A few days ago I was looking through Halloween costume ideas online. Not exactly sure why I was doing this given the fact that our boys made us buy their costumes about a month ago when the Halloween costume stores began popping up in previously abandoned retail spaces every five miles or so. Joe has his Captain America costume, a costume that fits his personality so well that I think he should wear it 24/7. It’s just my favorite thing ever. Joe is all about being an upright citizen, protecting the innocent, and keeping an eye out for the bad guys. Luke, on the other hand, is the bad guy. He picked an elaborate, black, ninja costume complete with face mask and two swords that attach to his costume in the back. He would also be carrying nunchucks and throwing stars if we let him, but we decided that was a bit more weaponry than is actually necessary to obtain a pillowcase full of free candy.
At any rate, during the course of my random costume search, I came across homemade costumes to match the Lego brand. Luke is a Lego fanatic, so I thought they might interest him. Against all greater wisdom, I showed him some of the costumes and told him that if he liked one maybe someday I could make him one…the operative word there was “someday” because he already had a costume and therefore didn’t need a new one. Then, last night, four nights after my original mention of the Lego costumes, Luke casually mentions that he’s excited to wear his Lego costume. What???? I froze.
“Luke, honey,” I said, “I thought you were excited to be a black ninja.”
“You said I could be a Lego dude,” he replied. “I like that better.”
“Ummmm….I didn’t mean for this Halloween, sweetie. Halloween is in a couple days. I’m not sure I can make a costume on such short notice,” I said.
His brow furrowed.
“Oh,” he said, clearly disappointed.
I sat there silently loathing myself for bringing it up when I knew there was no way I’d have the time, energy, or inclination to create a Lego minifigure costume with paper maché head in a two short days with oodles of other obligations in my way. That was a rookie parenting mistake. I knew better. Still, Luke looked sad. I hate that. So, you guessed it. I made rookie parenting mistake number two.
“Well…I might be able to make you a Lego brick costume,” I said. “I know it’s not a minifigure, but it would still be in the Lego theme,” I said with doubt in my voice. “Would you like that?” I asked.
“Yes. Definitely,” he said. Then, he added for punctuation, “Perfect.” It was a done deal.
“Okay,” I replied. “If I can find the materials and if I can find the time, I will do that for you.”
So, this morning after I dropped the boys at school, I got to work. An employee at Joann’s was emptying out a box of freight on the sales floor. From half a store away, it sure looked like exactly what I needed. I swooped closer, stealthily eyeing it from an aisle away and sizing it up before approaching the employee and asking if she’d be willing to give it to me. She did. First task completed and for free. After that, I was off to Michael’s for blue, satin-finish spray paint. My last stop was Hobby Lobby, where I found the round boxes I would need. Roughly $37 in supplies, and I was ready to assemble.
At home, I pulled out my ruler, a pencil, some big scissors (although a box cutter would have been much nicer), and my trusty glue gun. When I bought that stupid thing, I had no idea why I would ever need it. It was on sale and someone had told me once that everyone should have one, so I bought it. I have since come to a great appreciation for the beauty of the hot glue gun. It helped me put together a burlesque costume, adhere badges to a Cub Scout uniform, and patch together several book report projects. There’s nothing like the smell of hot glue in the morning. I fired that thing up and in less than an hour of measuring, cutting, taping, tracing, and gluing, had the whole costume assembled and ready to paint. Two cans of spray paint later and she was done. Is it perfect? According to my perfectionist mind…no. There are things about it I would do differently if I had another $40 in supplies and a couple more days to fiddle around with it. But, I don’t, and it’s definitely workable as is.
When Luke walked into the house and saw it, I realized why I had my moment of weakness and made my rookie mistake. My mom sewed our Halloween costumes. I used to think she did it because she was trying to save money. After today, though, I no longer think that. When you make something for your child and you see their face light up when they see it, for just a minute you almost feel like Superman. For a split second, they know you’re amazing. And, as cool as that is, you know that somewhere in the deepest recesses of their minds, they not only know that you are amazing but also that they are cherished and important. And, that’s way cooler.