The Halloween Overachiever

I don’t know when it started. I guess it’s possible that she may have always been this way—even as far back as inside the womb. I am referring to my daughter’s need to be the best at whatever she does. When it comes to Halloween, it’s no different. She pushes it to the limit—or at least to my limit—always needing to have the most original costume possible. This means that it can’t be purchased straight off the shelf, and since I don’t sew, I can’t make it in the traditional sense. Instead, I am forced to come up with creative—and hopefully affordable—ways to help her achieve her vision. Over the last few years, I’ve actually started to develop anxiety as soon as October 1st arrives, wondering what brilliant idea my daughter will come up with next—and whether I will actually be able to help her pull it off.

When she was little—and I was still somewhat in control of the choices for a costume—the biggest challenge was deciding on which Disney princess she was going to be. She started out by being Snow White when she was three—an easy costume that only required a dress and a ribbon for her hair. Then, at four, she wanted to be Ariel. I would have been happy with only buying the elaborate dress that she had to have, but she was adamant that she couldn’t be Ariel without her long, red hair. So, I gave in. Now looking back at all of the Halloween’s since that one, I do believe that this is where it may have begun—the ambitions of my sweet Halloween overachiever.

Jasmine, at age five, was still somewhat simple. The costume, and all of it’s accessories, were an easy purchase—straight off the shelf—and it should have been enough. My daughter already had long, dark hair, but for her, she wanted it to be longer. Instead of having to buy another awful synthetic wig, I was able to find a clip-on hair extension that gave her a waist-length ponytail.

At six, she informed me that she was done with Disney princesses—she wanted to make her own costume: Elf Princess. She already had the perfect dress, so she only requested three things: 1) a wig; 2) prosthetic elf ears (yes, I had to glue them on); 3) sparkly fake eyelashes. In the end, once I got over the trauma of gluing on fake eyelashes on my sweet 1st-grader, I was stunned to see that I was actually able to pull it off.

When she was seven, she surprised me by wanting to be a Nerdy Boy for Halloween. To be honest, I wasn’t thrilled with having to buy boy pants, shoes, shirt, and suspenders for her costume, but I was happy that I didn’t have to buy another wig. We taped up a pair of glasses, and tucked her hair into her shirt to hide the length. Her costume turned out to be such a hit at school that the following year there were quite a few girls wearing a similar one. (Unfortunately, I don’t have a photo—what was I thinking?)

At eight, her entire costume revolved around wanting a real purple wig from an actual wig shop. We decided that she would be a perfect Mannequin. She dressed in black with long, black gloves and a lot of jewelry. To finish it off, we bought a pair of purple fake eyelashes, and applied a lot of makeup. No one even recognized her during the Halloween parade at school—a huge success!

When she was nine, she decided that she wanted to be a “Stressed-out Working Mom.” (She swears that she wasn’t being me, but I don’t believe it.) Fortunately, this costume did not require another wig. Instead, we teased out half of her hair, and put the other half in pink fuzzy rollers. She wore a nightgown under a bathrobe, with one stocking and slippers. To finish it all off, we added some messy makeup so that she would have a frenzied look.

Last year was the most elaborate of all—and it nearly put me over the edge. She wanted to be a Zombie Pageant Girl. I had no idea how to transform her into a zombie, but she had total faith in me—and a lot of ideas. She wanted to use liquid latex to make wounds, make-up so that she’d look dead, some glued-on garish wounds, and a lot of dripping blood. Of course, she would also need a dress, a sash, a wig, and a crown. The end result actually blew me away—she was transformed.

And the bar was set even higher.

Today, I am once again experiencing the agony of trying to figure out how to help achieve this year’s vision. In all honesty, I’m not sure if I’ll be able to pull it off. I’m not going to reveal it yet, but I will soon. There isn’t much time left to figure it out—Halloween is now only two weeks away!

Like with so many things in my daughter’s life, her desire to be unique—to be an individual—leaves me feeling somewhat in awe of her. It’s for this reason that I want to support her creativity, to help her turn her wonderful imagination into a reality. My advice to my daughter is to never forget these wonderful Halloween costumes—even when she has out-grown trick-or-treating and she no longer wants to dress up—I hope she takes the memory of them with her. And, I hope that she will always hold onto her desire to stand out from the crowd.


I’m linking up with Lovelinks #27 this week! 

Published by Erin Rehill

A few years ago, my then eight-year-old daughter told me that she wished I could write down all the things I told her so that she wouldn’t forget them when she got older. In that moment, my daughter gave me such a sense of validation, something I hadn’t really experienced in that way. As parents, we don’t often receive confirmation from our children that we are doing a good job, or that we even know what we are talking about. Since that time, I’ve started to pay more attention to the things I tell her, often thinking to myself “Will she remember this when she is older?” So, this is for her, my words of advice to be read, thought about, laughed at, and maybe even used, when she is older.

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    1. I definitely couldn’t make a Pac Man costume! About her costume, let’s just say that I will be doing a lot of painting this weekend. She has faith in me, I just hope I can live up to it.

  1. I love this story! So hilarious that she wanted to be a stressed out working mom. I remember when I was little I wanted my costumes to be original too. My mom’s solution was to create derivatives of Minnie Mouse. I too can’t wait to see what your daughter chooses this year!

  2. What an amazing creative mind she has and after reading your your story you too are extremely talented and creative. Not excluding a wonderful mom too, so I can see she gets some of these talents from mom. The stressed out working mom is the top.

    1. Thanks, Gail! I think we can all relate to the stressed out working mom—although I’ve never actually come into the office with the rollers still in my hair. Thank you for reading my blog, and for leaving a comment—it means so much to me!

  3. I love that not only does she have the nerve to go her own way, but the other kids actual follow along. Brilliant.

    1. When we were at Party City recently, she saw a Prom Queen Zombie and wanted to take credit for it. I just hope that she will be as proud this year! We’ll have to see . . .

  4. I hope She remembers what her mother put into these costumes!!!!!! – and i also hope she remembers how fun it is to dress up – so many adults forget and don’t get involved in the fun of halloween or any other fun dress up party. i once threw an oscar’s party and Chris, my husband, and i dressed like we were on the red carpet and not one person showed up – so sad. this was when we moved back to Cape May NJ after living in Driggs Idaho. In Driggs there were tons of fun theme parties and the whole town showed up dressed for the theme

    1. It’s funny, I’ve never been someone who looks forward to dressing up for Halloween. I would do it if I had to, but I would never want to stand out. That being said, if you and Chris ever have another dress up party, I will definitely be there! Thank you so much for your comment—I loved it!

  5. LOL! Snow White to Zombie Pageant Girl — Oh, how times change things. This was so cute. I’m actually getting off easy again this year. My daughter wants to be SpongeBob (a costume my son wore last year… and the year before. By Choice.) and my son wants to be a penguin again — another costume we have that he wore 3 years ago. I can’t believe it still fits him! I feel kinda bad about it, but they insist that’s what they want to be.

  6. Last year my oldest wanted to be The Blob, my second wanted to be a peacock and my third wanted to be Harry Potter. The first two required home-making. They came out pretty awesome … especially for making them the day before their school parade!

    Good luck!

  7. Someone up there in the comments said “What a great mom she has” and I agree – the fact that she can feel so free to indulge in her hugely creative side is a testament to loving parenting. These are great costumes too. I feel for you on the “homemade” front – our school has a rule that it has to be homemade, and also has to be either a literary or historical figure so I’m doomed. This year my 6 year old wants to go as Persephone (bought it straight off the computer, thank you!) and my 10 year old wants to go as Clara out of the Heidi novel, which of course involves a lot of g.d. hair curlers AND the procurement of a wheelchair! (-:
    Love the stressed out working mom one! Did she have crumpled up bandaids and tissues in her purse?

  8. It’s awesome that she’s an individual! And those are very detailed costumes there. Looks to me like she’s winning creativity awards, and you’re winning awesome mommy awards for sure! Keep fostering that child’s sense of independence and uniqueness. There’s not enough of that left in the world.

  9. I love the imagination that kids have… I wish I still had some of that creativity. Though I’m not sure I had much of it to begin with…
    I agree with the ‘great mom’ comment! You’ve done a wonderful job, and I’m sure this costume will be no different. I am curious to see the result though!

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