By the time the kids were three, I was gearing up again to do elaborate things for Halloween. After all, we’d successfully completed the two previous Halloweens to glorious acclaim.
My childhood friend, Corilee, was visiting from Oklahoma in August that year and we got to talking about what I was planning for costumes. I had a few ideas, but wasn’t certain yet. One idea, for a Hey Diddle Diddle theme, was more expensive than I thought I could swing. It would require fake fur and that wasn’t cheap. Corilee urged me to do it, just go ahead and do it, so I gave in and we went to a fabric store. Once I’d decided and accepted I was going to spend a little money, it was fun to explore the possibilities and really get creative.
This time, I bought costume patterns, something I hadn’t used in previous years. What a luxury. I was living large! As the creative juices flowed, I remembered seeing some rubber animal noses on strings somewhere to wear like masks, so the search was on for cow, dog, and cat noses. And from work, Jason got some animal noise makers—little electronic boxes that are put inside stuffed animals to make them moo or bark when you squeeze them—so we had cow moos for our Cow Jumping Over the Moon (Pierce). The noise makers reminded me of a “bag of laughter” a friend had when I was a kid. Our Little Dog That Laughed (Molly) needed one of those. So I ordered one online. You squeeze the drawstring bag and a guy’s voice laughs for a few seconds. After the whole thing was over, I thought the sound was a little creepy, but it was fun in the meantime. We had a tiny violin for our Cat and the Fiddle (Charlie). So all we needed was the recalcitrant Dish and its Spoon. No one had a pattern for this one, so I had to make it up.
I used white vinyl to make the dish, putting two layers together for Spencer to get inside. Somehow I missed getting a picture of the back, but it had a “foot” to duplicate the round raised edge on the bottom of a bowl where it rests on a surface, and also it had a Currier & Ives china logo. The front had a cabin in the woods scene, a design I’d grown up with on my mom’s blue and white china set that we used on cold winter days for chili.
Creating the spoon employed all the skills I’d learned making my spoon for my Haggen-Dazs costume a few years before. It took a lot of paper maché and silver spray paint. For the face hole, I lined the vinyl with cuff ribbing, so it would be comfortable around his face.
On the days before Halloween, the kids often wore some or all of their costumes, testing them out and enjoying dressing up. I liked that they got more use out of them than just one night. I also liked that they were much thicker than previous costumes, because Halloween nights could be pretty cold. After going around to all the stores in the mall Halloween night, and visiting our list of friends who needed to see the kids dressed up, we went to a Halloween party at church and the kids won first place in the costume contest. So along with that award, I award Hey Diddle Diddle with the #6 slot of my Halloween Countdown. For the contest at church, the kids were awarded a cake for a prize. But I didn’t let them eat much of it because sugar wasn’t in their diet. We also did a swap for all the candy they got. Candy wasn’t in their diet either. They traded it for toys and stickers. Maybe that’s mean, after all the trouble they’d gone to going up to strangers, holding out a bag, and begging for sweets. But that’s just how we did it. It wasn’t about the candy anyway. It was about dressing up and sharing the fun with others.
And besides, sugar WAS in my diet, so when we traded candy for stickers, at least I was there to make sure the candy didn’t go to waste. At least the chocolate kind. The Smarties and Jolly Ranchers all went to work with Jason the next day, and nobody there minded.
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