We have just celebrated Zee’s third Halloween. Before having a child, my interest in Halloween was minimal. However, I am very keen on fancy dress and happily, Adam is too. Our greatest* fancy dress achievement to date is the time we went to our friend’s 30th birthday weekend, and the fancy dress theme was ‘white’. We spent a while pondering what to wear and suddenly I had a brainwave. ‘Knights in White Satin!’ I exclaimed, Adam agreed, and we duly ordered highly flammable white polyester ‘satin’ shirts and plastic knights’ helmets off the internet. We wore our costumes proudly, amongst the Mummies, tennis players and Roman gods at the all-white event.
A few years later, we realised the song is not, in fact, ‘Knights in White Satin’. It is ‘Nights in White Satin’ and we will never live it down. Not that we mind, at least we were in it together and both got it wrong. Unlike that time when I walked to the Lido wearing a wetsuit, but that’s a different matter.
So anyway, becoming a parent brought a whole new meaning to Halloween, because having a small person to dress up is The Best. To this day, one of my greatest personal achievements is Zee’s first ever Halloween costume. There must always be a concept, and my concept was for my little pumpkin to transform into the lead anchor for KVWN’s Channel 4 News Team, Ron Burgundy.
I am not ashamed to say I dedicated pretty much a whole day on maternity leave to this little Halloween photo shoot. I took it upon myself to dye an old wig dark brown, because how could he be Ron Burgundy without a head of luxurious hair (which he possesses now, but did not then)? I located one of H’s white shirts, his burgundy jumper and a tie. I took two of my prized possessions; my Anchorman DVD and my hand-stitched, embroidered, framed Ron Burgundy, made by my very talented friend, and placed them ‘on set’. I found Ron’s ‘news desk’ – Z’s Bumbo – and filled a glass with scotch (apple juice). I dressed Zee, popped him in the Bumbo and affixed his ‘tache. He was DELIGHTED (he was not delighted). I attempted to place the wig on his little bald head, but this was an absolute no-no, so I cast it aside and snapped as many pics as I could in the 30 second window before he had an entire sense of humour failure. It was one of the happiest and most productive days on maternity leave I ever had, what larks.
Last year, what with leaving work and going freelance, I could not dedicate quite as much time to my concept. However, there was still a storyline and it was in fact based on one of Zee’s (and ours) favourite picture books, Sir Scallywag and the Golden Underpants by Giles Andreae and Korky Paul. My little Halloween spider transformed into the brave knight (yes he is an actual knight) Sir Scallywag, and I located a host of props to complete the look. His toy tent became the castle, his ride-a-long lion the horse and a plastic cutlass his lance (his lance of COURSE). Once again, it was all about the timing before Zee totally lost interest (and hurray, my knight’s helmet came in handy again).
This year, my husband set his heart on a haunted house Halloween party for his family at ours, which also coincided with his birthday. Having been informed of this idea in July, I’d had a while to plan our costumes, but only really engaged with it a few weeks ago. A moment of inspiration; for Adam’s birthday, the three of us could be The Adam’s Family. But I did not want to be Morticia. I would be Cousin It, Adam could be Uncle Fester and Zee? Gomez Addams, of course. Pugsley is just in shorts and a stripey T-shirt – too easy. For his ‘look’, eyeliner would be key. Brilliant! For about five seconds I toyed with dyeing his blonde locks black, but the prospect of the mess and fuss (and the glares from my mother when I proposed it), put me right off. We started seeding the fancy dress idea with him last Monday, so by Saturday his cries of ‘Don’t WANT to wear a costume, no, no, NO!’ were met with ‘Can I wear my costume mummy?’ Result. Speaking of results, we had a great time dressing up, though hosting a party for over 20 people dressed as Cousin It was a bit of a challenge, what with getting hair caught everywhere and not being able to see. So that’s Halloween done for another year. Time to start planning those festive outfits. Tra lalalala, la la la la.