One thing I didn’t count on when my first son was born was how far from “cute” boys can stray on Halloween day. Those first few years with each of my sons were full of Halloweens with adorable little puppy and pumpkin costumes, specially selected by Mom.
As they got to preschool, they graduated to the super heroes. I think just about every one of them has been represented in our house – and some more than once – Superman, Spiderman, Batman, Robin, the Hulk, the Incredibles, Flash Gordon, Power Rangers, Buzz Lightyear, Woody, Army soldiers, Transformers. Oh, how I miss the days when they wanted to dress up as the good guys.
After that superhero phase, boys have a tendency to turn to the scarier, spookier, gorier side of Halloween. By junior high, boys won’t be seen dead in a Buzz Lightyear costume. Instead, they are more intrigued by vampires, werewolves or worse. Killer clowns. Axe murders. Serial Killers. Chainsaw wielding maniacs. An abundance of terrifying characters from horror movies – from Freddie Krueger to Michael Myers to the Scream character – can be seen roaming the neighborhoods on Halloween night. And as much as I’ve fought it for years, I finally surrendered and realized that it’s a boy thing and I quit nagging and decided to just let them have fun with it. It’s only one day of the year.
My youngest is in second grade and he’s worn some cute, tame costumes the past few years – a ninja, a Ghostbuster, the Hulk, even Elvis. This year, he initially wanted to be a zombie ninja (I had no idea there was such a thing!) When I had trouble ordering it online, we went shopping for a costume. By then he’d shifted to wanting to be a SWAT team member and I thought I was safe. They didn’t have it in his size. Then he wanted to be an Army soldier, another one that pleased me, but was too small and too expensive -- $35 for just the top and a plastic grenade and canteen. We ended up at Walgreen’s where costumes were marked down to $5.89. He zoned in on the zombie. So much for one more year of cuteness.
His fourth-grade brother was a vampire – same as last year. Another brother surprised me by not going the scary route. He decided to re-use last year’s Harry Potter costume. But, since he has red hair, he decided to ditch the round glasses and he was the Ron Weasley character instead. And he spent the whole day correcting people who said, “Hey, it’s Harry Potter.” My junior high kid actually got creative this year and made two costumes – both characters from futuristic, apocalyptic video games.
For the past several years, my oldest son has taken over the yard decorating by creating a graveyard with scary creatures, body parts, skeletons and more. He makes homemade props and stuffs clothes to make dummies. And he quit trick-or-treating long before his peers in favor of dressing up and scaring people who come seeking candy.
That’s had a trickle down effect. This year, I took the three youngest ones trick-or-treating. One gave up after two blocks to join his brothers. And the other two only lasted 45-minutes before declaring that they’d rather be home scaring people than trick-or-treating. On went the scary masks and they positioned themselves in the graveyard ready to jump out at unsuspecting trick-or-treaters. I guess my cute years are over, but they sure were nice while they lasted.