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Monday, October 31, 2011

A Magic Rainbow and a Mummy

Come September. One of the coveted LPs from my dad's collection. (Which he just gave away to some stranger, along with the HMV turntable). To this day I cannot say these two ordinary words together without the tune ringing in my head...

Well, anyway, I was going say, Come October, the house buzzes with talks of pumpkin and harvest and Deepavali and Mama's birthday... and for the last few years also CROCUS at Saffron Tree.

Plus, of course, Costumes.

I've expounded enough about Halloween here before, so, will skip that thought except to record that I am not fond of spooky stuff. Just personally. It manages to disturb me enough with no ROI that it hasn't been worth it for me. I cannot watch horror movies for sure - just peeking between the cracks in the fingers over my eyes seems too much of an effort to sustain for an hour plus.

So, of course, I don't encourage spooky stuff for the kids.

However, I have no objections to people getting their thrills. D for one loves off-beat horror, cult classics, weird stuff. He is a well-adjusted human being. (As far as I know). So, no judgments is my motto on this. For adults.

However, growing up in a culture that celebrates a festival every other day, with actual customs and manner of celebration varying form region to region, family to family in India, I have come to look upon Halloween and Thanksgiving as reasons to set up a tradition that I am comfortable with and hopefully pass on to the kids.

Coming from a tradition where death anniversary of the family's forebears are observed in a solemn manner, it didn't seem odd for me to read a book about Dia de los Muertos to my kids. And it was quite fun for Ana to do a related craft with her friends.

I still remember the joy and wonder I felt when I watched D carve a huge pumpkin on my first birthday as a newlywed. He made it look so easy and effortless and I loved the way the candle shone through carved pumpkin Jack-o-lantern.

So, pumpkin carving has become a firm tradition for the last decade. Kids have gotten into it. Ana and Oggie scoop out the innards, separate the pulp and seeds so I can roast the seeds for the next week's snack.

Dress-up is always fun. Especially if it comes out of one's imagination. With that in mind, I've tried to encourage the kids to come up with costume ideas. I cannot forget Ana's first. How stubbornly sure she was about being a Peanut Butter Jelly Sandwich!

Now, it's not like Halloween sneaks up on us unawares on anything, but for some reason, Ana and Oggie don't settle on their costume until just a week or two before Oct 31st. Which leaves us scrambling to get it ready in time.

This year's costume discussion started with Oggie leaning strongly towards Watermelon, his favorite fruit.

I was pushing for squid in a not-so-subtle way - with ulterior motive, of course, and not because of some strange love for the sea creature. See, I was particularly thrilled about the Octopus costume I had made last year.

After a lot of back and forth, with me tossing out some of his cute ideas as I wasn't up to making the costume, we settled on Mummy.

Thanks to the Boston MFA trip and the Egyptian wing there, Oggie was fascinated with mummies. Now, he doesn't quite get that it is just dead people, preserved. he thinks they are a special species. Anyway, so, Mummy it was.

How to make a mummy costume? Well, I sort of made it up. And it worked out rather okay. Oggie has very specific dislikes so I couldn't just wrap him up more. He was willing to wear a hat but refused to be wrapped up anymore than that, so, his costume had to be simplified: A partially unwrapped Mummy.

Ana has come up with interesting ones in the last few years and this year was no exception. She very firmly said she wanted to be The Magic Rainbow With A Pot O' Gold At The End!

How to make a magic rainbow costume? Well, I tossed around cardboard cut-outs, strips-of-color outfit and such. After googling around a bit, I loved the cutie here: Sunshine and Rainbow. And that's what I did, with a few edits.

Which parent willingly allows a steady candy diet? None that I know of... The kids' dentist says indulge them once a year, rather than small sugary treats on a regular basis. Enough said on that already... refrain from insufferable preachiness I remind myself.

Anyway, pencils, erasers, little activity books, apples, are all fun to hand over when the doorbell rings with the Trick-Or-Treaters waiting eagerly... However...

Happy Halloween!

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At 11:49 PM, Blogger Meera Sriram said...

And its become a tradition for me Sheels to eagerly wait for the release of your lovely creations:) As always, in awe! The sunshine was the cherry on the sundae! Loved both!

At 8:39 AM, Blogger Sheela said...

Meera:: Thanks! That made me grin wide :)

At 12:02 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You are really a super-woman and a super-mom!!!



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