How are your Halloween preparations going? Not applicable to your household? Lucky you.
At ours, two out of three kids seem to have outgrown it, and my husband is not too bothered if he spooks anybody any more on that day than any other day (kidding, honey, just kidding), but that still leaves our last born and, boy, does she make up for the others’ indifference. She can go from ‘normal’, yes, we still use this word, we like to court controversy, so anyway, it’s normal to world record stress and anxiety in ten seconds flat with our Lexi, and this week the subject is very much Halloween.
First, there is an issue of whether she has one Halloween event to attend or two.
A while ago she was vaguely invited to a Saturday night Halloween party at her best friend’s grandparents’ house, but as Saturday steadily approaches this has not been confirmed properly, so now Lexi is no longer sure whether she is invited or whether the party is indeed happening. I suggested texting the friend and asking, but Lexi just stared at me blankly not able to comprehend how I could be proposing something so awkward, so utterly out of the question. The second event, and this one at least is fully confirmed and straightforward, is good old trick-or-treating nearby on Halloween night proper.
The costume question first arose some weeks ago. Lexi does not do obvious or predictable. She does not go for conventional or easy either. That ruled out vampire girls, fangs, fake scars, cobwebs and witches hats from the start. In fact anything black, anything off the peg in our local Tesco Extra did not get a look in.
Lexi went for Jellyfish instead.
I must admit that when she first announced her decision in early September, I totally underestimated the seriousness of the situation. In fact, it did not fully register with me until weeks later Lexi started devoting considerable amount of time to searching for ‘transparent dome umbrellas’. A while later Amazon purchase was made and she became a proud owner of a blue rimmed, you guessed it, transparent dome umbrella. I hung it off a back of a chair in the living room and life went on as usual for a while longer.
Conversations with Lexi became progressively Jellyfish-centred about a week ago.
– What shall I use as tentacles?
– Ribbons or crepe paper?
– What colours should I use?
– Perhaps I could get fairy lights to wrap around the umbrella?
– Yeah, but then you will need to be plugged in somewhere all the time.
– No, daddy, they are battery operated these days.
– Lexi, how are you going to enjoy the party if you have to hold an umbrella above your head all the time?, her ever practical sister ventured.
– Oh, I didn’t think of it.
– So, when you don’t hold the umbrella up, what is you costume going to be like?
– A grey hoodie and leggings.
– Not very scary, then.
– No, not really, not without the umbrella.
Cracks began to appear on the surface of Lexi’s steely resolve. Her internal struggle was painful to watch. Nana was recruited onto the Jellyfish support team. Nana told her to go to Poundland and get a normal, oops, that naughty word again, Halloween costume and be a good Zombie girl.
The Jellyfish was not giving up without a fight.
At about the same time I started quoting all the slogans that cover every inch of Lexi’s walls back to her. Never give up on your dream. Do not let anybody tell you your dream won’t work. Only you can be the judge of it.
I was hoping to help her realise that she might be overthinking the issue. It had the opposite effect and it only reinforced Jellyfish’s resistance.
Still, an alternative idea sprouted in Lexi’s torn and confused mind, and it took the shape of Coraline, the eponymous heroine of that creepy button-eyed Disney film that caused nationwide nightmares and bed-wetting epidemic a few years ago.
The Coraline idea must have been inspired by a simple fact that Lexi owns a yellow raincoat, an indisputably Coraline-esque garment. Coraline also has blue hair. Ever-resourceful Lexi dug out a blue and white cat-patterned woolly hat with a pompom. Coraline has yellow wellies. Lexi has dark blue wellies, which still fit her, but only just, so it would be good to get some more use out of them, wouldn’t it?
A number of Coraline characters sport disturbing buttons in place of eyes. Lexi has a jar of big buttons she could carry around, possibly in her pocket, to keep her hands free, because otherwise what would be the point of swapping a jellyfish umbrella for a jar of buttons?
The white and blue hat really suits Lexi and those wellies, hat and raincoat give her a female Where is Wally look. She looks nothing like Coraline and I think she knows it.
She stares longingly at the blue-rimmed umbrella in the corner.
Jellyfish is far from dead in the water.
31st October 2017 Update below.