One of our Halloween traditions involves making costumes at the last possible minute. My long time readers know that I can make a pirate costume in fifteen minutes. But this year, I decided to be pro-active and help With-a-Why make his costume ahead of time. We started on Thursday, days ahead of time.
I know there are crafty parents who can whip out a sewing machine and make some kind of spectacular costume. I've met people like that. I am not one of them. I am the parent who will help my child hastily assemble a costume out of stuff we've got lying around the house. I trust the crowd at the Halloween parade to have a little imagination. And if people aren't imaginative enough to appreciate a homemade costume, it is NOT MY FAULT.
With-a-Why said he wanted to be a robot. Not any robot, though. Boy in Black convinced him that he wanted to be Bender. Some of you readers might already know this, but Bender is the robot on the animated television show Futurama, a show that apparently does not count as a television show in my house because Boy in Black downloaded episodes and watched them on the computer. See, it's not a television show if you don't watch it on a television. A convenient loophole in the summertime no-television rule. And Boy in Black converted With-a-Why to a Futurama fan by claiming that they were doing some brotherly bonding at the computer. He's got the idea that I will just cave in whenever I hear the word bonding.
The idea of making a costume to imitate something on a TELEVISION SHOW pained me deeply. But I decided to sacrifice my own ideals because my son seemed excited about the idea. And besides, I was tired, and the costume seemed like a simple one. A robot, I figured, was a classic Halloween costume, one that I remembered from my own childhood. And of course, I figured that Boy in Black would help, and it would be a good bonding experience.
Every good Halloween costume begins with duct tape, and we had a whole roll of grey duct tape from the dollar store. A helpful blogger suggested aluminum foil, and soon we were on a roll.
Making a costume with little kids is really fun because you can impress them with simple skills. Making a costume in a roomful of teenagers is somewhat different. Here is how our conversation went:
Me: Okay, let's just cut this poster board in two and wrap it in aluminum foil. I'll put strings on so they hang in front and back.
Boy in Black: But that's a rectangle!
Me: Yeah ... so what?
Boy in Black: You can't have rectangles. Bender is made of cylinders.
Me: (Glaring) Use your imagination.
With-a-Why: (in a robotic voice) I am Bender. Please insert Girder.
Me: Oh, that's good. You sound like a robot.
Shaggy Hair: Oh, you might not want him talking like Bender.
Me: What? Let's everyone be supportive here.
Boy in Black: What are you doing now?
Me: If I wrap the arms of his shirt in duct tape, they will look just like cylinders. Exactly. Like. Cylinders.
Boy in Black: I am not sure about the aluminum foil.
Me: What? It looks great.
Boy in Black: Bender is not made of aluminum.
With-a-Why: He is 30 percent iron, 40 percent dolamite.
Boy in Black: 40 percent ungsten.
With-a-Why: Don't forget the .04 percent nickel impurity.
Me: That is more than 100 percent.
Boy in Black: (patiently) Yes, that is why it's funny.
Shaggy Hair: She just doesn't get the funny parts of the show.
Boy in Black: The aluminum foil makes him look like the Tin Man from the Wizard of Oz.
Shaggy Hair: Or leftovers maybe.
Me: (Silent glare.)
Boy in Black: (hastily) Oh, the aluminum foil is a great idea. Just. Perfect.
With-a-Why: What are you doing?
With-a-Why: (to his brothers, in shock and horror) She is putting her leg in my shirt!
Me: I just need to hold the fabric out so that the duct tape won't be on too tight.
With-a-Why: You expect me to wear that now?
With-a-Why: After your leg has been in there?
Me: Don't be ridiculous.
Shaggy Hair: How are you going to get that off?
Me: Ahhhh! Someone help pull this off my leg!
Me: I've got a shirt stuck on my leg with duct tape.
Daughter: (laughing) What?
Me: I am helping With-a-Why with his Halloween costume.
Daughter: What? Are they having the party and parade tomorrow? On Friday? That doesn't make sense.
Me: We are making the costume ahead of time.
Daughter: AHEAD OF TIME? You've never done that before.
Me: Ahhhh. I am going to just rip this off.
Daughter: What is he going to be?
Me: That robot from Futurama.
Daughter: Oh, that is so cute.
Daughter: (to roommate) My little brother is going to be Bender.
Daughter: I ought to bring him to a frat party. They would love him here. I could just see him playing beer pong.
Me: He is even talking in a robot voice.
Daughter: Yeah, you might not want him talking like Bender.
Me: What? AHHH. I CAN'T GET THIS SHIRT OFF MY LEG.
Daughter: Can you check my closet for that black dress I wore to the piano recital? I've got a Halloween party tonight and I am going to be Cruella DeVille.
Me: I can't walk right now.
I hand off the phone to someone else.
Me: Okay, let's stuff the arms and legs with newspaper while we put on the duct tape. The leg thing didn't work so well.
With-a-Why: I can't get this over my head.
Boy in Black: Too. Much. Duct. Tape.
Blonde Niece: Duct tape has a non-metallic luster. I am not sure how I feel about that.
Me: (ignoring everyone) I think he looks just like a robot.
Blonde Niece: Shouldn't it look like metal?
Me: It's in the future. Use your imagination!
Me: (to With-a-Why) Try walking and talking like a robot.
With-a-Why: (in a robot voice) Up yours, chump!
Shaggy Hair: Uh, that is how Bender talks.
With-a-Why: (in a robot voice) Kiss my shiny metal ass.
Boy in Black: Maybe you ought to be a silent robot. I'm not sure the nuns at school are ready for Bender.
With-a-Why: (in a robot voice) I am taking the next pimp-mobile out of here.