Back in the days before kids — before late-night feedings and early-morning wake ups made us all think twice before agreeing to go partying on a Saturday night — halloween costume shopping was an annual rite of passage. I remember spending hours trying on different disguises, fiddling with make-up, and generally planning a night I’d only be able to partially recall the morning after.
For the costumes themselves, there were a few, basic criteria:
– Is the costume cute enough to compare with all the other semi- and scantily clad people?
– Can you see NSFW cleavage or serious leg? Or better yet, both?
– Can you stash your ID and a credit card somewhere so that you don’t have to lug around a purse that you’re more than likely to leave in a random washroom at three in the morning?
– Does it show off the fact that you’ve been going to the gym/hired a personal trainer/ been planning all your meals in meticulous detail for the last six months?
But now that we’re parents, the criteria have changed. Now, these are the primary considerations:
– Are my kids’ costumes cute enough to be instagram-worthy? Do we look like everyone is happy and getting along in our family snappy, even if it took blood, sweat, and bribery to get everyone ready?
– Will my four year lift up the dress and expose the spanx I’m wearing to keep everything sucked in?
– Can I carry the diaper bag, the snack kit, the sippy cups, the BYOB bottle, the Pinterest-inspired appies, and the four other costumes my kids will insist on wearing?
– Does the costume adequately hide the fact that I haven’t set foot in the gym since my first kid was born and now subsist entirely on a diet of coffee, dropped goldfish crackers and leftover chicken nuggets? oh and wine, lots of wine, my go-tos being: “screamed all day shiraz”, “meltdown merlot”, and “won’t stop whining white”.
It’s not all negative though.
In the pre-baby days, we’d wake up at 3 p.m. the day after feeling about as greasy and bloated as the reheated pizza we’d eat for brinner (that’s a thing, right?) and swear off the costume party scene for at least another year.
But now with littles in tow, there’s no more worries about being hungover: we’re invariably back home by eight and tucked in bed by ten p.m. on account of having to be up at the crack of dawn the next morning and ready for their gymnastics/hockey/swimming classes.