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A tale of two costumes


So, can we agree that this may be one of the most adorable costumed children you have ever seen? Call me biased because I created both costume and child, but it is #1 hard to deny and #2 my main defense in explaining a momentary ethical lapse I experienced at Halloween.

Let’s just start by saying I have always loved Halloween. As a child, I loved getting to dress up in a costume of my choosing, usually made for me by my Mom. As an adult, I love looking out for novel, clever costume ideas and really any well-done costume will satisfy. I love the creativity allowed to brim forth on this out-of the ordinary day.

Of course, it is with great excitement that I now get to help my young children with their costumes. I have been so lucky and thankful that my son thus far has come up with ideas that I have been excited to make. He could very well request the usual: Batman, or a Transformer or whoever the latest popular character is. But instead, his picks have been pleasingly more unique. Among my favorite costumes he has chosen : a chameleon, an eagle, a chicken.

I can’t remember how I got it into my head that I wanted to make my almost 4-year-old, Ruby, a snail costume. But once it got into my head I was certain it would be the cutest costume in the world and she therefore HAD to be a snail. This is where I veered over into ethically questionable territory. You see, she was past those early years when the child really has no say in the matter of their Halloween costume. In fact, I was still lamenting the fact that I missed the opportunity to make her a lobster costume when she was 2. She wouldn’t have been the wiser and, man, it would have been cute. As much as I campaigned to get her to see how magnificent being a snail would be, when I asked her what she wanted to be, her answer was always: a butterfly.

I’m not even sure how but somehow I convinced her to be a snail, even though it was not her top choice, and for weeks leading up to Halloween, I plowed through the days with the decision that she was going to be a snail, the cutest snail in the world. I made and fitted her costume and as Halloween approached was so excited about how cute it turned out. For weeks, I allowed myself to be blind to the fact that I was hijacking her Halloween for my own personal satisfaction. Then, as my conscience nudged, I found ways to justify my plan. “It’s really all about me, right?” I joked to friends, as if acknowledging my transgression with humor somehow made it OK.

Then one day at preschool, as the kids were taking turns excitedly telling what they were going to be for Halloween, Ruby dutifully reported “a snail”:no enthusiasm, no sparkle in her eye, no ownership, simply an uninteresting statement of fact. This was when that tiny voice that had been saying, “what you are doing is wrong” started to become louder. On the way home from school I asked her, “Ruby, what do you want to be for Halloween?” Her answer was, of course, a butterfly. At that moment I decided I could no longer go through with my plan, and we went to the fabric store right then and there so she could pick out the colors she wanted for her butterfly costume. And right away I was rewarded for doing the right thing by the excitement that bubbled from her at the prospect of getting to be a butterfly.


I stayed up late that night making the wings. I used 2 layers of sturdy craft interfacing sandwiched between pink and purple and blue felt on the outside, with inset windows of shiny colored lamé. Ruby instantly loved the wings and wore them almost non-stop well past Halloween. And though I’ve since hung them up in the closet, when she catches sight of them she almost always wants to wear them. Here she is playing outside recently:


Meanwhile, the snail costume sits, disregarded, in plain sight on my dresser. Although, I will say she did enjoy playing in it for some time after I asked her to put it on for these photos.

Yes, it makes me ashamed to think how close I came to carrying through with my plan even though I knew that it was wrong.


Here again, I submit: Exhibit A.

Can you blame me for my momentary weakness? I am only human.

4 Responses to “A tale of two costumes”

  1. Linda says:

    I LOVE them both, but you know that I am partial to butterflies. The adorable model’s smiles are bigger when being the butterfly.

  2. Kat says:

    In your defense, it really is the cutest snail costume ever. When she’s 30, she’ll wish she’d gone with the snail… and avoided that tattoo and musicians in general.


    I’m so mean. You know Susannah will talk her out of the tattoo, or will at least get a matching butterfly tattoo so that you and I can commiserate over a margarita.

  3. Linda says:

    I agree that the snail is very clever & more unique for a costume.

  4. Lynn says:

    I love everything about this post. Truly.