Sunday, October 31, 2010

Happy Halloween!

We made it to two months! We had to buy roundtrip flights when we moved here and thus have 3 tickets from Costa Rica to San Francisco for next week. I'm happy to report, however, that we will not be using them. We're gonna stick it out.

Monday marks the official beginning of the dry season. The "high" season. Stores and restaurants we've never seen will begin opening their doors next week, the rains will taper down, and the tourists will start to arrive. It will be an interesting transition to watch and live.

But this weekend, it's Halloween! Yes, you are absolutely correct, Costa Rica as a country does not celebrate Halloween. Nosara, however, does. Sort of. If you don't have kids or can get a babysitter you can head over to the Gilded Iguana for food and drinks and live music, then gather up your sequins and tiaras and caravan to La Banana for the afterparty (disco ball and DJ from 10 pm on). For kids, not so much. Trick or treating around the neighborhoods? Nope. None of that. But if you have kids at Del Mar Academy, you costume them up and head to Paseo del Sol.

Paseo del Sol is a small gated residential community near the school. The residents and volunteers from the school and the community generously and kindly put together a yearly Halloween event for the kids at the school. Naturally Sadie was super excited. Like most kids, she loves Halloween and if she couldn't have Gilbert Street this year, she'd have Paseo del Sol!

Truth be told however, Halloween in general tends to cause me more than a little bit of anxiety. It's the pressure. Yes, I do have over fifteen years of experience costuming Halloween party goers at a vintage clothing store in Berkeley (yes, of course I can make you into a slutty flapper/manly pirate). But now, as a mom, I have a major fear of Halloween failure. What if my child requests to be something that will require me to dig deep for some creativity and DIYness!?! What if I have to make something!?! Around August, I start pestering Sadie for what she wants to be for Halloween, in order to give myself plenty of time to worry, stress, and, most importantly, spend time on various Martha Stewartish websites studying directions for how to make ears or tails or robot parts or a tiger face (thank goodness I became a mother in the age of the internet). I try to push her towards costumes that require virtually nothing on my part (How about a flamenco dancer with that dress you already have? How about you just wear your ballet clothes and go as a famous ballerina?). Sometimes this tack works but, more often than not, she has no idea what she wants to be until a few days before when she announces she'd like to be a "snow scarf queen" or some such terror-inducing (for me) impossible-to-get-right costume. The one year she went as Angelina Ballerina and I made her ears and the tail I was so full of pride that I wanted her to wear that costume every day for the rest of her life.

You get the point. I'm not effortlessly crafty like so many of you out there. So, here we are in Costa Rica. Not knowing if there was going to be any Halloween activities here and trying to keep our luggage to the minimum, we didn't bring anything with us (except for ballet clothes - you can guess how far that suggestion went). Of course there is no Target here, no Super Longs, no place to buy pipe cleaners or glitter or material or face paint. I start to sweat.

Sadie's first choice was a vampire. Okay, I can work with that. Black clothes, red lipstick for blood, um.... I spend a day or two looking up pictures of vampires on the internet, wondering how far away from the classic look I can convince Sadie to go. A few days before Halloween she changes her mind and wants to be a bat. A vampire bat. Okay, okay, I can do this. We can do this.

And we did!

Sadie and I make a complete bat costume from a black umbrella, an old black t-shirt we cut up, a black hat, safety pins, tape, and a cardboard box. Yes, we are very proud. Sadie wants Ian and I to carry her around upside down from a stick so I get the fabulous idea for us to dress up like trees. I send Ian to an adjacent tree with the machete, stick branches in our hats, make leaf bracelets, dig up some brown clothes, and we are good to go!

Except Sadie gets sick. She is sent home from school Thursday with a runny nose and by Saturday the cold is deep in her lungs, we have broken out the albuterol inhaler, and she is running a low grade fever. But this is Halloween! She'll be so disappointed to miss out on the one thing that everyone at school is doing! We make her rest all day, fill her up with tea and vitamin C and water, and hope for the best. At 4:30 we dose her with some Robitussin I find in the fridge, apparently left by the previous renters (the good stuff, the stuff for kids they no longer sell in the States for reasons I choose not to recall). Hoping the mystery bottle in the fridge really is Robitussin, ignoring the fever, praying the cough will subside enough for her to say "trick or treat" without hacking, and admonishing her to not touch anybody, we get our costumes on and head out the door. Responsible parenting at its best. But did I mention that we made her black candy bag out of a t-shirt and that it even had handles? And we were mango trees! We had to go!

They put on a lovely event at Paseo del sol. The costumes on the kids and the adults were wonderful and creative and there were 7 or so homes to trick or treat at. Sadie made it to one walkway hanging upside down from our arms but quickly realized: 1) it's hard to figure out how to hold a bag right side up when you are upside down, and; 2) going upside down when you have a bad cold and a fever really doesn't feel very good. She hit the other houses right side up, but rest assured didn't miss a one. At the end of the street, music was blasting and beer and pizza were being sold to benefit the school's scholarship committee. Not hungry for pizza of course, Sadie had a lollipop and a cookie for dinner (again, responsible parenting) and stood rather dazed in the street while the other kids played tag around her until we convinced her it was time to go home. The candy went in the fridge and the bat was asleep by 7:30.

I'm hoping that since the costume only got 1 hour of display time, maybe I can convince her to wear it again next year.

Happy Halloween everyone!


  1. Possibly the best trio of costumes ever! Certainly beats out the Buzz Lightyears and fairy somthings we had knocking at our door last night...good work!

  2. Fantastic costume! I'm happy so far that our kids don't really know what Halloween is and just how far you really can go with costumes. They were "ballerinas" if they wanted to get the candy- and they were happy to do it. But each year I will be taxed with challenges beyond my abilities and/or materials. However, on the plus side- they have to give me several months' notice. It's in my contract. I checked.