Turn out the lights. The party's over.
My original baby - the one posing so sweetly at eleven months of age in a green polar fleece frog costume - is wearing THIS for Halloween:
Actually, this is just one of the costumes that he'll be wearing this year. The other costume will be homemade and is both simple and conceptual: combine a set of rubber prosthetic teeth and a flat paddle-shaped tail cut out of sandpaper and, BOOM, you have "Justin Beaver." Well, you have Justin Beaver if your child has a mop top like my first-born does. (I wasn't born yesterday, so fully understood that the Justin Beaver costume idea was carefully calculated to achieve two goals, the first being to buy his shaggy mane a haircut reprieve. The second goal? Yeah, we're in middle school now, and middle school girls like Justin Bieber, and girls in my son's class have taken note of the fact that my son has hair like Justin Bieber. Any questions?)
Full disclosure: I bought the light-up mummy getup for him, at the end of last season. It was on sale, and it struck me as a costume that might pass muster with a tween boy. It's lighweight, it's gruesome, it involves a scary mask, and did I mention that it lights up? And C has a thing for dressing up like a mummy, with each incarnation being scarier than the last. We started out as a the "Mummy in the Morning" from the Magic Treehouse book of the same name. Next was a scary version of Ramses straight out of one of those Brendan Fraser films. It was inevitable that we would graduate to "love child of Ramses and an extra from a George A. Romero film."
Meanwhile, my most recent baby has graduated to THIS:
For those of you who aren't glued to every episode of "Star Wars: The Clone Wars" or don't own a Clone Wars encyclopedia: first and foremost, good for you. As I sit in the living room of The Apartment watching the Rangers play Game 6 of the American League Championship Series, I have a clear sight line to the coffee table that the insurance company was sweet enough to rent for us. Displayed on the table's double-decker shelves are a handful of coffee table-type books that we deemed important enough to bring with us into exile. Right in the center, on the top shelf, there it is: "Star Wars: The Clone Wars, The Visual Guide." ("The Batman Encyclopedia" is on the bottom shelf - on top of our wedding album, as it happens. I really can't judge, as my must-have selections included "Hello, Cupcake!" and the sequel, "What's New, Cupcake?")
Anyway, if you have a working knowledge of SW:TCW, you know that Savage (pronounced SahVAHGE) Opress is Darth Maul's brother. You probably noted that, in the picture above, Mr. Opress is wielding a double-sided red light saber. If you have a working knowledge of SW:TCW, then you know that this puts him in the same coolness class as Asajj Ventress. Except that Asajj Ventress is a girl - so, correction, Savage Opress is cooler than Asajj Ventress, because, if you are a boy, YOU CAN DRESS UP LIKE SAVAGE OPRESS FOR HALLOWEEN. AND CONVINCE YOUR PARENTS TO GET YOU A DOUBLE-SIDED RED LIGHT SABER. Except - whoops - Super Target only had the regular model, and we decided to snap it up, if only as a backup, because (believe it or not) we got THE LAST SAVAGE OPRESS COSTUME ON THE SHELF (and the Target Web site indicates that the costume is out of stock online - making us wonder if the accessories to go with the costume would be similarly difficult to find). We told PJ to leave the light saber in its package, but - whoops again - THAT didn't happen. So now we can't return the single saber, which means that our impatient little Savage Opress will be rockin' the economy model, authenticity be damned.
I guess we can add to the growing list of things that our family of four has outgrown: "cute Halloween costumes." No more Bam-Bam Rubble (C, age 23 months) or Elmo (C, the following year), and no more pirates (PJ, last year), unless you're talking about truly menacing pirates. Zombie pirates, perhaps?
Oh, well - cute Halloween costumes are overrated, anyway. C's Bam-Bam costume, sewn for him by my mother out of the softest animal print fleece, went over like a lead balloon with toddler C. Reason: it was one-shouldered. "One-shouldered" does not compute with a toddler. He spent the entire day slipping in and out of the single strap. Fortunately, he was wearing a thermal tee underneath.
Elmo was no better. Mother of the Year over here forgot to insert the voice box into the costume, robbing C of his ability to generate "tickle me" phrases at the click of a button. Then someone gave my almost three year-old a lollipop. Here's a tip: red faux fur and lollipops don't mix. C licked the pop twice and then held it against the costume, sticking it to the fur. By the end of the night, we wasn't wearing a costume so much as occupying a storage unit for half-eaten sweets.
It doesn't surprise me that little brother is already gravitating to menacing costumes. After all, he is the (significantly) younger brother and therefore takes his cues from an older crowd. As noted above, C's first Halloween costume was an adorable frog. PJ's first costume? Evil medieval prince.
Big brother advises that the Savage Opress costume is economical, in that it is versatile. Wear the mask, and you're Savage; leave it off, and you're . . . um, one of the more humanoid Sith lords. One with brown hair. "The Visual Guide" wasn't much help in offering suggestions as to possible character profiles, so we went online and searched Google Images for brunette Sith baddies. The result: PJ's alternative costume (because, apparently, one is not enough) shall be "Darth Caedus," AKA Jacen Solo, AKA the child of Han Solo and Princess Leia. Who, like his parents, has dark hair.
Does this make me Leia? Do I need to wear cinnamon bun hair? Nah - I have my own costume in the works. Two, actually. Oh, crud - THAT's where they got it from.