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A tale of Halloween costume regret


I made a huge mistake last Halloween. I agreed to take the kids to one of those pop-up Halloween stores. It might not have been a total disaster except ... I was tired and had a headache.

They caught me at the ultimate weak moment. I was too cranky to put up much of a fight when they begged for overpriced costumes and accessories. I just wanted to get out of that store and away from the loud, animatronic zombies that kept startling me.

I ended up spending $100 on two cheaply made costumes! One. Hundred. Dollars! I stood at the register, disgusted with myself as I swiped my debit card, but it was too late to do anything. I’d said yes, they were overjoyed and I was thoroughly irritated. At least I was getting out alive.

But the Halloween costume regret was just beginning.

Our son (who was seven at the time) chose a Ghostbusters costume, which I had to admit, I liked because I love all of those movies.

It had beige coveralls with an inflatable proton pack to strap on his back and a flimsy, inflatable gun thing — whatever they used to shoot at the ghosts — that Velcroed onto the pack. The only handmade element was that I took a few minutes to embroider “Clarke” onto the chest of the coveralls so he’d look just like Peter Venkman and the others.

Our daughter (who was five at the time) had fallen in love with a Monster High costume. Sigh. I do not like Monster High.

For those of you who have managed to get to this point in your life without knowing what Monster High is, it’s basically this generation’s The Addams Family meets Glee. They’re like Bratz dolls who died. They’re weirdly inhuman teenagers in spooky, overly sexy outfits.

So, our five-year-old insisted on being someone called Draculaura. We also bought the matching pink wig, naturally. I mean, I did spend $100 in that store! #nevershopwithaheadache.

Halloween night rolled around and suddenly our son had a change of heart. He missed our usual handmade costumes and wanted to make his own ... two hours before we left for trick-or-treating. My husband lost it — knowing how much I’d spent on the Ghostbusters costume — and tried to make him wear it, but there were tears. I didn’t want to ruin the holiday for all of us, so I threw my hands up and said he could wear whatever he wanted. (At least he’d already worn the Ghostbusters costume to the school’s family dance.) And so, he proudly trick-ortreated in the following: an old, pale blue sheet and a crayoncoloured paper mask of a pumpkin.

I learned my lesson and we will not be returning to the popup Halloween store to run wild this year. At least, not if I have a headache.

Heather Laura Clarke is a freelance journalist who married her high school sweetheart. They moved from the city to the country, where they spend their days making messes and memories with their eight-year-old son and six-year-old daughter. Follow their family’s adventures over at

To avoid paying a high price tag again for Halloween costumes, Heather Laura Clarke is going to stick with homemade costumes this year.

Heather Laura Clarke

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