Despite our best efforts to encourage a more interesting and unique costume, our 3 year old Bushbaby was bitten by the pink princess sparkle fairy bug and she has got the fever. Turns out that she has a mind of her own with a strong will to match. I was really hoping to trump last year’s Debbie Harry by following up with a wild haired, shawl draped Stevie Nicks. Thinking maybe this could be the start of a decade long series of 80s rock icons?! Annie Lennox? Tina Turner? Now this has potential. In reality, the window for imposing your own Halloween fantasies is a narrow one. Foolish of me to think I’d be choosing her costumes going forward. And the fairy did turn out pretty cute.
I knew last year would be hard to beat on many fronts. Halloween on Capitol Hill is a unique treat. Jack-o-lanterns flicker from every porch as swarms of bees, fairies, pirates and superheroes buzz from one brownstone to the next. The evening air carries just the right amount of chill to remind you of the seasons changing but with any luck makes no demands for a costume-altering coat over top. It’ll always feel strange to me south of the equator, especially this time of year, so filled with traditions and memories of growing up in the chilly midwest. In the southern hemisphere, the mercury rises as we head into the holidays.Up until the last possible moment she wavered between pink sparkle fairy and the ubiquitous Ice Queen, Elsa. I feared that after all of my work on her homemade costume she’d insist on a scratchy old princess dress. Tragedy for a mom who actually enjoys this sort of thing. In my experience, there are so few opportunities for EFMs (spouses of foreign service officers) to shine and costume making just happens to be a tiny source of pride for this one.
I used mostly things I had kicking around the studio or that the Bushbaby had in her closet. We picked up the unapologetically pink flowers at our neighborhood’s equivalent of a dollar store. I tacked them to an old pink tank top and a pair of shoes she no longer wears since they’re not pink. I made the wings by bending and twisting some wire into shape and securing fabric around the edges with a crude whipstitch. I added the glitter when after showing them to my girl with pride sparkling in my eyes, she looked at me and said, “They’re not pink enough.” The embassy did a tremendous job hosting a trick or treat party. There were nearly a hundred kids roaming the halls, filling their sacks one generous fistful of candy at a time. Offices replaced bulbs with red or black lights, piped in scary music and draped the cubicles with black gauzy fabrics and spider webs. It was just spooky enough to feel transformative. We rode the elevator to the top floor then circled our way back down to the basement.
After she filled her sack so full she could no longer carry it, we decided to take the party outside with a few other friends. They tore around the embassy grounds in a sugary blur. These memories we are making may lack the time worn traditions that I yearn to create for her but I know they’ll be happy ones. And now I’ve got a whole year ahead of us to talk her into how much fun it would be to channel Stevie for 2015.