After a year off, our boys decided they want to go trick or treating this Halloween. Because — in their words — “why would we eat your homemade Rolo-stuffed snickerdoodle cookies, when there’s lots of free chocolate we could get?”
Is it wrong that I hope they get nothing but pretzels and Jolly Ranchers when they make the trek through our neighborhood this October 31?
On Saturday after my son Nick’s football bowl game, we went to Party City to make costume selections. Much to my husband’s annoyance, I had painted a royal blue paw on my face in support of Nick’s team for the game. I saw another mom in the store with not only face paint, but sparkles in her face paint. I said to my husband, “at least I don’t go that crazy.” My husband grumbled back something to the effect of “any crazy is still crazy.”
While I searched the store for white M&Ms for a baking project, my husband took charge of the costume procurement. After an unsuccessful search for M&Ms, I returned to the back of the store, which was pretty much a costume clusterfuck, late Saturday afternoon, just 6 days before Halloween.
Nick was busy trying to select which ninja he would like to be. I scanned the photos of the costumes on the wall. When I noticed the prices, I remarked “I can make you a ninja costume out of a black bedsheet. We can spend the $40 we’d save on whatever chocolate you want.”
I asked my husband where Alex was, and he said “Oh, he’s already picked his. Alex, come show mom your costume.”
And Alex showed me the package, which had this picture on it:
At which point I may have snapped my head in the direction of his dad and hissed:
My husband looked at me like this:
And said “what the hell is wrong with this thing … (grabbing the costume package from Alex and reading the name) … this SlenderMan thing?”
I muttered at my husband, “those girls…stabbing…a friend…inspired by SlenderMan,” was the best I could do through clenched teeth. Alex was puzzled, having no idea why this black and white costume with the funny long fingers was causing such an issue.
“I don’t think it’s a big deal,” my husband said. “He doesn’t even know about that.”
Luckily, my head didn’t explode and I was able to respond. Not through clenched teeth. Not because I was PMSing (ok, I was, but that’s not why this had lit my fuse). Not because I’m the meanest mom ever. Not because I was trying to be difficult and prolong the shopping experience for my husband, who didn’t want to buy costumes anyway.
But because this costume represents something that was related to a story so vile…so mind-numbing…so unbelievable. And so close to home, given that the perpetrators of the horrific crime were the same age as my son.
And my 12 year old son was not going to glorify that in any way. Nor was anyone responsible for SlenderMan going to profit from my purse.
I turned to my son and explained — more calmly than I felt — “Alex, this costume is related to a very bad story in the media. Some young kids your age used this character as a role model in a disgusting way to hurt one of their friends. And I can’t in good faith let you go out dressed like this for Halloween.”
My husband quietly said “go pick something else, Alex.”
And without any complaining (aside from how long it would take to get the new selection since there were so many people also in desperate search of a costume), Alex picked a ninja morph suit.
Some may call me a real party pooper. And to them I say, I’ll take being a party pooper any day, over being someone who doesn’t give a shit at all.