Tag: costume

Tricks and Treats

Aspen already knew what her costume would be. She was going to be the princess under the bed and champion the rights of monsters everywhere. Who else was as brave and strong and amazing?

Her mom helped her zip up the dress without catching any of her fur in the zipper. She put her crown on, settling it right behind her third eye. Aspen grinned at the mirror.

She was missing a baby fang, but otherwise she looked very princessy. It was perfect. She smoothed out her fur and jumped down from the stool.

Aspen was ready for a night of tricks and treats. She picked up her plastic pail and waited by the door. After taking far too many pictures, her mom finally took her out into the delightfully scary sunshine.

It was fun to be out so late in the day, when the sun was shining and casting odd spooky shadows everywhere. Tree branches cast shadows that looked like human hands reaching out to catch her. Aspen held her mom’s paws a little tighter and tried not to look at them.

Aspen rang her neighbor’s doorbell and waited. Even with her mom right next to her, she felt a little nervous. She could hear old Mr. Dragon shuffling to the door. His tail made a swishing sound when he walked.

“Hello?” he said, opening the door just a crack.

“Tricks or Treats.” Aspen smiled widely, showing all her fangs.

“Oh, how terrifying!” Mr. Dragon opened the door a little wider. “Is that the princess under the bed, visiting my old cave? I’d better show her my best tricks.”

Aspen giggled. “It’s me, Aspen. I want to see your best tricks, please.”

And so Mr. Dragon breathed fire in the shape of spiders and bats. He said a spell and one of the firebats was cool enough to sit on her hand for a few seconds before it flew off with the others, fading away into the bright sky. Aspen applauded until her paws hurt.

Mr. Dragon bowed and smiled, and then he shuffled back inside. His door clicked shut. Aspen didn’t feel nervous any longer. She raced to the next house with her mom following behind.

Hours later, her plastic pail was full of treats. She’d collected brussel sprouts and broccoli and cauliflower and cabbage and radishes and turnips. Even better, she’d seen so many amazing tricks.

The yetis built a snow maze that didn’t melt. The Scottish monsters could disappear and reappear and did a dance that seemed to take place in four dimensions. The vampires made the area around their house dark as night whenever someone knocked on their door. It was strange to stand on their front porch in the darkness and see daylight stretch like a curtain around the outside of their lawn.

The shadows were smaller and less scary by the time Aspen got home. She was so tired. She couldn’t remember ever staying up this late. Her dad took her pail and exclaimed over all the treasures.

“Daddy tax. I get all the brussel sprouts,” he declared.

Aspen gave him a stern princess glare. “That’s not fair. You can’t have all of them.”

“What a scary princess you are.” Dad grinned. “You win. We’ll share them.”

“And Mom too,” Aspen said. “Did you do tricks or treats this year?”

“Treats. We still have some peas left over. Maybe next year I’ll think of a good trick to do.” Dad gave her a hug. “It’s time to go to sleep. Do you need me to tuck you under the bed?”

Aspen hugged her mom and then stood up straight and tall. “I can brush my fangs and get to bed by myself. I’m the princess under the bed.” She started to walk away and then paused. “Could someone help me with my zipper?”

Charlie’s Room: Planning Ahead

One day, in the middle of dinner, Charlie suddenly grinned and set down his fork. “I have a great costume idea. Can we get some Miracle Grow?”

Marianne shrugged. “We have some in the shed. Did you need some extra large pumpkins or something?”

Charlie rolled his eyes. “Not that kind. I want the kind that grows hair fast. I want to grow a long beard by Halloween.”

“A beard?” Isaac chuckled. “You’re too young for a beard. Even if there was something for growing hair fast, it wouldn’t work for you.”

“I’m not a little kid.” Charlie scowled. “You always think I’m little, but I’m not.”

Marianne patted his shoulder. “Even teenagers have a hard time growing beards. You have to be a lot older than that to grow a long beard.”

Charlie slumped in his chair. “No way. There goes my great idea.” Then he sat up again, looking hopeful. “Do they make chin wigs? I could wear a chin wig.”

“A fake beard?” Marianne smiled. “They do. There’s all sorts of fake beards. What kind do you have in mind?”

“I want a long, gray beard.” Charlie sat up and pretended to run his hand through a long beard. “You know, like the time-traveling wizard in the dinosaur movie.”

“That’s a great idea. I could make you a gray robe like his, and I’ll bet your dad could help you figure out how to make a hat that would look like his.” Marianne pointed to his fork. “Keep eating. I want to work out in the garden while we still have some sunlight. You may not want giant pumpkins for your costume, but I plan on winning the neighborhood jack-o-lantern contest again this year, and home grown pumpkins are always better.”

Charlie picked up his fork. “What will you carve this year?”

“It’s a secret.”

Charlie pouted. “I’m not going to tell anyone.”

“A secret stays a secret if it never gets told. Keep eating.”

Isaac was still thinking about fake beards. “Do you think we could make one with gray yarn?”

“Make what?” Marianne looked confused. “I don’t use outside materials in my finished jack-o-lanterns, you know that. I like them traditional.”

“No, a beard.” Isaac rubbed his chin. “Wouldn’t it be fun to make our own?”

“But how would we get it to stick to my chin?” Charlie thought for a moment. “Is there wig glue?”

“I don’t know. Maybe we could attach it to your hat.”

Charlie shook his head. “Then it would come off whenever I raised my hat to all the people in dinosaur costumes. That’s part of the fun.”

“Well, we have time to figure that out,” Marianne said. “It’s a good thing we’re starting to think about this so early. You’ll have a better costume since we have time to plan.”

“We have a good start already. Maybe your mom and I should plan our costumes too.”

Marianne frowned. “But I don’t want to dress up.”

Charlie waved his hands. “Wait. We may not have time for that. We haven’t discussed the hard part of my costume.”

“The beard isn’t the hard part? I don’t think the hat will give me too much trouble. I’ll make a cardboard and wire frame and use the same cloth as the robes. Some buttons and tassels and…”

“Not the hat,” Charlie interrupted. “I think you’re forgetting the best part of the costume. We need to build a time machine. I think that’ll probably take the rest of the month, and then we’ll have to make some test runs. Probably not all the way back to visit dinosaurs at first. We can start with Atlantis or ancient Egypt.”

“You want a time machine?” Marianne laughed. “That’s even less possible than growing a beard.”

“I can help you make one out of cardboard. You can paint it out on the back patio if you put down newspapers.” Isaac smiled.

Charlie scowled. “What fun is that? A chin wig and a cardboard time machine? I won’t be a time-traveling wizard at all. Not really.”

“Halloween is about pretending. Almost none of the costumes are real. Finish eating.” Marianne pointed to his fork again. Charlie sighed and took another bite.

“It’s a good thing, you know. Think of all of those clown costumes. What if they were real clowns?” Isaac grinned. Marianne and Charlie rolled their eyes in unison.

“If you help me grow the pumpkins, I’ll let you carve your own this year,” Marianne told Charlie.


“Of course. You’re not a little kid anymore, right?”

“That’s right.” Charlie grinned, then shoved the last few bites into his mouth at once and attempted to chew while barely able to close his mouth.”

“Maybe I spoke to soon.” Marianne laughed at Charlie’s glare. “Just kidding. But next time, you should probably take smaller bites. As soon as you’re done, we can take our plates to the sink and go out to the garden.”

After they left, Isaac cleared the table. He paused at the sink to look out the window. He smiled at the sight of his little family happily working together in the garden. All was right in the world. Who needs a time machine on days like this?

Charlie’s Room: Flying Brooms

Halloween was over, but Charlie’s costume was still hanging in his closet. “I can be a dinosaur all year,” he said. “Not just on Halloween. Dinosaurs can be part of any holiday. I can be a dinosaur on Thanksgiving and Christmas and New Years… It’s not like vampires or pumpkins or witches. Those are just for Halloween.”

Isaac put the book he was reading on the shelf. “It’s good that you picked such a versatile costume.”

“Yeah. It would be different if witches and wizards were real, though.” Charlie snuggled into his pillow. “If they were real, I’d get a flying broom for my costume and I’d use it every day, not just holidays. Do you think they’d ever invent flying brooms?”

Isaac settled back into his chair. “I’m not sure about flying brooms, but I saw a flying vacuum cleaner once.”

Charlie laughed. “Dad, that’s just silly. There’s no such thing as flying vacuums.”

Raising an eyebrow, Isaac asked, “Did you want to hear the story or not?”

Charlie stopped laughing. “Please tell me the story. I’m sure it’s five hundred percent true. Maybe even six hundred percent.”

“Let’s not get crazy. It’s only two or three hundred percent true.” Isaac and Charlie laughed, and then Isaac sat up a little straighter in the chair. “It all happened a long time ago on a dark and stormy night. I was driving home from a business trip, but it was raining so hard that I could barely see the road.”

“How long ago?” Charlie asked.

“I don’t know. Several years at least,” Isaac said. “You weren’t in school yet, and I called you to tell you goodnight before I started driving.”

“So what happened?”

Isaac tapped his cheek with a finger. “Let’s see. The rain was pouring down and it was scary. I had to drive really slow so I wouldn’t drive off the road, and I couldn’t even tell if there were any other cars on the road. I knew I couldn’t keep driving like that.”

“What did you do? Charlie asked. “Did you find a place to stay? A hotel or a haunted house or something?”

“I decided to pull off to the side of the road and wait until the storm calmed down.” Isaac looked out the window. Moonlight glowed from a clear sky, so different from the storm he was describing. “Rain hammered on the roof of the car and the wind shook it. The sky lit up briefly, followed by the crack of thunder. Luckily, I was safe and dry in my car. I felt like I was all alone in the middle of the woods and that there was no one for miles and miles around. In some ways it was oddly peaceful.”

“There is a distinct lack of flying vacuums in this story,” Charlie said. “I feel cheated.”

Isaac laughed. “I’m getting there. As I said, I was in the middle of a terrible storm, but I felt safe and warm and peaceful, and so I fell asleep.”


“Really. And when I woke up, the storm was gone and the sky was clear, and a full moon was shining down, just like tonight.”

Charlie scooted to the edge of his bed to look out the window. “Wow. That’s pretty.”

Isaac nodded. “It is. And as I looked around, I realized that I must have made a wrong turn somewhere, because I had no idea where I was. So, I started my car and made a U-turn. And, as I paused, looking down the road to see if there were any turns ahead, something flew across the road, high enough to brush through the treetops.”

“Was it…?”

Isaac nodded. “That’s right. It was someone riding a flying vacuum cleaner. I only saw it for a few seconds, but I’m certain that’s what it was. The person riding it was all bundled up in a yellow raincoat with a matching hat, so I don’t know what they looked like, but the vacuum glowed in the light of the moon, and even from inside the car, I could hear it making that vroomy sort of vacuum sound.”

“But it wasn’t plugged in!” Charlie protested. “That doesn’t make sense. It shouldn’t have been making any sounds.”

“It shouldn’t have been flying either, I guess, if you go by what normal vacuums do,” Isaac pointed out. “But, it was flying and vrooming, like a big metal purring cat. If big metal purring cats could fly, of course.”

Charlie laughed. “That’s so silly. I would like a flying broom, though.”

“I think it sounds a bit uncomfortable,” Isaac said.

“I’d add a bicycle seat, I think.” Charlie settled back under his blankets. “But since there aren’t any flying brooms, I’m glad I dressed up as a dinosaur. That’s what I’ll be thankful for at Thanksgiving.”

“You can be thankful for lots of things at Thanksgiving.” Isaac stood up and turned out the lights. “We can make a list later.”

“Okay. ‘Night, Dad. I love you.”

“Good night. I love you too.”