This year the girls wanted Pokemon costumes. The idea was partly fuelled by their obsession with watching Pokemon on Netflix, and partly by the fact that they had seen a “make your own Pikachu costume” section in their Chirp magazine. The 5 year old brought September’s magazine to me, folded carefully open to display the magazine’s idea for a Pikachu costume. “This is what I want to be for Halloween. I am very VERY good at pretending to be Pikachu, you know.” Oh yes, having heard her make bleating peeka-peeka-pik-a-chu type noises, with varying degrees of urgency, for hours on end while playing make believe, I was well aware of her capabilities. Like I said, Pokemon cartoon obsession. Got to watch ’em all. Got to watch ’em all.
I eyed the spread out magazine page and saw a little kid in a Pikachu costume made out of a yellow hoodie. “Sure you can be Pikachu for Halloween. Mommy just needs to find a yellow hoodie, and sew on some ears, maybe make you a tail, and we’ll paint your nose and you’ll be good to go.” Well, that should be easy enough, I thought.
The big kid perked up when she noticed we were talking costumes. Brandishing a cheap plastic tiara she had scored out of the “treasure”chest at a local restaurant she enthusiastically told me, “I want to be Glinda, you know, from Oz, and I want to wear this.” I had visions of pink fru-fru dresses and cringed. At this point, she had already broken the wand that came with it, and I suspected the crown wouldn’t make it to the end of the week. Batting the brittle piece of fake silver and jewels out of my face I said, “Hey what about Ash? Your sister’s being Pikachu…” Her eyes lit up with excitement. “Ash, yeah! I could be Ash! Except…” her tone of excitement abruptly dropped off and her shoulders slumped, “…Ash is a boy.”
We talked back and forth for a while and I eventually convinced the big kid that she could be a male character on Halloween. At one point she suggested that maybe she could be Glinda the Pokemon Trainer. I told her that she could be Glinda OR Ash, but not both, as no one would be able to figure out what the heck she was. Given the choice between the two, she said she’d rather be Ash. Whew. Great. This should be easy. I already had Pokeballs stored away with the vintage toys in the basement, so we would just need a red ball cap, some sort of jacket and a pair of jeans, and with Pikachu in tow she should be recognizable as Ash. Done. Easy.
|In case you somehow didn’t know what they looked like, here’s Ash and his Pikachu.|
I was a lady with a plan. Yellow hoodie. Red ball cap. No problems. Except finding a solid yellow hoodie proved to be troublesome. It turns out that sunshine yellow isn’t a really popular fall time colour in the kids’ clothes department. Heck forget hoodies, I couldn’t even find a long sleeve shirt in shade “Pikachu”. I searched online at a few places that sell kids’ clothes and came up empty handed.
So I enlisted my mom’s help. “Yellow hoodie? No problem that should be easy. I’ll pick one up for you while I’m out this weekend.” No big deal. Easy. We’d find it in time for Halloween. Except it turned out that there were no yellow hoodies to be found, not at the resale shop or the thrift store, not at Walmart or the kid’s clothing store, not anywhere. Yellow hoodies proved to be much like Pikachu himself, mythical, rare and elusive. I didn’t even bother starting the red ball cap hunt. What was the point? With no yellow Pikachu who the heck would guess the girl in the red ball cap was supposed to be Ash?
My mom mentioned that she had seen lots of nice premade costumes while she’d been out hunting for that stupid yellow hoodie. She suggested that she take the girls out shopping and have them pick out costumes. At first, I was appalled at the idea of my kids having store bought costumes. My hesitation lay somewhere in between those cheesy sheet plastic outfits with the masks you couldn’t actually see through, which I remembered from my childhood, and the “sexy” girls’ and tweens’ costumes which I had seen online. I had visions of pink pirates with faux bustiers and monsters with short tulle skirts. Yuck. No way.
My mom agreed that cops in short skirts and pretty much anything with a tutu was off the shopping list. She assured me that she had seen tons of really nice, high quality, costumes at Winners the other day. So we packed up the kids and went for a ride, on what might as well have been the night before Halloween. True, trick or treating was still almost a week away, but the following day was going to be their costume party at Scouts. By this point, my costuming plans had dropped to either cutting holes in bedsheets, or letting the girls wear anything out of the play clothes bin. I figure it couldn’t hurt to go see what they had at the store. Which was NOTHING. The place was ravaged. Apparently, since my mom had been in there, a mere two days before, the entire city had stopped by to pick up costumes for their kids. What was left was a bunch of weird lacy white ghost outfits, complete with, you guessed it, tulle skirts, and infant sized bumblebee costumes.
We ended up visiting every Marshalls and Winners in the city. Each one had sad dregs of costumes left, a torn Frozen outfit, a lone camouflaged army uniform sticking out like a sore thumb in a sea of yellow and white tulle. At one place we found a really nice Dracula outfit, black velvet cape, red silk waistcoat, but it was too small for the big kid, and the little one refused to wear it. Panic was starting to set in, when we finally lucked out. At Marshalls we found a pink velvet princess dress hanging on the discount rack. It was a size 12, far too big for either of my girls, but it was all they had, and we were starting to feel pretty desperate so I had the 8 year old try it on over her clothes. Shockingly, it worked. The sleeves were a tiny bit long, and if I didn’t hem the skirt my kid would likely die while attempting to climb porch steps on Halloween night, but it worked. Also, the price tag had been marked down multiple times and now read $9. Holy cow. Okay, I am a lousy seamstress. But let’s suppose I could somehow magically make my daughter a velvety princess gown. There is no way I could do that for $9! This thing was all velvet and silk, and plastic pearls and fake gemstones. It even had crinolines and hoopskirts. My eldest twirled and jumped with delight once we realized it would fit her, squealing “It’s my Glinda dress!”
One more stop. Having been to every other Winners in the city, this was our last chance to find something for the five year old. We were happily surprised to find a miniature black version of big sister’s princess gown (again super marked down, though seriously at this point I would have paid anything). It fit my youngest perfectly and she wanted to wear it. Yay. Success. Her Oz loving older sister was excited, “I’m going to be a good witch, and you can be a bad witch! I’ll be the witch of the North and you be the witch of the East!”
|My girls showing off their costumes on a pre-Scouts party run to Boston Pizza.|
On the ride home, her grandmother and I explained approximately forty-two million times that it was extremely unlikely that anyone would recognize that she was Glinda, and that they would probably just think she was a regular old princess, but my girl wasn’t to be deterred. Complete with the chintzy plastic tiara which was somehow miraculously still in one piece, she *felt* like Glinda, and that’s all that mattered. “People can think I’m a princess. That’s okay. I’ll know I’m Glinda.”
Meanwhile, the little one had come to the conclusion that she would dress like a princess but she would still really be Pikachu. “You can paint a nose on my face. I can be Pikachu in disguise as a princess. People will know I am Pikachu when I crawl on their porch like this, see, on all fours, and then I will say Pika-Pika a lot, and they’ll know.” Of course, big sister loved this idea. “Yes! And if you get me some pokeballs I can be Glinda the Pokemon trainer!”
Oh goodness, how the heck did I end up back here? I can just see it now, my daughters ring the bell and yell trick or treat. Some unsuspecting person opens their door to find one girl crawling around on all fours in a black velvet gown yelling “Pika-Pika-chu-chu” at the top of her lungs, while the other one stands there waving a tinfoil wand with a pokeball at the end of it. “Oh… look at you sweetie. Aren’t you a cute little princess!” I know my girl, my chatty eight year old would get into a debate, “I’m not a princess, I’m a Pokemon trainer.” The lady at the door would raise an eyebrow at the weird kid crawling around on the porch in the background and then concentrate on the child in front of her, “Oh but I like your princess dress.” My little pink princess would say “It’s not a princess dress. It’s GLINDA’s dress.” and before the bewildered adult could get in another word she would add “But I’m also a pokemon trainer, see?” and shove a pokeball encrusted magic wand into the poor woman’s face. Hitching a thumb towards the smaller child now howling “chu-chu” enthusiastically she would say “That’s my little sister. She’s Pikachu, but in black, and a princess, because disguise, you know?” Best case scenario there wasn’t a pout and foot stomp thrown in there, best case scenario Pikachu didn’t just crawl off the edge of the porch and land in a bush, and perhaps our confused hostess even has time to shove some candy in my child’s pillowcase before the next group takes over the porch. Oh yeah, so not happening.
Not wanting to end up in a situation where my neighbours either end up thinking that I forced these poor kids to wear these poofy princess outfits when they really just wanted to be Pokemon, or else that my children are simply stark raving loons, I engaged in white lies and distraction. I pleaded ignorance to all Pokeball whereabouts. I got the big kid talking about what kind of tinfoil wand she’d like to make. Then rummaging in the closet I pulled out a crumpled witch hat which I had worn in past years and offered to loan it to the five year old. Beaming with pride she gladly promised to take good care of “mommy’s special hat.” The end result was two happy little girls in velvet princess gowns and hoopskirts who went off to their Scouts’ party gleefully proclaiming themselves to be “a good witch and a bad witch”.
Meanwhile, this mom is still fervently hoping come Saturday night the five year old will be too focused on holding her candy bag and yelling trick or treat to start howling “pika-pika”.
How about you guys? What are your little ones going as this year? Do they go for Halloween classics, or do they find their inspiration in books or from TV shows? Have any of your kids ever argued for wacky cross-breed ideas like what my Oz loving Pokemon obsessed daughter came up with?