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Wednesday, November 01, 2006

My Vain Little Secret

It may not be a big deal to some--but to me, November 1st brings a small amount of relief. I mean, #2's birthday is JUST around the corner, not to mention Thanksgiving, #4's birthday and Christmas. But at least Halloween is over.

Do I hate Halloween? Of course not. But every year it's a major stress. And the worst part is that the stress is entirely self-inflicted. I could avoid it all. But I don't. Because I am vain. And because I procrastinate.

When I was little, store bought costumes were very plastic-y and not very cute. Fabric and patterns were also much cheaper than they are now. As a result, every year my seamstress-mother made our costumes and they were fabulous. My brother and I won contests. We still have many of these in our family's possession. So when I grew up I figured a costume was just somehow not valid unless it was hand-made. And for several years, homemade costumes were all my girls had. I would look at kids with store-bought costumes, some of them very nice, some exquisite, and I would think, "yes, but your mother didn't MAKE it."

Along the way now there have been costumes that I purchased for the kids. And each time two things happen. I feel like an inadequate mother, and I find myself trying to apologize or explain why my child would be wearing one.

It is barely short of hellish to sew four costumes. I go crazy. I stay up too late many nights in a row. My back goes out. I get angry at myself (and other family members silly enough to come near me). I heatedly vow that "Next year I am buying them ALL, and I could buy them all at DISNEYLAND for what it costs me to make them!"

Enter vanity. All of that frustration seems to melt away on Halloween night. "Why yes, I did make the costumes." "Why thank you, I was really happy with how they turned out myself." "Yes, my mother taught me to sew." "I does take a long time, but I think it's worth it." I look around at my four beautiful kids with their four beautiful, handmade costumes, and I feel that again, I have arrived. I am mother, hear me sew. And by the next fall, much like childbirth, the pains of pinning and cutting and sewing and gathering and surging have all faded into something not so bad, certainly something worth the outcome. So early September we choose costumes, and buy patterns and fabrics, and are all ready to go.

Enter procrastination. I have a hard time getting anything done without a deadline fast approaching. This should have been easier to avoid this year--I only had one pioneer costume to make, only one costume that I would not feel the need to apologize for. But I factored this in to my timetable and was finishing the pinafore about 30 minutes before leaving for our first Halloween party of the season.

I honestly cannot say which I'd prefer: a sane pre-Halloween October, or bragging rights on the 31st. If I really think about it though, my record must show my preference. Next fall I'll have to go up to the attic, pull out the costume trunk, and make a tally. My money is on vanity.

4 fishy comments:

Jenn said...

LOL!!! Bragging rights are worth lots of suffering sometimes. I gave in on the costume thing years ago, tho - I haven't MADE one myself in ages. I want to see yours, tho! They sound amazing!!

Kelly said...

I am with you on the homemade costumes. Even though I am not a great seamstrist, I did enjoy making B's 1st costume which was big enough that he wore it again at 2. This past year, I thought of making one but like you, procrastination is what I live for and deadlines are what motivate me to accomplish most things. My problem was my husband this year. We were in Walmart mid-Oct and he says, 'lets look at the costumes'. We ended up with a REALLY CHEAP one that all I could think about was, "even I can make something like that" but when it came down to it, I had the costume so the deadline was gone and I never made it. I think I will try to be better next year, especially since B might actually verbalize what he wants to be.

Heatherlyn Colt said...

My mother, too, made all our costumes for Halloween. And she was very good. I made several costumes for my first child, two of which won baby-costume contests in Orem Utah (not a small feat). But by child #2 it did not seem worth the stress to me. I have learned that putting together a costume requires quite a bit of effort. Even if I buy the different parts, I've still given the costume a particular look. Typically. Well, that's been good enough for me! But kudos to you for sewing all yours. You should have lots of pictures and put them in a book of Halloween and feature your kids in their costumes for each year of their lives. They'd love it. (I use www.blurb.com for all my photobook making. They do the BEST job.)

Annette Lyon said...

I go back and forth on this all the time. My mom was a major seamstress too, so the pressure was passed on. Some years I've gone all out--and LOVE the compliments--and then others I get lazy and feel guilty for the store-bought princess dress.

(One year as a kid, the homemade costume thing backfired for me--check out my post from last Halloween about being a Purple Tent. Lovely.)

I *think* this is my fifth archives comment. I'm having fun reading your older stuff!

Now I'll go become a follower. Not sure how many entries that gets me, but hey--I'm glad I found you and WANT to follow! :)