A tribute to costume shopping: Halloween, 2010
(This is also for Cheryl, who sweetly asked, “What happened to your blog?)
October 31st of every year, our church hosts a Fall Festival. Complete with train-rides, moonwalks, face painting, hot dogs, games, popcorn… you get the picture.
Joe and I sign up for trunk-or-treat—meaning we dress up in costume and decorate the hatch of our CRV. The evening of the festival, the trunk-or-treat cars are lined up in a row and bright-eyed, costumed children walk by each car and get their treat. If your decorations are super cool, you get hugs from tot-sized princesses and high-fives from tiny super heroes. So, I go for super cool. This may be a church event— but I am competitive. I want the coolest car.
The first year I decorated our hatch to look like a Macy’s Christmas window display (I can say Christmas without offending anyone because this is my blog.) I used quilt batting as snow, placed brightly wrapped packages in and around decorative trees, and attached beaded garland and snowflake shaped ornaments to the ceiling. Flashing holiday lights framed the display.
I dressed as an elf.
Christmas on Halloween!
I think this confused some of the kids.
The next year Joe joined in and the theme was America’s Team. Joe and I wore Dallas Cowboy attire and painted our faces. My Aikman jersey showed my age.
Silver and blue balloons, tied to the luggage rack, waved in the wind. The bottom of the hatch was lined with faux astro turf and decorated with all things Cowboy. The centerpiece was Joe’s encased football—autographed by Emmitt Smith.
Small Ninja Turtles and mini Buzz Lightyears dropped their candy in awe.
Fall of 2010, the plan was to decorate the hatch as a wedding reception and Joe and I would be… the bride and groom! Thanks to Hobby Lobby, I was able to find Joe an inexpensive tuxedo shirt and bow tie. Unable to fit into my original dress (shocking, I know), I began my search for an inexpensive gown.
First stop would be Goodwill.
Hannah and Olivia wanted to look for costumes as well so they agreed to go with me. Hannah was learning to drive so I handed the keys over to her. Turns out she was having an off day. We reached our destination, but as soon as Hannah turned into the parking lot, I saw it coming…
It was too late.
She plowed into it at full speed.
The problem was, it did not bother her.
Me: YOU NEED TO WATCH WERE YOU ARE GOING!
Hannah: I cannot see on that side of the car.
Me: HOW ARE YOU SUPPOSSED TO DRIVE IF YOU CAN NOT SEE WHAT IS ON THE SIDE OF THE CAR?!
Hannah: [sigh] Whatever.
Hannah parked (badly), I got out of the car, slammed the passenger door, and walked ahead of Hannah and Olivia into Goodwill. I looked at the costumes and at wedding dresses. I looked for Hannah and Olivia.
There were not there.
I returned to the car to find there had been a mutiny. In retaliation to my (rather emotional) remarks concerning her driving, Hannah had decided to just sit in the car. Not wanting to break forces with her older sister, Olivia casually relaxed in the back seat, texting. At that point, I cannot remember the exact words that spewed from my mouth. I took their phones away and told them to get into the store.
I continued looking for costumes, and then I looked throughout the store for the girls. They were missing.
My thought was they had wondered off in rebellion. I could have called their cells, but, alas, I had their phones.
I started the search at Starbucks a few doors down. Nothing.
Then hit Chipotle. Nada.
I went into the Hong Kong Market next door—which might have been helpful if I spoke Mandarin. Méi shén.
I returned and looked through Goodwill again. I had Hannah and Olivia paged. No response. I had officially lost the kids. Time to break the news to their dad.
In a complete panic, I called Joe. It seemed to take him hours to arrive at the strip mall. When he pulled up, I could barely speak. Joe remained in total cop mode. Between sobs I was able to blubber out curb, yelled, angry, teenage attitude, and “the tires are out of alignment.”
Joe parked and we checked the CRV. It was still locked. No one had driven my babies off into a world of drugs and child prostitution. Joe told me to go back into the Goodwill and ask the clerk if she had seen the girls. He was going to start at Starbucks before calling his brothers in blue.
Barely able to walk I pulled it together and went into Goodwill for the third time. I approached the cashier and asked her if she had seen two teenage girls. She flatly stated, “They are looking at books.” Seriously? No. Way.
Trying not to appear too eager, I walked over to the bookshelves. There they sat.
My two lost coins.
I frantically told them what had happened.
They looked at me like I was an idiot.
Repelled by my attempt to hug them and ignoring my tear-streaked face, they launched into nonstop dialogue about all the great reads they had found.
They paid for the books and drove home with Joe. I took the long way back to our humble abode, chewed a Xanax, crawled into bed, and coiled into a fetal position for a nap.
A few days later, I returned to the scene of the crime and purchased a $16 wedding gown. Despite the drama … the Fall Fest had to go on.
Joe and I arguably had the coolest car.