Kids Don't Get It: Old-School Costumes Rule!
My mom says you always knew when it was Halloween because she'd be at the grocery store getting cardboard boxes. We made our costumes. I remember one Halloween I was a box of Tide. My sister was an envelope and my other sister was a mailbox. Three sisters stuffed inside three giant boxes - a boxed set. The only place we could all stand together was in our carport. And Trick or Treating we had to waddle up to the door one at a time, while the other two stood at the bottom of the steps, ready to break the fall. I miss those days. Kids don't make their costumes anymore. And the costumes they buy are all based on TV and movies. In the last three years, my son has been Buzz Lightyear, Flash Gordon, and Anakin Skywalker. And this year he'll be a Ninja. I just want to make him a really cool costume. Like a racecar driver, sitting in a big cardboard box, painted like a car. Or Captain Hook, with an iron hanger for a hand, sitting in a big cardboard box, painted like a ship. But he won't do it. The kid, who for years, would only play with the boxes instead of the toys that came in them, won't even consider wearing one for Halloween. I don't get it. And I don't understand why kids don't dress like fairytale characters. I would be Tinker Bell in a skinny minute. But you never see Peter Pan, or Pinocchio, or any of the Seven Dwarves. I did see a good one last year, when a neighbor dressed as The Big Bad Wolf with his daughter as Little Red Riding Hood. But she got scared of him and he had to take off the ears, the paws and the tail. Then he was just a guy in an apron. Bummer. Adults are more clever. I used to work at CNN and costume parties were full of topical news figures. One year in the midst of the Clarence Thomas hearings, I actually went as Anita Hill. A little make-up, a nice suit, and a bunch of 'ban sexual harassment' flyers and I was good to go. Couples are practically unbeatable with their ideas. My aunt wore a baggy robe, rollers in her hair, and cold cream on her face, and went as her husband's FIRST wife. And my favorite - the couple that went as 'Extreme Makeover.' The husband went as the 'before' - a woman with frizzy hair, buck teeth and super sized chest and hips. And the wife was the 'after' - a perfectly nip tucked and quaffed made over beauty. Classic. But here I am pulling out Buzz, Flash and Anakin for my youngest as my oldest begs for costume accessories like the Ninja Backpack that includes 2 plastic swords. Are you sure you don't want to be a box of Tide? No? Okay, well you can be an Ancient Dynasty Ninja, but I'm making the swords out of cardboard. So there. It's a wash. Tracy Curtis writes a weekly humor column for The Charlotte Observer. You can read her columns every Sunday.