The boys fell in love with Calvin and Hobbes just over a year ago.
Years ago I bought a whole series of Calvin and Hobbes books. I adored the comic strip in the 90’s, and so I wanted them to have the option to fall in love with them as well. The books sat and collected dust for quite some time. Last year, BigBrother pulled one of the books off the shelf during one of those mandated “Please Go Read a Book While I Cook Dinner So I Can Stop Tripping Over You” moments. I heard his giggles from the kitchen and smiled. Shortly after, LittleBrother learned that the books were easy enough for him to read as well, and the two of them spent hours poring over the words and the illustrations. They turned boxes into transmogrifiers and time machines. Their stuffed monkeys underwent a name change and became two Hobbes, faithful companions.
I couldn’t have been happier. You have dreams of your children liking something that you liked, but you also don’t want to force it. Knowing that they discovered the wonderful world of imagination and tigers and little boys with big words on their own makes me so, so happy.
In early September, I let the boys know they needed to finalize their Halloween costume decisions so purchases could be made. The conversations about Halloween 2013 started while we were trick-or-treating in 2012. Deciding on a costume is Very Important Business. I really thought I might end up with two ninja this year as Ninjago rules our playtime as of late. They talked about lots of different ideas in the weeks leading up to Final Decision Time, so I was astounded when they told me that they wanted to be Calvin and Hobbes for Halloween.
But I didn’t argue or ask questions. I ran with it.
You see, the best and worst thing about Calvin and Hobbes is that Bill Watterson never commercialized. No costumes. No stickers. No coloring books. No toys. No games. Nothing. Meaning that anything you want to do Calvin and Hobbes related needs to come from that creative place, deep down inside your soul; the place that both Calvin and Hobbes would want you to go to in the first place. You know, the creative place that is somewhat lost or broken somewhere inside my soul. I Googled and scoured Pinterest and reached deep, deep down.
I purchased a tiger footie not-quite-pajamas, not-quite-a-costume from a sale on Zulily (with a credit, so I spent a total of $6.00!). I set friends on the search for a red and black striped shirt, rejoicing when Amanda found a sweater (for $4.00!); I figured a sweater would be best because October in Ohio is rather unpredictable. We let BigBrother grow out his hair so it could be spiked to match Calvin’s hairstyle. I cut up a robe that FireDad got from BlogHer ’13 to make the Hobbes white belly and whiskers. We bought LittleBrother some white gloves and some face paint; he wore white garbage bags over his shoes to make white tiger feet and combat against the wet weather. BigBrother wore black pants he already owned.
Cheapest Halloween ever. Cutest Halloween ever.
Last night, as I added some final touches to the Hobbes costume, I started to worry. Again, I struggle with some of the creative aspects of parenting. I create awesome costumes (and other things) in my mind, but seeing them through to completion remains a struggle because I just don’t possess the right skill set to do some of the things I imagine. I found myself on Pinterest and Instagram last night and today, looking at other amazing, creative, and beautifully done Calvin and Hobbes costumes. I worried that the boys would feel inadequate or that their costumes weren’t really cool.
When I painted Hobbes’ face this evening and drew on his eyebrows, LittleBrother told me that his eyebrows looked “dumb.” I looked away, avoiding eye contact with my husband; I blinked back a tear. My grandmother and mother always worked together to create amazing, wonderful, handmade costumes every year as I grew up. I felt like I had failed my own kids, not being able to do the same.
I got to sit at the house this evening and hand out candy for the first time ever while the boys walked the neighborhood with FireDad. Very exciting! When the boys made their way back to our house, FireDad helped them get their wet shoes off on the front porch. As LittleBrother got out of his wet things, he said to me, “Mommy, I loved my costume. Thank you so much.”
And I cried into the candy bowl on my lap.
Yep. That makes these costumes the absolute best Calvin and Hobbes costumes ever. End of discussion.