"How about 'The Wizard of Oz'?"
"How about a family of sugar skull skeletons?"
"We could all dress up as 'How to Train Your Dragon.'"
Not Halloween enough.
"Then how about we dress as candy corn?"
No! Then we'll be sad we can't eat us! Do we have to dress as a family?
My family has never before dressed up for Halloween in a thematic design. I reminded the kids that dressing up as a family was their idea. We changed our mind!
My son decided he will dress as a skeerchin. My daughter will be a wizitch. If you don't know what those things are, you're not alone. Neither do I. Their active imaginations and constant storytelling are never lacking and always hard to keep up with.
I lamented the loss of a cute photo-op. It looked as if I would go back to dressing as Grumpy Bear again. My husband probably would go back to dressing as a masked inmate yet again. There was a time, before kids, when my costume would take thought, precision and time. I loved caking layers of white, red, gray and green paint across my face. I relished the discomfort in friends' expressions when they first looked at undead me. Since I had my son, my costume has tended to be repurposed footie pajamas that take 15 seconds to put on.
My husband suggested that he and I dress as a themed couple for Halloween, even if the kids opted out. This would be our first time dressing as a couple for Halloween, though it would be less of a first for him. Fifteen years ago, when my husband and I were just dating, he and his work wife dressed as Britney Spears and Kevin Federline and won their company's "cutest couple costume" competition. Clearly, I'm over it.
I liked this idea of dressing up together. It felt cute and connective — as if a spotlight that's always focused on the kids could get to flip backward for a moment and focus on the people operating the light. With the kids confidently telling me that they have their respective skeerchin and wizitch costumes covered with the clothing articles they already possess (please, Lord, let these outfits consist of more than biker shorts on their heads and helmets on their bottoms), the attention on parent dress-up time was in full swing.
My husband began sending me links.
"How about Jim and Pam from 'The Office'?"
Not dressed up enough.
"Joker and Harley Quinn?"
More dressed up than we have the time for.
"How about Julia Child and beef bourguignon?"
Not sexy enough.
"How about Sexy Mr. Rogers (yes, this is a real costume) and Lady Elaine Fairchilde?"
How dare you?
The costumes were too expensive, too boring, too scary for the kids or too labor-intensive. If we were being honest, the costume issue didn't so much spring from a shortage of ideas as it did from a shortage of time to consider good ideas. We weren't able to get to a Halloween store together, so we were relegated to the internet. Links to costumes became overwhelming, as each site boasted thousands of costumes. When we settled on Fred and Wilma Flintstone, the company promised the costumes would arrive before Christmas. When we settled on astronauts, we couldn't figure out the sizing chart. When we settled on being Bob Ross and his happy little tree, we discovered that the costume wouldn't come with a wig. No wig? Bob Ross was his hair.
My son observed that it didn't look as if we were having very much fun on our couple's costume search. "Perhaps we can try again next year," I agreed. "We don't have to dress up."
"Yes, you do," my son said. "Everyone knows that the blue bear gave birth to the world's skeerchins and wizitches."
"Yes! And skeerchins and wizitches would still be locked up today if their inmate friend didn't set them free."
"Oh, of course. So, wait. You're saying that if we dress like we always have, we'll be dressed as a family?" I asked my son.
"Duh. We are a family."
Katiedid Langrock is author of the book "Stop Farting in the Pyramids," available at http://www.creators.com/books/stop-farting-in-the-pyramids. Like Katiedid Langrock on Facebook, at http://www.facebook.com/katiedidhumor. To find out more about her and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate webpage at www.creators.com.