The kids’ very first Halloween was a simple affair. I didn’t know what was ahead or what it would inspire. They had four matching union suits with stripes that were a little like old fashioned prison suits. I thought we could just put them on and say they were convicts and let it go at that.
But then my brain started up and creative additions to their look starting rushing in.
If they were convicts in old fashioned prisons suits, than what could make them look more like convicts than balls and chains? But of course they had to be light and easy to get and cheap. At the hardware store I found plastic chain by the foot. For just a couple of dollars—which was already over my costume budget—I could buy their chains. To get the balls, I needed something light and, again, cheap. Balloons! But, they had to be round. Balls with chains are never oblong. So the choice of balloons was very important. And they had to be black, which wasn’t as easy to find as it might sound. Fortunately, I did find a small bag of round, black ones for “pennies” in a discount store. (That saying needs to be updated. Nothing is for pennies anymore.)
Then of course, I needed setting. What do convicts do, especially when it’s Halloween and Mom is taking pictures? Mug shots! We needed a lineup. Computer paper was easy to get and use for the background, and already in the house. So was the marker. And with four perps to participate, a lineup was perfect. Well, almost. They all couldn’t stand up yet. In fact, Spencer couldn’t even sit up. So we had to prop him between or against his siblings, hope he didn’t wiggle and knock himself over, and get a really fast shot of the four. But then Pierce kept eating his placard with his ID number on it. So some of the time we just took those out. But we still got some pictures. I turned them sepia in keeping with the antiqued theme.
Little did I know that this would be the start of a years-long tradition of imposing my creative whims on my children. But I’m glad I did it, because over the years, we had a lot of fun and got to share our experiences with many people. Every year we had a list of houses to go visit all over town so our friends could share the holiday with us. Some even came with us trick-or-treating. So for the Number 8 position, where it all began, the Four Chain Gang Convicts win the prize. And I hereby Pardon them and Reprieve their sentence from all future imposition from their mother on Halloween. Oh wait. I’m still holding out for that Goldilocks and the Three Bears…
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