Life is filled with difficult decisions. When you are the ages of my boys, one of the most agonizing choices is which costume to wear on Halloween. The conversation this year began in earnest about April.
My boys have a bin of costumes from which they could select any number of identities: Power Ranger (Red), Power Ranger (Blue), cowboy, farmer, soldier, train engineer, train conductor, doctor, chipmunk (can’t tell if it’s Chip or Dale), Abraham Lincoln, Indiana Jones, Darth Vader, Bob the Builder, fireman and those are just the ones I can think of without really looking.
But these will never do. Each year, we must come up with something new. Gone are the days of rushing out to the retail outlet a couple of days before Halloween to pick up a flimsy, plastic (and highly flammable) suit with a stiff, plastic face mask with thin slits for eye holes, nostrils and mouth and a thin rubber band to hold it all together. Back in the day we didn’t
look any more like Superman or G.I. Joe than the man in the moon, but that’s just what everybody did.
In the New South, everybody has to have muscles. Costumes are much more realistic these days, if you call fake foam muscles on a three-year-old “realistic.” Every boy has the abs of Ryan Reynolds and the pecs of Arnold Schwarzenegger.
This year, the official Wallace family Halloween costumes are the dynamic duo, Batman and Robin. And, well, Batman again. When you have three children it makes it difficult to be a crime-fighting duo. While the older two wanted their 3-year-old brother to dress up like one of Batman’s numerous nemeses, Carlton wanted no part of the Joker, Penguin, the Riddler, Two Face, etc.
So we have Batman, Robin and Batman Jr.
Most of what my kids know of Batman comes from two comic book series they’ve been reading and a Cartoon Network show, which is the basis of one of the comic books. The obsession grew when Harris wanted to watch a movie on his birthday. At the time, we were still among the 800,000 or so people who hadn’t dropped Netflix, so I went to the streaming options and found the 1966 ”Batman” starring Adam West and Burt Ward.
They fell in love with the whole campy concept: everything with a ”bat-” label, such as “Bat Cave,” “Batmobile” and even “Bat Shark Repellent Spray;” not-so-scary villains in garish getups, the convenient placement of vehicles wherever Batman and Robin needed them, and, of course, the deductive dialogues between the caped crusaders frequently involving the phrases “Holy” and “Precisely!”
Current Batman obsession + a half hour of Internet shopping + $50 = Halloween costumes. Did you know that Americans spend nearly $7 billion on Halloween? That puts Halloween number two on the most commercialized holiday list behind only Christmas.
The costumes are getting good use, though, with a Trunk-or-Treat event at church, a costume party Saturday night and Trick-or-Treating on Monday night – not to mention all the photos that will be taken, digitally scrapbooked, Facebooked and shared with grandparents in a variety of media.
When the sugar-induced comas wear off, the Dark Knight, the Boy Wonder and the little Dark Knight will undoubtedly retire to the costume bucket where perhaps they can be recycled for some other Bat-o-philes in the future.
In the meantime, Carla and I have to begin thinking about our biggest Halloween decision: how to discard 20 pounds of candy without the boys noticing.
So what’s your costume this year? What was your favorite costume of all time?
Let us know and have a safe and happy Halloween.