How To Find What You Came Here For

Welcome to the worlds that populate my brain!
The short stories you find here are the product
of a vastly overactive imagination
powered by coffee and M&Ms.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

So You Wanna Be A Princess?

The costume was simple.

A buckskin vest with a small fringe and a short, buckskin skirt – also with a fringe.

It was simple, but I thought it was beautiful and I desperately wanted to wear it.

I’ve mentioned elsewhere that I was a confirmed tomboy as a child.  My grandmother bought my sister and I a beautiful dress every year, and every year my mother had to bribe, cajole, and threaten to get me into it long enough for a picture.

But for this costume, I was eager to wear a skirt.

For the first time in my life I wanted to be the princess…an Indian princess with blonde braids.

There was, however, a catch.  The end of October is firmly within Winter’s realm, and old man Winter was a fickle bastard.  Some years we enjoyed relatively mild weather on Halloween, but other years…well, those were the years that my husband went trick-or-treating as Superman, with a down jacket under a red sweatshirt with an “S” sewn onto the chest

I waited anxiously to see which mood the old man would be in.

The week leading up to Halloween was promising.  Temperatures during the day were in the 50’s, and they weren’t dropping to the thirties until late at night.

Halloween morning dawned crisp and clear…and cold.  The sun’s anemic rays struggled to warm the air, and even the thin shadows seemed to shiver.

When the sun finally sank apologetically behind the mountains, the thermometer was straining to reach 37 degrees.  To add insult to injury, Winter had also ordered up a rising wind – just strong enough help the cold sink its teeth in.

It was too cold to wear a skimpy vest and skirt, and I knew it.

I put it on anyway.

I made it to three houses before I was so cold I couldn’t feel my cheeks.  Two houses after that, I couldn’t feel my knees.  One more house and even my butt was numb.  I decided to head home.

I stumbled back to my house, forgoing rich pickings along the way.  My mom met me at the door and hustled me into the bathroom, where she had a warm bath and flannel PJ’s waiting – the practical comfort of a mother’s love.

I gave the costume away the next year, deciding that scary was far more comfortable than pretty.

This post is a response to a prompt from Write on Edge to write about Halloween costume from our past.  Choosing your costume for Halloween, when you lived in Wyoming, meant taking into account that the temperature could be at freezing or below...and then there's the wind!  Thanks for coming by, and please tell me what you think in the comments!


  1. Hahaha... the things we went through for Halloween, right? Maybe it's nature's way of reminding us to cut it loose and unleash our scary sides! LOL

  2. I remember the cold Halloweens too. Now when it's cold, I see parents driving their kids house to house so they can wear the cute little costumes with no jackets or anything. That so would have never happened when I was a kid.

  3. It's so funny, because I remember the cold Halloweens all too well. My parents would make us wear warm clothes UNDER our costumes :)

    My cousin lives in Texas, and her daughter had the cutest mermaid costume one year. Things like that don't work in Michigan ;)

  4. I loved this! You captured a little girl's heart and a mother's love perfectly. Well played!

  5. I remember all those years of trying to find a pretty costume that we could fit coats and snow pants under and yet still look good if the weather turned out hot. Ah Halloween in Iowa, you just never know.

  6. I loved that line about the shadows shivering. You do a nice job of personifying winter throughout this piece.

    Having grown up in AZ, I always felt so sorry for people that had to wear coats over their costumes. Now that I live on the East Coast, I understand all the good that comes with colder autumns.

  7. So true. Cold Halloweens are the worst. I hated the ones that required a coat. Glad you went the practical route the next year!