As any parent knows, Halloween is an exciting event in the life of a child.  The candy, staying out late, getting to dress up in the costume that’s been selected.  But every parent also knows that Halloween can be a stressful time.  Dealing with the brunt of the sugar high, checking for glass in the Smarties or drugs laced in the Snickers bars.  And above all, getting the child’s costume exactly right.  “No MOM!  I wanted a red cowboy hat,” or “those aren’t the same boots that Lady Gaga wears!”  It can be tiring to say the least, and I now know this stress firsthand.  I know this stress firsthand since it’s my first Halloween with my daughter, Lexie.
       I thought that I had gotten out ahead of the game when it came to Halloween and selecting the perfect costume for my child.  Not wanting to be the parent who puts the oxygen mask on their kid before putting it on themselves, I decided that I would be Kelly Kapowski early on.  Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to convince Lexie that she would make a great Screech.  “That’s fine,” I told her.  “There are aisles full of costumes at PetSmart.  We’ll go together, and you can pick something out for yourself.”
       Lexie was enthusiastic about this outing.  We went in early September to ensure that costumes would still be available in her size.  She had never gotten to choose a Halloween costume before, and she relished the freedom that I had given her.  Like any good parent, I had told her, “you can be whatever you want to be.”  She was ecstatic, and I was ecstatic when within ten minutes of being in the store, she proudly selected a unicorn suit.  “Are you sure, Lexie?” I asked, just to make sure she was happy with her choice.  “Yes, mom,” she declared proudly, “I’m going to be a unicorn.”  “Ok,” I said, “good choice.”  I proceeded to show her costumes for princesses, pumpkins, and cheerleaders before leaving the store.  I wanted to make sure she had seen all of the options, but she was thrilled about being a unicorn.  I had a decisive kid on my hands, and I couldn’t have been more satisfied with her selection if I had picked out the costume myself.  We took it home for a fitting.
         To our chagrin, it turns out that Lexie wears a size small, not an extra-small.  She was embarrassed.  I assured her that it was ok, but this news came on the heels of her finding out that she’s much larger than the standards set by the American Kennel Club for a “desireable” maltese.  It was hard to handle.  We returned the costume for a small, and things seemed to be on the upswing.  She tried on the costume for her grandparents, and everyone seemed happy.  Lexie lapped up the positive attention that she received as a unicorn.
        Since this weekend is the week before Halloween, I asked Lexie if she’d like to wear her costume to the Barktoberfest event happening nearby.  “Sure!” she responded, just as enthusiastically as before.  “I’d love to wear my costume.”  I put it on her and we headed outside, and that’s when her attitude started to shift.  The hood of the store-bought costume either fell directly over her eyes or off of her head entirely, and the hole put in place for her leash didn’t match up with the alignment of her harness.  She wasn’t happy.  “I don’t want to be a unicorn anymore,” she told me sadly.  “Can I pick out something else to wear?”
       With only one week before Halloween, I felt that finding something new at this point would be a very tall order.  Besides, Lexie had made her choice.  She wanted to be a unicorn, and I had already bought her the unicorn costume.  Just because it wasn’t perfect, I felt that she should follow through with her selection, but since it’s our first Halloween together, I also didn’t want anything to tarnish the memory.  I decided that I would let her put a list together of other costumes that she might be interested in and take her to the store to try them on.  Here are the snapshots from our trip.  You’ll never guess what she settled on…

Lexie has often heard the term, "Cotton States," since she hails from Tennessee...

Lexie tries on a cotton costume

She didn't know if she really wanted to be cotton, and Lexie likes the sun, but she's also taken interest in the fluffy white objects in the sky. "Maybe I can be a cloud" ...

Lexie as a cloud

Lexie didn't think a cloud was really for her, but she thought maybe a farm animal costume would be a good choice.

Here she is as a lamb

"A lamb is a little too docile," she said. "I want to be something bigger and stronger... like a polar bear!"

Lexie finds a polar bear costume on one of the shelves!

"Hmm... if I'm going to be an animal," Lexie thought, "maybe I should be a TV character like my mom is going to be."

Here is Lexie as her favorite TV character - Happy from "7th Heaven"

"I don't know about TV," she said, "I'm kind of more into movies these days. How about Falcor from Neverending Story?"

"This Falcor costume is nice," she said, "but maybe a more classic character would be even better..."

"I think I'm going to be the Abomidable Snowman!"

Lexie looks great in the abomidable snowman costume, but then she thought maybe she should be something even more synonymous with classic Halloween.

"Look at this ghost costume!" she exclaimed.

"It fits me perfectly!"... "but you know what mom?" she said. "I think I want to be a unicorn again."

"The unicorn costume is the prettiest one of them all."

"I wanted to be a unicorn all along!"