The competition for the Best Group Costume prize was fierce this year. The defending champions, a team that included all of Red-haired Sister's family, plus my parents, me, and With-a-Why, chose "Alice in Wonderland" as their theme. My sister and her kids spent weeks making the costumes. Dandelion Niece looks like Alice even before she puts on a blue dress, and we figured her cuteness would gain us all kinds of points. My father was typecast as the Mad Hatter, while my mother made a glamorous Queen of Hearts. Tie-dye Brother-in-law good-naturedly donned a white rabbit suit, while Suburban Nephew made his own costume — a playing card. My sister turned into a rose bush, I became a stoned caterpillar, and With-a-Why wore a glow-in-the-dark smile as the Cheshire cat. We thought we had the coveted Golden Gourd award in the bag.
But the teenage/young people group, who went with a Star Wars theme, had their own secret weapons. First, there was a robot that Boy in Black built Thursday night, all from junk he found in our garage. He used the wheels from a skateboard. He fitted a red light from a broken remote control. He mounted an iPod and speakers so that it played Star Wars music. And he taped a cell phone inside so that it could talk on command. (Yes, apparently R2D2 says, "That's What She Said" now.) And second, the group had numbers: my three oldest kids, plus four extras. Quick happens to look just like Hans Solo anyhow. And Philosophical Boy stood patiently for hours while they used gold wrapping paper to turn him into C3PO. But some say that what got the group the most votes was a simple trick: the gender switch. Sailor Boy dressed as Princess Leia while my daughter dressed as Luke Skywalker. "People like to see skin," Sailor Boy explained, as he sauntered past his girlfriend's aunts, uncles, and grandparents.
Princess Leia and Luke Skywalker pose for the blog.