Saturday, October 31, 2009

how we celebrate

I love Halloween dearly. At the beginning of October, feeling sassy, I committed to sewing pirate costumes for the Sober Husband and for myself and a mermaid costume for Lola (Iris opted to get a shark costume online, to which she glued cards to make herself a card shark). Once you've dropped a couple of hundred dollars on fabric, you feel committed (and also the children are then held to their choices. Lola made noises, as always, about changing her costume, but I held firm, with yards of three kinds of sparkly green fabric already cut). Feeling admirably ahead of schedule Halloween-wise, I also committed to Iris's tenth birthday party, a Halloween-themed slumber party (which is raging on in the next room as I write; I think I got about four hours sleep. A terrified Henry, normally a cat who spurns my affections, is sticking by my side resolutely, determined to use me for protection). And, if that weren't enough, I signed up to do a craft with the first graders at their Halloween party.

Then I came down with meningitis, meaning I spent much of the month in agonizing pain, motionless. By the time I felt well enough to sew, I had only one week left before Halloween, and that week included Iris's party and Lola's school party (for which I had to buy the craft supplies and prep the craft activity for 57 first graders). I spent the last week as the sole employee in a Halloween sweatshop, sewing from morning until late in the evening.

Lola's highly tailored mermaid costume took me three days to make. It should have been two days, but it turned out too small. Lola couldn't zip the zipper up, and the waistband gaped, unfastenable. I had a meltdown, which reminded all onlookers of the more infantile designers on "Project Runway." It felt so unjust to me, because I had measured Lola and I had adapted the pattern to suit her measurements, taping extra pattern paper to the pieces and using my giant quilting ruler to draft my own pieces. I had finished the sewing while Lola was at first grade, however, so I wasn't able to fit the piece on my model before completing it. "I MEASURED her," I said childishly, railing at the injustice of the world. "I can't help it if I have to sew while she's at school; I'll never get it done!" Lola went back to playing on Club Penguin with equanimity, but Iris uber Alles and the Sober Husband tiptoed about. In a measured rage, I hacked off the beautiful long waistband, intended to be figure-fitting and hugging much of the torso, and improvised a simpler waistband. "Make it work!" said the Sober Husband. I glared at him.

By late Thursday night I had finished the costumes, after an intense six days of sewing. I didn't have time to help decorate the house, instead asking the Sober Husband and children to get out the box of decorations and put them up while I sewed. The casualty this year was the jack-o'lanterns and also a luminaria project I'd intended (I saved up a large number of milk jugs to decorate, which are languishing in my closet). I did buy a smaller number of pumpkins, which were themselves smaller (budgetary issues as well as time issues), which are going to get carved today, on Halloween itself, hopefully. Poor Lola has been asking plaintively for days, "When will we carve the pumpkins?" "When Mommy is done sewing."

If only I hadn't had meningitis. Happy Halloween, everyone!


hughman said...

here's hoping Heidi Klum is kind to you!

Missy said...

I'm in awe of your sewing AND All Hallow's Eve skills.

This year, we were treated to the Costume Wars of 2009. Older DD decided at the last minute to wear the same costume as younger DD. (Eighties Girl.)

We managed a tense negotiation at 4 p.m. in which the procrastinating older one wore the flapper costume of younger DD's from last year.

Also, we had an argument about flapper hairstyles. The concept of a historically authentic costume is lost on older DD.

Ironically, there's at least %500 worth of dance costumes upstairs, and nobody ever goes for my Zombie Ballerina idea.