When I was growing up every single kid I knew made their Halloween costumes. I don't remember ever seeing a store-bought one. What would have been the fun of that? I can't remember that anyone was ever anything much besides a ghost or hobo or princess as our materials were limited to the linen closet and our parents' closet. Sometimes we took paper grocery sacks and came up with stuff, but the big deal wasn't really the costume - it was the C.A.N.D.Y. We grabbed our empty pillow cases and spread out over the neighborhood in what must have looked to the neighbors like swarms of termites or locusts. Candy apples, popcorn balls, and candy bars galore, and nobody had to worry if it had a wrapper on it or not. When the neighbors ran out of candy and started turning out their porch lights, we'd head home, where we'd dump our loot all over the living room and start the trading. One butterfinger for two snickers, etc. And we'd crawl into our beds with unbrushed teeth and stomachs sick with sugar.
Then I grew up, and it was my turn to make memories for someone else. Here, a smattering of costumes and memories over the past 38 years:
We started celebrating Halloween in 1977 and the last dressed up kid at our house was in 2001. I'm pretty sure that's the year Dan (no longer Danny) went with all his football and basketball buddies, dressed up as ghoulish characters of their own creation. 24 years of making memories with our kids. Certainly during those years sometimes it was a stretch to find time, energy, money, enthusiasm for all of it, but now that we're at the stage of looking back, I don't regret a single bit of it. Tomorrow night Miss Lily is wearing her pink polka dotted swimsuit and I'm wearing my pink Hello Kitty costume to answer the door, then Dan, Janae, 5 year old JaeBeth and 4 year old Daniel (both dressing as doctors I hear), will come over to watch The Great Pumpkin and eat frito pie, a newish family tradition on Halloween night, and see what Papa and Grammy have for their buckets.
Take the time to make the memory; they aren't little for very long. You'll be looking back on it all before you know it, wishing you could have your kitchen table covered in newspaper and pumpkin guts for just one more night, surrounded by a bunch of skinny legged, excited kids!