’n Hook – more on that when October gets here!)

But just because Halloween was over the next morning did not mean that Gideon was going to put his costume up in the attic for keepsake memories, or even in the closet for other days…

He lived in it.

He ate in it.

He slept in it.

He wore it…

All. the. time.

And just like his childish hero, he had many wonderful adventures in this special costume.

One day, when he was about 4 years old, he was invited to accompany my husband and our friend, Zac, to a local sporting goods store to buy supplies for the church softball team.

When Mr. Gore came to pick him up from our house in the church van, Gideon was, not surprisingly, dressed as Peter Pan from head to toe, his little foam sword tucked snugly into his Peter Pan belt.

If you think Mr. Gore was embarrassed to be accompanied on an outing with a miniature Peter Pan, you’d be wrong, for in truth, my husband is the one who has taught me to lighten up and let our kids wear what they will (on most days). Thus, he met our son with a huge smile, and complimented him right away. Gideon…er, Peter…ran straight to his arms, excited to be included with the big boys on this fun trip to “town”.

As he turned to wave good-bye to me, that little green hat with a brown feather sticking up in the air, my heart constricted, and I took a mental snapshot of my little lost boy. “If Peter Pan had been this loved by his mother,” I thought, “he never would have stayed in Neverland all those years…”

Off they flew to the sporting goods store, and everything was reportedly ticking along quite nicely…

until Mr. Gore was checking out at the cash register, waiting for the cashier to ring up and bag the many items that needed to be purchased for the softball team.

During the long wait, Gideon had apparently wandered over to take a look at the clothing section behind him…

and the room suddenly exploded with noise.

Turning quickly around, Mr. Gore watched in amazement as clothing rack after clothing rack fell slowly over in domino fashion, one right after another, seven racks in all.

Boom!…

Boom!…

Boom, boom, boom, boom!…

BOOM!

The “dust” settled, clothes lying everywhere, and there in the clearing stood none other than our Peter Pan, his sword raised defensively in his right hand, his eyes as round as saucers.

Where was his pixie dust when he needed it?! For I am quite sure he would have flown the coop if he could have.

As Mr. Gore recounted the hilarity to me when he returned home, I gasped “How did it happen?!”

“We’re not really sure…” he admitted.

“Well what did you do? What did the cashier do?!” I asked, my hand over my mouth.

“We just stood there for a few seconds, and started laughing.” he replied.

As my husband helped the young cashier clean up the mess, he continued to apologize profusely.

“Dude…don’t worry about it man, ” the cashier assured him, “when am I ever going to get to tell a story like this again?…’everything fell over, and there in the middle of it was…Peter Pan.’

It was an epic moment in Mr. Gore’s life, in Zac’s life, in Gideon’s life, and in mine…even though I was not there to witness it firsthand.

Gideon is 5 years old now, and still occasionally squeezes into his beloved costume, a new (and permanent) Wendy-bird by his side:

He won’t stay little forever and he will certainly outgrow that costume in the months to come…

but I pray his adventures never stop.