A Halloween Costume Nightmare

This is an update to my previous post The Halloween Overachiever.

When I last wrote, I was beginning to feel the stress of another Halloween. In fact, I was already doubting whether I could actually pull off my daughter’s costume this year. This stress lasted all the way up until the last second when I finally had to put it on her.

For the last couple of years, the kids and I have traveled down to Virginia to visit my sister to go to “Boo-at-the-Zoo.” Besides having a wonderful time with my younger sister and the kids, it’s a great opportunity for me to give my daughter’s costume a “test run.” Unfortunately, this year, I waited until we were already there to find all the pieces—and there were many. I naively thought that I’d just run out to the local Halloween store and pick up the last few things—but this most definitely was not the case.

This latest creation required an additional skeleton costume, but my daughter refused to buy one straight from the store. She had a vision in her mind of how she wanted to look, and a baggy, pre-made skeleton just wouldn’t do. I figured that if I had no other choice, I could just buy a tight black shirt and tights and paint the skeleton on to them. This was not something I wanted to do, but I could if I had to. It would all come down to timing. We had to be at my sister’s friend’s house by 3:30, so that we could drive into D.C. together.

The morning went something like this:

First Stop (9:30 am): Wal-Mart (around the corner from my sister’s house) We saw online that they carried a tight Halloween costume that would most likely do the trick, but it was sold out.

Second Stop (10:00 am): Springfield Mall (5 minutes further away). We thought that there was a pop-up Halloween store there—but we were wrong. We walked by Claire’s and got excited when we saw a picture of skeleton tights, but they didn’t have her size. I even ran into Spencer’s, just on the off-chance they had it—no luck.

[At this point, it was about 10:30 in the morning, and I could either run around the mall looking for the black shirt and tights, then head off to the craft store for fabric paint OR we could go to a bigger mall twenty minutes away to check out another Claire’s for the tights and the possibility of finding the rest of the costume at the Halloween store there. I was losing hope, but my sister—being a true optimist—believed we would find what we needed.]

Third Stop (11:30): Potomac Mills Mall Besides the fact that Claire’s didn’t have her size again, we walked the entire length of the mall only to discover that the Halloween store was on the opposite end. And this mall was BIG! I broke out in a sweat as I sped through the mall, looking back every few seconds to be sure that my kids could keep up. By the time we reached the Halloween store, I was on the brink of losing my mind. We found one skeleton costume that I begged my daughter to try on to see if it would work. She made me come into the changing room with her, and when she told me that it wasn’t comfortable, I lost it. Not a proud moment. I went on and on and on about how difficult she was, asking myself out loud why I always let her do this—basically completely freaking out. I do give my daughter credit, however, she didn’t get upset by my tirade, and only asked that I keep my voice down so people wouldn’t hear me. I felt terrible. When we walked out of the dressing room, I noticed that they had thigh-high socks with skeleton bones. Out of desperation, I bought them.

My daughter then remembered that she had seen a short-sleeved T-shirt with a skeleton torso at Justice a couple of months ago. They had two left in size 7—my daughter is a 12—but I bought one anyway.

Since she already had skeleton gloves, so the last thing we had to cover up were her arms. Just at that moment, we walked past Aeropostale, which was having a sale on hoodies. Bingo. I bought her a black one—that she could use again—and told her that she would be a trendy skeleton.

We made it back to my sister’s with just enough time to shower and get her ready. And here she is, the final product of all my hard work, my daughter as a Dead Skeleton Fairy.

Another Halloween is almost done, and as much as I don’t want my daughter to grow up too fast, I can’t help but ask myself, at what age do kids finally stop dressing up? But the next question is always, what is she going to be next year . . . ?

This follow-up post was inspired by Mama Kat’s Pretty Much World Famous Writer’s Workshop. Check it out!

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.

Join the Conversation


  1. Brilliant, beautiful, and her costume kicks ass! I feel your pain, but I think it is super cool that your daughter is so creative and independent, and that you always find away to make her wishes become reality. You are a truly GREAT mom!!!

    1. I think I’d have to agree with you on that! I do have to treat it like a work of art, so that I can feel at least some sense of accomplishment in it.

  2. That was so funny and inspiring at the same time. My daughter is turning two and I get to choose for now but one day soon….I hope when the time comes I’ll take the time to listen to her visions too. I love A’s super imaginative super cool custome. Looking forward to what the years bring- always intense- always interesting:) This is why gals nights r a must.

    1. I will help you out with whatever future costumes she comes up with! Yes, Ayse is seriously creative, and I do love it (most of the time). And yes, we need a girls’ night STAT!

    1. There is definite satisfaction when people love the costume. She scared more kids than I can count when we were at “Boo-at-the-Zoo.” It made her very happy! Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment.

  3. Erin great job her costume is unique and oh so your daughters. It takes me back right back too dressing room. My kiddos always liked unique too. Wait till they won’t let you help. That was a sad day. Until they forgot part of it and I had to run to school lol. Great one again hope they have fun. Till next year;)

    1. Thank you! I agree, it was definitely worth it in the end. Just need to do it two more times, and then this costume can just live on in our memories (and photos).

    1. Thanks, Lindsey. And thanks for not calling me out on the part where I lost my sh*t in the dressing room. Not a good moment, but she doesn’t seem to be holding it against me. 🙂

    1. You got it! It is too much work. My advice is to set the bar really low (white sheet for a ghost, or one of those plastic costume we had as kids) so that an off-the-shelf costume will look extravagant. 🙂

  4. I absolutely love the top photo where she is checking her “hair” in the mirror! Such a girly skeleton!
    The make up job was terrifying and the costume itself rocks. No one would ever know the day you had pulling it together! At least Monday you should be good to go!

    1. Thanks so much for the comments on both the photo and the costume! I’ll just say that I am SO thankful that yesterday is over. Although, I do think that—in the end—it was well worth it. She loved her costume, and she DID look incredible.

  5. I have come to look forward to the mornings before Boo at the Zoo. It is such an adventure and we always seem to pull it together. I am already looking forward to next year and you haven’t even made it through Halloween yet. 🙂 Love the post, Erin. Love the memories too.

    1. Thanks, Meghan. I think as long as we go to Boo-at-the-Zoo each year, she is ALWAYS going to want to dress up. I am definitely torn over that thought!

    1. I think that’s a little wishful thinking. 🙂 All the ways that she DIDN’T help out over the last week in keeping track of all of the pieces of the costume is a new post all-together. I just don’t have the mental energy, or desire, to write it. I’ll just say that there were plenty of “teaching opportunities” over the last week.

  6. Ayse looks fantastic! Love that deadpan expression she has in all the photos. I particularly love the zombie pageant queen. Halloween is starting to get more popular in Australia and I can see I’m going to have to get more creative than buying a costume from the two dollar shop in years to come. I can totally sympathize with the stress (including losing it) leading up to helping one’s daughter realize her costume dreams… and then that sense of achievement when those dreams are realized. I must send you some dress up pictures of Zoe at her last couple of birthdays. Love reading your blog Erin. x

    1. You absolutely summed up how I have been feeling this Halloween (and every Halloween for the last 5 years). Yes, please send me some photos of Zoe! I’d love to see her all dressed up. 🙂 I’m so glad you read my blog—keeping us in touch in a whole new way.

  7. The costume turned out great….ayse’s creativity is boundless. Your dressing room meltdown is all too familiar. You get to that moment where somehow (and you’re not really sure how) it’s almost as though the roles are reversed and the child is the voice of reason…for a moment anyway. It’s nice to see I’m not alone in these moments of insanity. Great post Erin!

    1. Thanks, Scott. Yes, the dressing room was a lesson in self-control. The worst thing about losing it is the guilt that follows. Lately, whenever I find myself getting close to losing it, I remind myself of how I felt just after that, and I try to stay calm. It doesn’t always work, but I’m trying.

  8. Let’s hear it for you!!! I know it was rough, but you toughed it out and did great. Your daughter’s costume is totally fabulous! (Let’s hope next year is a lot easier.)

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