A couple of years ago I convinced an 8-year-old girl to dress up as Angela Davis for Halloween.
She came into the library with her parents and her assignment: the kids were to pick a Halloween costume, wear it to school, bring a book about it and say a few words. So the kid dressed as a dinosaur brings Discovering Dinosaurs, and the girl dressed like a soccer star brings a biography of Mia Hamm. It's a cute assignment and I enjoy helping the kids with it.
It's not always easy, though. This little girl was looking for a book about Foxy Brown. Foxy Brown from the 1974 movie (not the singer). Did we have a book with Foxy Brown in it? Well, no.
I hate admitting defeat but I was going to have to until I got it out of them that the only reason they were stuck on Foxy Brown was because they had a giant Afro wig. Fantastic! Who was famous in an Afro? Diana Ross? They didn't want Miss Ross. So, looking the parents in the eye, I said, "Well there's that famous picture of Angela Davis in her big hoops and her Afro..."
Angela Davis, radical activist and philosophy professor. Black Panther. Communist. Feminist. Formerly on the FBI's Most Wanted List. Acquitted of all charges. The dad was like, "Yeah! Free Angela Davis!" The kid was doubtful but we got her talked into it.
So I'm kind of in that kid's boat this year. I bought a floor-length sparkly red cape at Juliet's sister-in-law's consignment shop, The Circle Shop on Belair Road, and there is no way I'm going to miss out on using it this Halloween. I have an idea but it's still cooking.
Big Man wants to be "art supplies". I don't know exactly how to do that but my god you have to honor that kind of original thinking. Last year he wanted to be a birthday cake and I figured it would be the last time I got a non-superhero out of him.
That's caulk filling in for decorator's icing, and weatherstripping separating the layers. Unfortunately, the thing was so ungainly that he couldn't make it up the porch steps when he went trick-or-treating. Won't make that mistake this year.
Three wants to be a scientist. Last year it was a dump truck:
Bob escorted him: in my commemorative hard hat from the construction of the Rose Center for Earth and Space he was Bob the Builder (it had to be done at least once). I love Halloween in general and costumes in specific, but what I love best is figuring out how to make somebody else's idea work.
One year in New York Bob and I were invited to a costume party with a couples theme. I was racking my brain, but Bob piped right up: "The Old Man and the Sea, of course." Oh, of course! Yeah but guess who got to be the Old Man (easy) and guess who had to figure out how to dress up as The Sea? Ten yards of blue and green tulle later, a bag of plastic fish and the top from my wedding dress, and it actually turned out pretty great.
In 2003, inspired by the California governor's race, we all dressed as actors-turned-politicians.
I stuffed Mr. Three's outfit with socks and he was Governor Schwarzenegger; Bob was the Mayor with No Name; and I was a very tall Representative Bono in a kurta and vest. We tried to talk Big Man, who was then 2, into dressing like a sailor so that he could be Congressman Grandy (Gopher), but he was having none of it. "I not sailor guy, I PIRATE GUY!"
So look for me on Halloween. I think I'm going to cut a foam pumpkin into a crown, and wear it with my purple ball skirt and the red sparkly cape. I will be the Queen of Halloween.