Sunday, October 30, 2005

On the Job Training: Motherhood - 7
Halloween and Costumes

Where to begin? First of all, Annika has wanted to be a princess for the last 2 years. At 2, I put on a lavender salwaar-kameez and wrapped the dupatta around her head with a tiara as Princess Jasmine. At 3, she wore a white lace dress with a tiara as Cinderella.

(At any given time, A has 2 years worth of poofy and fancy dresses courtesy of my mother and aunt as the only granddaughter in the family. Therefore I figured, wear it for Halloween while it fits.)

This year I decided to forego the nice dresses and just buy a costume. Unlike the rest of us plebeians, Princesses do have occasions to dress up - Princess Birthday Parties, Costume Day at school, average Saturday afternoon. I've been getting too paranoid about spills and tears on these poofy numbers.

Went to see the dress she wanted - Princess Annika from Barbie & Pegasus

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and it was not on sale, though Belle from Beauty and the Beast was $8 less. She was not going to bend obviously though she does like Belle a lot. I deliberated over this for a week (is it worth it? what is halloween but a marketing ploy at parents' wallets?). I had a flashback to my own childhood (see "My Costume History" below) and went back to Party City.. The Belle dress was $2 higher, but her Princess Annika dress was down $5. So, I grabbed it.

My Princess asked "Ok, let's get the Cinderella Ballerina dress now." You can only wear one costume.

"Oh. Can we go trick or treating now?" No, 2 more weeks.

I'll give her credit that she was patient and didn't ask for the dress or anything until I pulled it out for her Halloween Parade on Friday. I think it was a bit long and when I said I'd take it up, she said, "No, I can walk holding it up" and she took delicate steps, daintly holding the layers of the dress.

I bought double stick fabric tape and hemmed it anyway.
The Parade:
Last year I missed her parade. She was 3 and I didn't think it would matter. However, she commented. So, this year I made sure I would be there at 3:30.

The kids had to bring their costumes and the teachers got them ready. Can I tell you how cute it was! I was snapping pics of all the babies -- it was like an Anne Geddes parade! There was a pink and purple witch toddling all over the place.. twins who dressed in monkey suits.. little Minnie and Mickey being pushed in a carriage.

You could see the older kids expressing themselves more. For girls, it was split between variety of Princess/Fairy costumes, and then more unique ones. A's close friend was dressed as a ghost in white costume and face mask.. there was a pink Power Ranger by one of the girls who I felt was very bubbly and outgoing. I was quite surprised to see the world did not revolve around princesses and fairies for everyone.

Boys were great - firemen, sponge bob, Eagles player. I was impressed with one boy who had a homemade costume as an Arab sheik - towel and blankets made up his costume.

My heart extended to the one Indian boy - probably 3 - who had on a kurta-pyjama with a dupatta. I admitted above my daughter wore an Indian outfit with a tiara, but she was still in character. I don't know about this boy - was he supposed to be Abishek Bachchan?

My Costume History
Growing up with Indian immigrant parents, it's different for us. We grew up among cliches - balancing the Indian and American influence, get the best of both worlds, east meets west, etc.

So, Halloween was a great idea for kids, but spending hard-earned money on costumes wasn't going to happen.

So, I've had to trick-or-treat with my Indian dresses, chanya-cholis, while I thought the plastic cinderella mask was "beautiful" (was looking for a link or picture, but can't find it).

On the other hand, we learned to rummage through our closets (own, siblings, parents, linen) to get accessories to make our own costumes. We used the same chanyo as a gypsy skirt, threw on a shawl and lots of bangles.. used salwaars as flowy clown pants.. became hobos in dad's jackets (interesting, now we call them homeless people).

Anyway, I was chatting with some parents at ballet yesterday, and they both pointed out that they grew up making their costumes and now 98% of the costumes were store-bought. The one father, Eric, mentioned being a hobo. Now his son is wearing Darth Vader. Interesting - maybe Eric wanted to be Star Wars back in 1970's and couldn't?

So, maybe it's not about the Indian vs American thing.. but a result of the credit card, marketing to yuppies culture?

Have a Happy Halloween!


Anonymous said...

I remember making my own costumes as a child too. I remember watching the scenes of costumes parties on Love Boat and being jealous because they looked "more real", but most of the kids when I trick or treated in the 70's (was it that long ago?) had homemade costumes.
I'm sure you daughter made a cute priness.
She commented last year at age 3 that you missed the parade? Hee hee hee. What a handful.

Anonymous said...

Ash I loved this one. Some of the other parenting posts are a little beyond me :-) but I really enjoyed this post. Keep writing. I've come to realize I'm addicted to certain blogs, and blogging ofcourse :-)