Dressed to Kill

Halloween Party 2009 012

Every autumn, as I reconstructed our home after three months of child infestation, my daughters settled into their school classes and thoughts turned to Halloween. More specifically, thoughts turned to Halloween costumes.

I’d load my girls into the minivan and we’d attack the pattern books at Joann fabric, looking for the perfect costumes. (These pattern books weighed approximately 450 lbs. and had to be moved carefully or they would fall off the narrow perch and crush your hip bones.)

Costumes ranged from Disney princesses to Death, and each outfit had to last for decades because they were worn all the time and handed down for generations. (For example, one daughter, dressed as Snow White, shredded the hem of her gown under the plastic tires of her Big Wheel. Her dress looked like Snow White had been attacked by a pack of very short raccoons. She still wore it every day.)

After finding the right pattern, we’d roam the aisles, looking for fabric that didn’t cost the equivalent of an actual Disney movie.

During my costume-making tenure, I created all of the Disney princesses, a cheerleader, Super Girl, a lion, a pumpkin and several witches. (Sidenote: A witch costume in 1990 consisted of a long black dress, a long black cape, long black hair, a black hat and a broomstick. Now a witch costume is a black miniskirt, fishnet stockings and a push-up bra. I have no idea how to fly a broom in that outfit.)

Speaking of slutty clothes, my daughters were often pushing the envelope when it came to modesty. According to my daughter, her belly dancer’s shirt was too long, so (when I wasn’t around) she rolled it up several times to display her 10-year-old abs, and the gypsy Esmeralda’s blouse kept “accidentally” falling off her shoulders.

Daughter number three used her Cinderella costume as a method of seduction as she walked up and down our driveway in her slappy plastic high heels, flirting with the men building the garage. Did I mention she was four?

During another Halloween, she wanted to be Darth Maul. I made her costume, painted her face, but refused to put horns on her head. She grew her own devil horns a few years later.

By Oct. 20, all my intentions to create the perfect Halloween costume for each daughter devolved into madness as I frantically sewed to have everything done for the school’s Halloween parade (which is now the Fall Festival).

My Singer sewing machine would be thrumming 24-hours a day as I slowly lost my mind. I’d throw boxes of cold cereal at them for dinner, while I shrieked, “I’m making these costumes because I love you. Now shut the hell up!”

Once Halloween was over, costumes went into a big box and were worn by my daughters and their friends all year. At any given moment, a girl wearing Beauty’s voluminous yellow ball gown would be chasing Super Girl through the living room, with a toddler-sized Jack-o’-lantern nipping at their heels.

My daughters have carried on the costume tradition. My grandchildren have been garden gnomes, Austin Powers, a unicorn, and even an 18-month-old Betty Boop. It makes my black Halloween heart smile.

Now, my Singer gathers dust and I haven’t looked through pattern books for years, but every October my fingers twitch and I fight the urge to take my girls to browse fabric aisles. I wonder what my husband is doing this weekend. He’d make a beautiful Disney princess.

 

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Traffic Control

brakes

I’ve avoided writing a traffic blog, because complaining about traffic is such a cliche. But instead of bitching about how most Utah drivers graduated from the Fast and Furious Driving School for Sexually-Repressed Individuals, I thought I’d explain some of the rules for the most common violations.

Maybe drivers aren’t intentionally causing mayhem on the roads, maybe they’re just dumbasses. Here’s a quick refresher course for driving safely (and courteously) on the roads.

Red lights: This device, originally intended to stop traffic, is now used as a panhandling kiosk. If you actually stop your car at a red light, you must avoid eye contact with the person holding the “Anything helps” sign.

Solid White lines: Don’t cross a solid white line unless it’s clear, because sneaky sons-of-bitches like to cross the line behind you so you can’t merge safely.

Merging:

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4-way stops: If you’re not sure how to navigate a 4-way stop, just drive your sorry ass back home and throw your driver’s license in the garbage disposal.

Cell phones: Unless you’re a death-row inmate, waiting for a pardon from the governor, there is no reason to be on your phone while driving. And if you’re a death-row inmate talking on a phone in the car, you’ve obviously escaped, stolen the nearest Honda Accord and are taking one last joy ride. Hang up and enjoy it.

Kids or Dogs Driving: Isn’t it cute how little Baby Boy is sitting on daddy’s lap, steering the vehicle? Ain’t it funny how  Fido perches on mommy’s thighs, while sticking his head out the window to bark at passing cars? Snap out of it! You don’t live in a freakin’ Disney movie. Babies and kids can’t drive. Use some adulting for cryin’ out loud.

Hopefully, this refresher course will keep you safe on the roads. Buckle up, my friends.