Because I live by the mantra "Only the Best for My Children," I take them shopping for Halloween costumes in mid-August, when the thrift stores in my area have the best selection. Usually there are a wide variety of costumes of choose from at this time of year, but this time around, the options were downright scary: the "Halloween" rack was filled with an assortment of ratty pumpkin sweatshirts, a princess dress made out of what appeared to be a plastic tablecloth, and several Kung-Fu warrior ensembles that I recognized from last year's Halloween line at the Dollar Store. Fortunately, in addition to these undesirables, there were also three furry animals that were roughly the same size as my three children.
"But I want to be a snake!" yelped Cortlen when I took the animals off their hangers.
I looked around the store. "Hmmm... I don't see a snake costume," I told him. "Your choices are panda, koala, and... (# 3 required some interpretation)...baboon."
"But none of those animals are poisonous," he whined.
"That's true," I told him, "Except for the koala."
Cortlen looked at me skeptically. As I squeezed my son into the costume which turned out to be least two sizes too small, I told him about the rare breed of flesh-eating koalas that live in Southern Australia.
"Perfect!" I said. "All you need now are some vampire fangs."
Having pacified Cortlen, I turned to Camber, who was holding the baboon costume in the death grip.
"I love this one," she told me. She continued to love the costume until her Dad came home from work and asked to see her in it.
"Mom's making me be a monkey with a red bottom for Halloween!" she cried.
There's $3.50 down the drain.
That left Kellen with the Panda costume. He wasn't too wild about his outfit either, until we went to Panda Express for lunch and he recognized the resemblance between his costume and the fast food restaurant's mascot. Now when anyone asks him what he is going to be for Halloween, he simply answers "Orange Chicken."
Overall, my husband was very impressed with my Halloween purchases.
"I hope you washed those things," he said.
It took him a few minutes to get into the Halloween spirit. Eventually, though, he came around.
"What am I going to be for Halloween?" he asked jokingly.
My husband stopped smiling when I pulled out a pair of skintight khaki short-shorts and a matching button-up shirt from the thrift store shopping bag.
"A zookeeper!" I answered.