Wednesday, October 31, 2012

A princess, a purple unicorn, and a knight in shining armor

She’s been a Halloween princess for three years running. First came the purple, butterfly-winged princess. Last year was the soft, silvery snow princess, which brought with it a Halloween snow storm. This year my 5-year-old daughter will be a straight-up princess in a midnight blue dress adorned with fluttery sleeves and plenty of woven golden bling – and a jewel headdress to boot. To a girl who loves to don anything sparkling and glittery, Halloween is a day of blissful dress up opportunity.

Trick-or-Treat! 2011
The dressing up, after all, is what makes Halloween a favorite for kids – and plenty of grown-ups, too. Sure, the candy is nice. But it really comes down to this being a day where anyone can dress up as just about anything, adopting an alternate persona with a wig, a costume, some stage makeup, whatever it takes.

I have never been one for configuring creative costume ideas. For the past two years I have simply, lazily slapped a witch’s hat atop my noggin and headed to the town’s short Halloween parade with my three Halloween kids in tow. With the exception of the year I joined forces with a few girlfriends to go out on the town of Crested Butte, Colorado, as the Spice Girls (I was a redhead back then and, therefore, Ginger Spice), my get-ups in that costume-loving town were pretty abysmal. Crested Butte loves a party, but it loves a costume party even more, to the point that residents have invented their own holidays, just to have an excuse to dress up. A plain old Halloween witch doesn’t cut it.

Anyway, these days my children, thankfully, seem to fall into their own identities as Halloween approaches. This year, the gilded princess will be joined by her little sister, the purple unicorn, and her twin brother, the knight-in-shining-armor. Magical all around.

The princess dress came from the grandmother who loves dress up as much as her grandkids do. That’s how the knight-in-shining-armor (he is not simply a “knight,” but demands the entire title) started, too, with a play sword and shield from Gaga’s collection. Alas, both of those developed cracks, and so a new, complete knight-in-shining-armor costume was ordered and will be on display on Halloween.

The purple unicorn was deeded to us as a hand-me-down from friends. Although it is about two sizes two small, it was an immediate favorite. The littlest one has worn it to preschool, the grocery store, the post office, and anywhere else she could find that needed a purple unicorn. It is named Uni and sleeps tucked into the bed with her at night. Just about everybody in town has already seen the purple unicorn costume, but to suggest a different option is akin to blasphemy as far as my 3-year-old is concerned.

And so we will head downtown this afternoon, my costumed crew and I, with a feathery mask that is no better than an old witch’s hat, but at least it’s something new. For about 20 minutes, traffic will be stopped on Main Street as an escort of fire trucks and police cruisers ushers a parade of ghosts, clowns, pirates and faeries through downtown Franconia. Parents and grandparents will line the street, and workers will emerge from downtown businesses to cheer the Halloween kids.

Then we’ll rest up for Trick-or-Treating and the town bonfire. I imagine the princess, the purple unicorn, and the knight-in-shining armor will return home in some combination of sleepy and sugar buzzed. It’ll probably be tougher than usual to rouse them from bed the morning after. But I bet at the breakfast table the discussion of next year’s Halloween costumes will begin.

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