Halloween and A Cat

As Halloween’s are recorded into the record book of time, ours in 2017 won’t be one that breaks many records. Supermom and I decided early on that our energies would be focused on Disney and the rest of the month may be a wash. We set the bar low for Halloween and achieved everything we set out to do. In some ways it was a good holiday and in some ways we could have been better. But hey, that’s parenting right?

Let’s start with costumes. I dare say some bank robbers work harder on their outfits. Lady Bug was the most dressed up in her Vampirina outfit. For all of you who are out of the loop, Vampirina (if that is how you spell it?) is a cartoon about a small cutesy vampire girl who moves into a strange neighborhood and works to gain acceptance from her neighbors. Obviously a product of the liberal agenda and brainwashing children that blood sucking undead demons are harmless and should be welcomed with open arms because they struggle with the same emotional issues and desire for community acceptance. While not as obvious as the glittery emo vampires of Twilight, I still dispute the historical accuracy. But Lady Bug looked really cute in her outfit so she became Vampirina. Prima decided to be a unicorn so we phoned it in with a three piece kit and an all-white sweat suit. Put on some gloves for hooves and BAM… unicorned. Donna Threeto insisted on becoming a fox because her native American spirit guide is a fox. She displays many fox mannerisms and loves wearing a tail. Luckily, a fox is a generic enough outfit that the costume store also had a bag of fox-parts that we could combine with a sweat suit.

Three down. One to go.

Jane was a little more difficult. She wouldn’t decide on what to be and two days before the event decided that she wanted to go as a goat. She wants to be a veterinarian. She loves farm animals and goats especially. I can understand this outfit from start to finish but the problem is that being a goat is a really unique idea. There aren’t standard costumes. Probably because anyone described synonymously with a goat is either an old-goat or a horny-goat or both. Regardless, I value my children’s dreams and aspirations. A goat you shall be!

We went to the store a day before Halloween and found the scattered remains of various costumes. Walmart had grossly miscalculated the number of children who wanted to be ninja turtles. Anything resembling a goat was gone. I begged and reasoned with Jane to just choose something generic. The whole point is to get candy. It is like a bank robbery. The teller at the window doesn’t care if your plastic mask is President Nixon or President Reagan, they just want you to stop pointing your gun at them so they give you the money and you leave. The whole point is that you are hiding your identity and threatening the homeowner with mischief if they don’t pay you off with candy. Who cares.

She deflected my words with indifference. We walked Walmart twice while she pondered different combinations of things that might make her appear goat-like. She salvaged some red devil horns and a plain white shirt. She told herself that her outfit was Aires, the ram. I give her credit for knowing that Aires is a ram and for knowing some astrology. We bought the few items and returned home.

On Halloween night everyone was dressed and ready to go and Jane was deliberating over her costume. Something was off. Something needed to be added. The outfit looked like a backup dancer in a ballet put on a set of red horns. It didn’t scream “Aires the ram is here for your candy!” so she decided to face-paint the symbol for Aires on her forehead. So we did.


The real tragedy of Jane’s outfit is that no one is familiar enough with astrological signs or subtlety to glean the fact she was a goat. Instead, their minds probably drifted towards member-of-a-satanic-cult. Not exactly what she was going for and that fault rests squarely on my shoulders. I should have provided for a better goat. We can’t be too disappointed because we did get lots of candy and that is what really matters.

This Halloween was the first one where all of the kids could run together from house to house without an adult walking along beside them and picking up shoes or dropped buckets. It was another quiet milestone that passed on the wind. They all waited for each other to gather on the doorsteps before ringing the doorbell, they watched out for one another, and they always said thank you to the people who handed out candy. I’m pretty proud of them and the people they are becoming.

I am also proud of my wife. One day while at work I got this text.


Then a few days later I came home to this gem.


I have a real appreciation for the unusual things and I think I have rubbed off on her. This Kleenex butthole cat is everything I thought it could be.  His posture. His look of fearful concern, like you have cornered him and are stealing the tissue against his will. He is a perfect new member of the family.


Looking at a small sticker on the bottom that boasts “Made In China”, I couldn’t help but wonder. What does the factory worker who casts these things all day think of Americans and the kinky shit we buy?


This was one too many on the cat pictures. I apologize. It is just hilarious to me. 

What does that production meeting sound like? “Okay folks, we got another order for 10,000 plaster cats with the tissue-port assholes. I need everyone to stay late tonight to make sure this order gets out the door. Frank… make sure you paint the eyes on straight this time. I bought 500 cross-eyed tabbies back from North Dakota last week. We don’t have the budget for your bullshit. Eric… don’t send any out with broken tails. I know you have been boxing them up like that. People notice and it has your sticker on the bottom.” (For the record, I don’t think that Frank and Eric are traditional Chinese names but anything else would have sounded offensive.)

Also, a quick safety warning about Ring-Pops. If they melt inside the package and re-harden in the corner then it becomes a Ring-Stab.


If you enjoy our normal weirdness then this post is for you. You’re welcome.

-Underdaddy to the rescue.

Phantom Disguises

The nature of Halloween costumes has evolved over the last thirty years. There is this whole movement to sexy everything as a costume. I seem to remember that costumes were actually really basic plastic hospital gowns with plastic masks held on by elastic bands. They were colored like popular characters from Sesame Street and things like that. Cookie Monster. Oscar the Grouch. Exciting stuff. What kid didn’t want to be Oscar the Grouch? Adults had Halloween parties and dressed like doctors and nurses, witches, or vampires. Meanwhile, I almost suffocated behind a mask as a three/four year old Oscar-the-Grouch. It was a thermoplastic shell with unreasonably sharp edges at the eye and mouth holes. Nothing like the photo below.

How does this relate to Sesame Street? I guess Oscar was popping out of a can?

How does this relate to Sesame Street? I guess Oscar was popping out of a can?

The outfit was educational and not because it was from Sesame Street. I did learn that sticking your tongue out of the face breathing hole is a trap much like the frozen flagpole dare in “Christmas Story”. I remember the sudden panic of my outstretched tongue being pinched and stuck through the front of my mask. I couldn’t tell anyone. All I could say is, “UUUUUHHHHH”. Oscar the Grouch sticking his tongue out isn’t actually very strange so my panic went unnoticed. Stupid plastic masks. I was at a daycare and at least 3 years old which means it had to be fairly traumatic to be saved as a memory. The class did a trick-or-treat at the college campus (daycare was for students with kids) and the only thing I remember putting in my goodie bag was a bunch of seed balls from Cypress trees. Sounds like a three year old thing to do doesn’t it.

In the following years I can only assume that my mother felt guilt or despair at having to purchase such simple and physically dangerous costumes. She decided to break out a sewing machine and some patterns to make some good old-fashioned costumes. I got a fully tailored Devil outfit that was slightly large on me but I was assured that I could wear it again next year. She was right, I wore it the next four years in a row. Good thing it came with a plastic pitchfork so I could distract myself by poking things.

I may have looked like this during the fourth year of use of the devil costume. Just because of the length. And I looked good in heels. Do you guys even read the captions? You better work on it if you are going to claim to just like the articles in Playboy.

I may have looked like this during the fourth year of use of the devil costume. Just because of the length. And I looked good in heels. Do you guys even read the captions? You better work on it if you are going to claim to just like the articles in Playboy.

My cousin joined us for Halloween that first year and he had an authentic football player costume. He played football and it was his actual gear so I don’t know the rules; Is that authentic or just not undressing after practice?

Once again, somewhat off the mark if we are judging accuracy. I'm not but you may be.

Once again, somewhat off the mark if we are judging accuracy. I’m not but you may be.

My sister was a ghost/modified bed sheet. Maybe the toil of the first costume put an end to my mother’s ambition. I can empathize because I tried to sew a button back onto some of my fat pants one day and even though the button was repaired the fabric was blood stained afterwards and I still threw them away. I can’t imagine trying to do an entire outfit. She even has all of her fingers. That woman is a saint.

World's hardest costume, a.k.a. phoning it in.

World’s hardest costume, a.k.a. phoning it in.

Back to my sister as a ghost. Maybe she was a possessed mattress peering out of the sheet? These costumes came down to first-world poverty problems. They got the job done and we all knew the day was about candy, not the costume. There were no selfies or judgment on facebook, with any luck no one would see you anyway.

My parents were divorced and remarried by the time I was four so during the memorable “tricking” years I had alternating arrangements. Some years with my dad, I had a vampire costume that was hair gel with some teeth and a cape. Not bad. That costume was totally re-usable too. All I remember about that getup was the face paint drying and wanting to pick every inch of skin off my face. I was starting to think that Halloween wasn’t actually for children. If only someone would mass market affordable and interesting costumes.

Somewhere around the internet explosion (The Great De-lightening), costume stores became mainstream pop culture and the opportunities for self-expression really grew, if you could afford them. Women can suddenly be anything they want; Sexy Witch, Sexy Cat, Sexy Cop, Sexy Zombie, Sexy Maid, Sexy…. You get the idea. Men are still limited to the traditional male roles because adding “Sexy” to a man’s Frankenstein costume is kinda creepy.

I’m not a fan of barriers so I think I went to a work costume party in college dressed as the sexy witch with really hairy legs and a little trouble with the corset. It was so offensive that I won the scariest costume award. The runner-up, we thought, was a guy from the kitchen that had dressed like a homeless man, his sign was super authentic. He drank half of the keg at the party and we later realized that he actually was homeless and that it was rude to give him second place. He put a lot more into his costume than I did. Thanks for bursting my bubble homeless dude.

I did not achieve this level of "hot", I think it was my short hair.

I did not achieve this level of “hot”, I think it was my short hair.

Wal-Mart spotted this great rebirth of dress up and has selected a set of costumes at a reasonable price that are so perfectly marketed to reach middle and lower class families that it is hard to consider being anything other than something that Wal-Mart carries. It is the Old Navy of Halloween costumes. They seem trendy but in fact, everyone has them. I know at least one of the people reading this have seen someone in public wearing a shirt that you also just purchased from Old Navy.

Since we had our first child, Supermom has maintained a resolve to create original costumes based on characters the girls enjoyed at the time. My wife is a true talent in all things crafty and requiring attention to instructions. (Thank you Pintrest for challenging her to learn new hobbies) She started with Halloween costumes and birthday cakes and can now do embroidery and has a busy custom cake business. She inspires me to want to learn more but alas, I have only gotten more useless and now I have a blog sharing our weaker moments as a family. She wins the points in this round…. And still I type.

Our goal in early years of Halloween was to make the kids look hilarious while we laughed at things they did for the rest of the night. [Giant plush chicken]+ [a kid who could barely move] = super cute. Put one in a dog costume with a tail that wags as they crawl = priceless. That is sooo easy. The good thing about toddlers is that almost every costume will work. They are already cute. This stage didn’t last long.

Next phase was selecting actual children’s characters and tracing down all the details and correct color placement. Patterns, research, basically constructing a costume to the “Hollywood Stunt Double” level of complete. The downside of this is that children may change their mind a week before Halloween and you end up with crying, over an awesome cowgirl outfit.

Waaaahhh This is too authentic! They are going to send me to a toy museum! Nooooo.

Waaaahhh This is too authentic! They are going to send me to a toy museum! Nooooo.

With a large group of kids the costume undertaking is becoming more themed and intricate. This year the aim is to include all six of us as a coherent costume group. This should be good. I’m not too worried because I have four years of [Baptist Interpretation of the Devil] + one year [Cross-dressing Sexy Witch] on my Halloween resume. I sold my shame for Doritos in sixth grade. Bring it on.

If you approach costumes with a “good enough” mindset. This post is for you. You are exactly right. It is all about the candy. You’re welcome.

Underdaddy to the rescue.