I have a new admiration for Halloween. Of course, there is a lot to love about it - well, at least there is the whole candy thing. This year, though, I have a new appreciation for the simplicity of this holiday.
Halloween doesn't come with complicated back stories, like Christmas does - I don't have to muddle through difficult questions about how Santa really gets to all those houses in one night, how he fits down the chimney, or whether or not Elves know how to make Nintendo DS cartridges.
It doesn't have the logistical issues of Thanksgiving - travel plans, who is going where and when, congested highways full of grumpy travelers.
It isn't even all that over-commercialized. It seems like the great Merchandisers in the Sky already have their sights set on December when Halloween rolls around.
Halloween is straightforward: get yourself a costume, go around knocking on doors, come home with a bagful of candy. End of story. Right?
This year, Greta stayed true to her original idea of wanting to be a black cat for Halloween. Finn wanted to be a ghost, then Indiana Jones, then a dog, and then a cowboy... before settling on the idea of being a dragon. I sighed in relief - we inherited a perfect hand-me-down dragon costume from my sister-in-law a couple of years ago, so he was all set. For the past two days he babbled happily to anyone who stood still long enough to listen that he was going to be a "fyah bweathing dwagon". I didn't give his costume another thought.... until this morning, that is, when we were suiting up to head out to a daytime Halloween party.
Greta was good to go - we had assembled her costume days ago. She wore it around the house almost non-stop for the past four days.
"Go and grab your dragon costume, Finn," I said moments before we had to head out the door. It is one of the fleece costumes you just step into and zipper up. No mess, no fuss.
A few moments later he wanders into the room with a puzzled expression. "It's not where it's 'posed to be," he says.
I stride confidently over to the costume drawer, certain he has missed it. Not there. I burrow through the playroom, the kids room, and every closet. No dragon costume. I'm pawing through boxes in the basement when it hits me... an image of me angrily stuffing the costume into a bag bound for Goodwill after the umpteenth time I tripped over it lying on the floor.
Finn has no costume.
By now he is looking up at me with a furrowed brow. "You have my costume, right Momma?" he pleads. His eyes are huge. "I weally, weally want to be a fyah bweathing dwagon!"
I'm frozen on the spot.
"Uh.... er.... ummmm." I stutter.
Greta looks at me uncertainly. "You do have his costume, right Mom?"
"Well, no. No, actually I don't," I begin. I'm at a complete loss for words. One big fat tear rolls down Finn's cheek.
Greta gives me a pointed look, and rummages through the costume drawer. She emerges with a Scooby Doo costume - another hand-me-down.
"LOOK, Finn!" she says. "It's Scooby Doo!"
Finn sniffs. "It's not a fyah bweathing dwagon," he says, looking at the floor. "I don't wanna be Scooby Doo."
I'm still standing there like a deer in headlights. Greta says, "Well, the Scooby Doo costume is for big boys. I don't know if you're old enough to wear it yet."
Finn perks right up. "YES I AM!" he shouts. "I wanna be Scooby Doo!!!!"
We zip him into the costume, and he struts around proudly. I pull Greta aside and give her a hug. "You are the best big sister, hon. Thank you."
She grins. "I know."
Sometimes, they fight like cats and dogs. Today? Not so much.