One of the most important things I know about myself is that I am a creative person, but I am not a crafty person.
Some people can pick up a pair of scissors and a piece of construction paper and turn it into something fabulous and original. I can pick up a pair of scissors and a piece of construction paper and turn it into a piece of construction paper with uneven fringe along the edges.
At my childrens’ school, I’m on a committee that hosts a monthly “appreciation” luncheon for the faculty and staff. I am allowed to draft the e-vites and transfer the food onto serving platters. I am not allowed to decorate the table. Further, due to my illegible handwriting, I am also not allowed to label the Chinese take-out containers filled with leftovers that we give the teachers to take home with them.
This is why, as a mother, I dread Halloween. Every year, my children think up elaborate, clever costumes that require sewing and vision and craftiness and beg me to make them. And every year, I end up talking them out of it and buying them something out of the Costume Express catalogue. At the costume parade at school every Halloween, I see them looking longingly at the kids who have brilliant, perfectly-fitting, homemade costumes, while they struggle not to trip on the cheap, polyester getups that I’ve had to safety pin in twelve different places just to get them to stay on. I truly never feel more inadequate as a woman than I do each year on October 31st.
Last Halloween, however, my children both wanted to be sheet ghosts. When I went online to see where I could buy a sheet ghost costume, my daughter put her hands on her hips and gave me a "you-are-pathetic" stare. "It’s a sheet ghost, Mom," she said. "You have to make it. From a sheet."
I could see that it was a test. First of all, there’s never been a time in the history of their existence when they both wanted to do the same thing, let alone be the same thing for Halloween. Second of all, my son was a ninja for three straight years in a row and was, at the time, obsessed with Pokemon. Yet he just coincidentally wanted to be a sheet ghost for Halloween? I couldn’t even imagine what she bribed him with to get him to go along, but it must have been really good. Third, I could tell that they didn’t think I could pull it off. So of course, I had to prove to them that I could.
We went to Jo-Ann Fabric (points for me for even knowing a crafty place like that exists) and we picked out a white, satin-ish fabric. I carried the bolt (I know it’s called that because I watch Project Runway) to the front desk and the woman asked me how many yards I needed. I, of course, had no freaking idea how many yards I needed, but I wasn’t about to let my kids know that.