It was always a little hard to decide who would be what for Halloween. I wanted each child to be happy with their character and to not feel slighted in any way. We weren’t a family that put emphasis on one type of person being more important and inherently better than another.
For example, people who got As in school were not better than people who got Cs; they just had strengths that were different. People who won weren’t better than people who did not win. “It is what it is” worked for us. Self worth wasn’t derived by circumstances. So when it came time to divvy up roles, everyone was as important as the other and I put as much creativity into each costume as I could. Still, there were inequities. In 1997, poor Pierce could barely see at times out of his whale. And let’s be honest; it’s a little harder to act out story lines as a whale than a little boy or over-sized cricket. And another year (which I’ll get to tomorrow) his head piece sometimes slipped and he wasn’t as comfortable as he could have been, and what he was didn’t have as big as a role as his siblings. So I owed him after this. I owed him big time. (And you’ll find out how I rewarded his good attitude and patience in two days!)
Halloween 1997—my Number Three pick—was very fun for me, and maybe even a little fun for the kids. I don’t remember how we assigned parts, but Charlie might have gotten Jiminy Cricket simply because he was green. Spencer was Pinocchio because someone had to be him. I might have just thrown out ideas and see where they stuck. Or I had assignments and the first child I saw, I tagged with the first character on my list. For Molly it was pretty easy to decide. Just as we knew she’d be Dorothy (although if you remember, she wasn’t necessarily a shoe-in for Goldilocks), the Blue Fairy was Molly’s. Though at four, the kids might not have been able to appreciate the literary symbolism of Monstro the Whale, but now I certainly realize it was a perfect choice for Pierce, who would one day teach literary symbolism to his students. Monstro alludes to Jonah’s fish, as well as Moby Dick. No doubt we were planting seeds in Pierce’s psyche for future use.
Because Spencer would be playing Pinocchio pre-conversion from the help of the Blue Fairy, he was made of wood. I made him leg and arm covers that were square to give the appearance of blocky limbs. Plus it helped to keep him warm during cold trick-or-treating. All their costumes were made again without patterns and using cheap scraps or what I found in my fabric bin, including even things like their gloves and Jiminy’s umbrella. There were a few things I had to purchase, but gone was the extravagance of the previous year when I bought fake fur with abandon. I shopped carefully to find inexpensive vinyl for Monstro and his special stuffed animal eyeballs, and huge buttons for Pinocchio’s and Jiminy’s clothes. Our windfall was that my sister worked for a tuxedo shop at the time, so her boss let us borrow a Size 5 tailcoat for Charlie to wear. Halloween night when we went over to my parents’, my dad was on the way to work (playing in the symphony) so he had his tailcoat on too. It was fun for Charlie to be dressed like Grandpa. Also at my parents, we figured out it was going to be darn cold, so we borrowed a turtleneck from Emily, a friend next door, so Molly wouldn’t freeze to death as we went out and begged candy from the neighbors.
Monstro came out more like Shamu, but that was fine because we didn’t like scary whales. In fact, I didn’t even let them watch the entire movie of Pinocchio because it was too intense. They got to see little sections, enough to let them know what their crazy mama was dressing them up as.
Neenee’s friend Joanne came from New York to join us (really, that was the sole reason she flew out) and go trick-or-treating with the kids. She was Figaro, Geppetto’s pet cat.
So for my Number Three choice, the Oscar goes to 1997, our year of Pinocchio. Everyone seemed to have a good time. You might notice that even Charlie was smiling.
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