Friday, October 21, 2011

You don't scare me!

I love Halloween. Seriously, I love it. Taking on a new persona for a day. Planning a costume for months. Making creepy decorations. Transforming my home into a spooky scene. And let us not forget the chocolate!

When I had my daughter, Caitie, I made her the cutest darn Winnie-the-Pooh costume for her first Halloween. Oddly enough -- what with nursing constantly, changing a neverending stream of diapers and constant sleep deprivation -- I didn't get much time to decorate. But I did (re)discover the cute in Halloween. All was well.

That was, until the following year. Caitie was about a year and half old. As she played in the leaves, I decorate the outside of the house with my standard grim reaper and giant spider. The problem was when she stopped playing in the leaves and saw my morbid creation... and burst into hysterical tears. Clearly, Caitie did not enjoy the dark side of Halloween.

My reaper and spider were sent to languish sadly in the garage. And we went off to the local department store for some happier decorations. Caitie chose colorful, smiling, corn-husked scarecrows. Happy and cheerful. Not my vision of Halloween, but what can you do?

So, for years my yard has been a haven for wrangly, dangly scarecrows. The collection has grown, because I can't help but throw myself into anything Halloween. On top of that, I have made pretty fairy and princess costumes by the ton. The glitter. The rhinestones. The pink tulle. It may not be a horror show, but Caitie -- and her little sister, Gwen -- understood the most fun premise of Halloween. It's your opportunity to transform. And eat chocolate.

Last year, something odd began to happen. You see, Gwen is not Caitie. (Kids have a weird way of becoming individuals.) Gwen fell in love with the movie "The Nightmare Before Chirstmas." Gwen likes spooky. She likes scary. She LIKES grim reaper decorations! Granted she still wanted to dress up as a fairy, because that's what her older sister was doing, but a shift was certainly happening. Scarecrows beware!

Which brings us to 2011. Gwen is helping me make a scary mummy costume to wear this year. Caitie actually wants scary decorations. They want a jack-o-lantern with the face of a wicked witch. Suddenly, we all agree on Halloween! I can pull Ole' Grim out of the garage! Oh glorious day!

Then my mommy brain stepped up, late one night. She had noticed that my girls, Caitie especially, were growing up. Caitie now had bigger fears than plastic spiders. Real fears. Fears of fitting in. Fears of doing well at school and remembering all her lines for her play. Fears of being pretty enough, or smart enough, or both. I can calm many of those fears and help her learn to process them, face them, overcome them. But they are real. The transformation from toddler to big kid is real.

Soon she won't want to trick or treat with me anymore. She'll want to be with her friends. She won't want me to make her costume with her. She'll just do it on her own. Or buy one at Party City. And soon, far too soon, she'll want to skip Halloween all together, because it's not "cool."

So this year, I still put out my scarecrows, right along side the reaper and the spider. I'm trying to squeeze every moment of Halloween fun from the end of the month. Time is precious. Time with my girls is my harvest. And those scarecrows remind me of how quickly childhood can pass.

I think it's time to build some new scarecrows of our own. Of course we can take out some old clothes and stuff them. I've found that grocery bags filled with newspaper and attached to a frame of 1x2 wood with duct tape works well, and is easy to recycle later. For inside I want to make miniature versions. Since I always seem to have popsicle sticks and leftover fabric around, I think I'll try this Wee Scarecrow Craft from

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