An October 31 without costumes? No thanks! I love an excuse to get creative and costume up. Always have.
Hanging with college students for a living, I’ve found ample costume opportunities. Themed New Year’s Eve parties. Talent Shows. Lip Sync Battles. Staff Hunts.
Of course, Halloween is the gold standard. I most enjoy the challenge of DIY costumes. Adult costumes are far too expensive for my investment. Though, to be honest – once you total all the gently-useds and random supplies, a DIY can cost far more. Our Despicable Me year, I discovered how rare and pricey overalls actually were. The bits and pieces add up.
A DIY costume takes planning. Lists. Detailed sketches. Thrift store browsing. Attic rummaging.
And, at times, coordinating. I most enjoy disguising with others. Thankfully, I married a willing participant.
(Truth be told, he’s willing even solo! As a one-time bonus, watch Dennis-Anna-Hans in action. You won’t be disappointed.)
Our first Halloween dressing up together, I went as a gumball machine and Dennis as a foosball player. His costume involved both legs crammed in one pant-leg and his arms stuck straight out attached to a long pole. My costume was a clear trash bag filled with inflated balloons, from my thighs to my neck. Upon walking to our car, we discovered neither of us had access to our arms. Kind of a problem for driving to the costume party.
Like I said, advanced planning is a must.
With little additions to our family, the whole multi-player costume deal became even more fun.
This year, I started planning in August. Conceiving an idea. Convincing the kids. Convincing the husband. Sketches. A plan. A timeline.
But then I had to face reality: we just couldn’t pull it off. Our pre-Halloween months had no margin. School shopping happened on dot coms; there was no way I could pull off the necessary thrift store hunts. Potty training was in full swing; creative time was non-existent. School – both for the littles as well as the college crowd – was extra consuming in our first year back. Family costume was off the table.
When I trashed my sketches for this year’s costume, I felt like I was tossing a tradition. I felt like it said more than it did. Maybe this wasn’t our thing. Maybe we didn’t have what it takes. Maybe I was unrealistic to think we ever did. I was a little bummed.
Then came the questions. When’s the big Leskowski family costume reveal? No family costume this year? Who are you?!
Rubbing salt in an open wound? Nah. I took it as a compliment. A validation. This was kind of our thing. A creative outlet. A team project. A fun challenge. One people were expecting.
A year without didn’t change that. It affirmed it.
My wheels are already turning for 2017. Forget August. Family costume prep starts now. (Well, perhaps in a month or two when we’re actually finished unpacking, when the house project dust has settled and the tot is fully potty trained. Then, let the fun begin!)
Costumes aside, other things get temporarily put on hold. Sometimes life constructively edges out the extra, but pressing pause doesn’t have to mean sayonara. A brief hold doesn’t mean you aren’t cut out, it’s not your thing or you’ll never circle back. A break is a healthy chance to clarify intentions and refine priorities.
I’ve taken a good number of pauses in my life. Pauses in relationships. Pauses in difficult conversations. Pauses in routines. Pauses in my job. Breaks from social media, TV, spending and my phone. I’ve put hobbies on hold, ideas on a shelf, projects in the warmer.
It has given me a chance to take a step back. To say, is this really what I thought it was? Does it really fit? Is it worth it to me? Do I still want it, even when I’m no longer in the moment? A chance to take inventory on my priorities, values, dreams and convictions. Taking a year off of a tradition or some space from a situation can only bring more clarity and perspective.
I’m so good with the status quo. I easily shift into autopilot and move into default mode. A hiatus is what I need to show me what really matters. Even if the “what matters” ends up being a group of creatively-clad-characters parading around town searching for Kit-Kats.