Do Stylists Work on Halloween?

My girls have picked out their costumes for Halloween. Inspired by Jake and the Never Land Pirates and MJ’s weirdly obsessive crush on Captain Jack Sparrow, they’ve decided to be pirates, which is so incredibly adorable it makes me melt like a fun-sized Milky Way squished in a toddler’s fist. They’ve been practicing their “Arrr’s” and “Ahoy, there!” and are totally ready for the big night.

I, alas, am not. I love me some Halloween, but Mr. P and I were invited to a costume party, which stresses me out to no end. As one starts getting older, it’s harder and harder to find a great costume, especially when you are 1) cheap, 2) creatively-challenged, and 3) no longer a shopper in the juniors department.

Since I’m not going to be stitching together a Nicki Minaj-worthy ensemble anytime soon, I had to look at my three options:

The discount store rack. Ok, let’s face it, those packaged sexy nurse and cheerleader costumes at Target and Walmart were not created for a 34-year-old woman who has borne two children. I don’t care if the package says XL –  if a skirt, shirt, wings and headpiece can all fit in a package the size of a manila envelope, it ain’t fitting on a size 12 body without something popping out of the top or bottom.

It also doesn’t help that the sexy nurse costume is made from polyester the thickness of a Kleenex. There’s no way tissue paper can hold back the lady lumps or properly camouflage a pair of Spanx. If I go with a cheap costume, I know by the end of the night the top will be ripped apart, the skirt will be frayed, and I’ll be arguing with anyone who walks by, “Oh yeah, I meant for the Spanx legs to show. Tinkerbell totally wore Spanx. Uh huh! Yes, she did! Yes, she did!

Buying or renting a fancy costume – I admit it - I’m super cheap and though I would love to, I’m not up to buying some amazing costume Ill wear only once. Unless it’s become socially acceptable to wear a Wonder Woman costume every day to run errands to Dollar General and Chipotle, because I think that would be awesome. No other parent would think I’m crazy; they'd be all “now that’s one thrifty mom who got her money’s worth.” My kids would totally think it rocks too.

So another option is renting. While packaged costumes are made of tissue paper, many rental costumes are often constructed of yak hides and ShamWows – which numerous people have sweated in. Especially if the costume resembles an animal. I refuse to put anything on my body that looks like it has mange.

History has taught me that when I go the fancy route and channel 90210’s Donna Martin and her  mermaid costume, I end up shedding the uncomfortable ensemble within an hour and spend the rest of the party moping in an incredibly sweaty white turtleneck and leggings while the rest of the women parade around in geisha and genie get-ups.

Making a costume. I should use this time to let my imagination run wide, but I’ll likely stick with my old standby – wear a sweater with a loose thread, call myself Weezer’s “Undone – The Sweater Song” and encourage fellow guests to “hold this thread while I walk away.” Since Mr. P also cannot fit in a prepackaged discount store costume, his go-to costume has been motivational speaker Matt Foley since he has a sweet plaid polyester jacket we picked up at Goodwill in 2000. Unfortunately it may be time to retire our old favorites since younger Millennials do not fully appreciate the genius of mid-90’s pop culture and continually ask who we’re supposed to be.

This year I thought I had it set – Toddlers & Tiaras. I would dress the girls in tulle, fake eyelashes and Dolly Parton wigs, Mr. P would play the bedazzled dad who teaches them jazz hands, and I would trail behind them while trick-or-treating, living vicariously through my daughters by mimicking their movements and passive-aggressively screeching helpful instructions, “Smile, MJ. Hold out your bag and say trick-or-treat. Say trick-or-treat. Say it! TRICK-OR-TREAT! SAY IT! SAY IT!”

Instead, we’re staying with pirates.

At the end of the day, I’m leaving my decision up to economics. According to the National Retail Federation, the average person will spend $72.31 on Halloween. I’m pretty sure that between the $10 in Bit-O-Honey and Smarties for the trick-or-treaters and the $61.31 in Snickers and Twix Bars I horde for myself, I will have approximately $1 left for my "Sweater Song" costume from Goodwill. That's smart Halloween shopping. 

By Nicole Plegge, Lifestyle Blogger for Smart Parenting

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Metro East mom Nicole Plegge has written for STL Parent for more than 12 years. Besides working as a freelance writer & public relations specialist, and raising two daughters and a husband, Nicole's greatest achievements are finding her misplaced car keys each day and managing to leave the house in a stain-free shirt. Her biggest regret is never being accepted to the Eastland School for Girls. Follow Nicole on Twitter @STLWriterinIL 

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