Halloween Costumes 2018, and Resisting Monsters

I posted this on social media 10/28/2018. It’s long enough to document here.


We went to a Halloween concert yesterday and as we got out of the car, a lady shouted, “Chucky!” As we entered the building, we got a few “Nice costumes, guys!” from people we passed. And Reilly said I made a toddler dressed as Black Panther cry.

Also, posting our costumes on a Sunday to get us wondering why anyone should live with near-paralyzing fear of getting murdered on their holy days. Or any day for that matter. That is where my heart is right now.

These characters from horror movies evoke the thrill of a good scare that we can turn off, recover from, and then carry on with our lives. Other real-life monsters, like those just from this past week, aren’t as easy to escape. But we can’t let them conquer us with fear. We can’t let their hate overpower us or ambush us through the mail, at the grocery store, or where we find spiritual strength or a sense of community.

We love these costumes, and we are so excited about showing them off. But costumes are all they are. And you know our hearts aren’t filled with revenge like Chucky’s, or incapable of distinguishing between affection and violence as Frankenstein’s monster’s, or deeply primally evil like Black Phillip’s.

We are here for you. On your holy days, and every day.

Happy Sabbath, y’all.


j,,,,mzz . Social Navigation

[The first part of the title is Z’s. I stepped away from the computer for two seconds, and she decided she wants to blog.]

The Saturday before Halloween our ward had a chili cook-off and Halloween carnival. Earlier in the day I had put Z’s costume on her to see if it fit and so she could get used to it. I’d taken it off so that she wouldn’t get too hot. When it was time to get ready for the party, I struggled with Z to put the costume on, but she finally relented.

She was cranky. She didn’t have much of a nap that day, and when I tried to paint her with a lion face–super simple, a short black upside-down triangle covering the bottom of her nose, a white snout, and black whiskers–she wouldn’t stay still. She looked like she’d eaten powdered donuts mixed with soot.

It’s two blocks to our church building, but we decided to go on a little drive to to fit in a little nap for Z. We drove around for about 10 minutes before pulling up to the church. Z was sleeping. We found a place to sit. Reilly held our dozing child while I stood in line to get us food.


We made it through most of our meal before Z woke up. The moment she opened her eyes, she began to cry. She saw all the people and heard all the noise. I would have been overwhelmed as well.

We tried feeding Z, but she was too upset. Reilly took her into the foyer for a little while, and when they came back, Z was no longer wearing her costume. But she was still crying.

Time to go. The instant we stepped outside into the cool air and fuzzy ambiance of dusk, our little toddler calmed down. We went home and she played until bedtime.

The following Friday I decided to get our money’s worth out of Z’s costume, so I put it on her, and we went to the library. She likes climbing the stairs to the juvenile section.

On the prowl...
On the prowl…

Z especially loves to play in the courtyard between wings. It was chilly outside, but the costume seemed to keep her warm enough.

Bounding down the hill...
Bounding down the hill…

We then went to Provo Towne Centre Mall, where she could play in the kids’ area and walk around. She fell asleep in the car on the way, but I brought her to the kids’ area and lay her down to let her sleep. When she woke up, she didn’t move but watched the other kids playing for a while.

Just watching...
Just watching…

After walking and playing, we went back home to walk and play some more.

Lion slide
Lion slide

We checked the mail, and Z likes to see if we received any packages.

Where's our mail?
Where’s our mail?

Then came Halloween day. We were up until 1am the night before watching scary movies with Reilly’s brothers (Z was in bed), so Reilly and I were quite tired. But we wanted to do something for Halloween. We decided to accept an invitation to a party. We all got in our costumes.

Off to see the Wizard...
Off to see the Wizard…

We thought Z might have another tantrum, but she was actually very good. We were early to the party, so we left to get eat some pie and came back. But the person who invited us wasn’t there yet, and it was getting late (8:30!), so we just came back home and put Z to bed. I invited friends over, and we watched another scary movie and stayed up past midnight.

The following Tuesday we went to a wedding reception in Riverton. We stood in the reception line no longer than two minutes. When we got to talk to the beautiful bride and groom, Z began to cry. We wrapped up our conversation and found a seat and I got up to get some refreshments–s’mores. Perfect for a crisp evening. I thought Z might like the chocolate and graham crackers. Z ate quietly for a few minutes, but maybe it was the crowd of strangers and unfamiliar chatter and not being able to run around like she usually does before she started crying.

Again, once we stepped outside, she stopped crying.

She did really well her first time in nursery, but she’s had a rougher time the past few Sundays.

Then last night Reilly and I brought Z to a ward missionary meeting in someone’s home. She did fine playing on their carpeted stairs. She jabbered and checked in on us every few minutes. Someone else’s toddler was there. Once when he stood in Z’s way she looked at him and did something that looked like frustrated jazz hands before walking around him.

From these experiences I’ve observed:

  • Z likes small groups, especially with family. (Just like Reilly and I.)
  • Z likes being able to run around and explore.
  • Z doesn’t like a lot of noise or strangers.
  • Z isn’t sure what to think about other toddlers.

From these observations, maybe:

  • Z could adjust to being around people her age more often. (Just like Reilly and I.)
  • Reilly and I could have more creative solutions whenever Z doesn’t feel like being very social with us.

Times like these I wish I knew what I was doing, but we’re okay. We’re learning. And she’s only 19 months old, so there’s that.


Last Surviving Helper Pic

What I’ll miss: My first Halloween in the city
Yes, those are my crossed legs. He used to have a round, red nose. And a small upward curve for a mouth. When I researched him for construction, I truly appreciated the fact that he only has four fingers. I liked being able to visualize something and have it materialize. He looks a little beat up here, but he’s still very recognizable. I miss him.

I won that ward costume contest, by the way: Friday, October 31, 2003; Manhattan 6th Ward.

What I won’t miss:  Lame Halloween Dances
Not all of them were lame. Just a couple. They’re not worth describing. They’re not worth reliving the misery. I can’t subject myself or you to that.

Recap of Last Night’s Party

Last night’s party was pretty fun. Almost everyone was in costume, and it was great seeing all the Joe the Plumbers and Joe Six-Packs. A boxy robot, Rapunzel, Seth Meyers and Amy Poehler (non-pregnant) – friends whose names are actually Seth and Amy, animals, trojans, knights, doctors, tourists, farmers, princesses, Dwight Schrute the Cornell applicant, gypsies, genies, Juno (Ellen Page’s character from the eponymized movie), Edward Scissorhands, a banana, Napoleon Dynamite, a bull rider, an ostrich rider, Poison Ivy, supermodel, vampire motorcyclist, John McCain and Sarah Palin, Medusa. Lots of original costumes. Even though the music was too loud, I really enjoyed looking at the costumes. They were awesome.

I was the only Yip-Yip. Right when I walked into the room where you could decorate your own sugar cookie, a lumberjack told me he just fell in love with me. I designed my costume so that I could actually open and close the mouth and go, “Yip, yip.” It was pretty clever. A lot of people took out their cameras and phones to take my picture. Anyway, every time the lumberjack saw me, he talked to me. He wrote my name down for the costume contest. I didn’t hear my name when they called it for me to strut the catwalk, and I found out later I was a finalist. But the Peruvian farmer I was talking to at the time agreed that I shouldn’t win everything. Because that’s just obnoxious.

Easily, a few hundred people attended. It was hot and crowded and the music was too loud, and my voice this morning is a bit hoarse from competing with the volume, trying to have actual conversations with people. I took off my costume a couple of times. I ran into a few good guy friends and danced with them. We talked and flirted a little bit, but I’m just really thinking about the lumberjack. He was at the front door talking to one of the church leaders, and I was on my way to leave. I bumped fists with him, because I didn’t want to interrupt his conversation, but he told me goodbye and said he loved my costume.

He might love me only for my costume, and he looked hot probably only because of the nice beard and flannel shirt and hatchet, but that’s the magic of Halloween. The imagination goes further than usual, we create scenarios and become something beyond ourselves; we get brave because of who we’re not. We play, we dance, we flirt, we let loose and don’t want to let go of the fantasy to fall back into the normalcy of tomorrow.

Sometimes, the magic spills over and we coast on that until it fades, however long that is. But, I still want for him (or them or whoever) to ask me out. I want the enchantment without the costumes. Or, at the very least, a little more interaction. Is that even possible? Because I don’t know if I can wait until next Halloween.


I did a lot of stuff on camera today. It’s kind of blackmail fodder.

I think I wanted to impress one friend so badly I was willing to look like an utter fool.

She’s a cool gal. Pretty fun.

But, I got to see her runway walk.

And, she got to show us her dance moves. We’re practicing for the big Halloween dance on Friday. Hollah!

My roommate likes to move her hips.

Ooh. I think I should document the numbered dances my roommate and Alicia have seen me do. The dance moves are already on camera, and I will be destroying the data card sometime in the very near future. This written form is so I don’t forget the numbers.

zero (null) – backup singer dance; side to side stepping, with slight head bobbing; default

1 – grab ankle, other hand to head; bring knee toward and away from opposite elbow to the beat. (Extra credit: accidentally bump into a wall for big laughs.)

2 – flap arms gracefully to the side while dancing lightly on the tippy-toes

3 – add an extra step to each side of the backup singer dance; throw in double hitchhiker thumbs

4 – shooting multiple rounds from pistols from the hips

5 – the worm; in my case, it’s a dying worm.

6 – Michael Jackson; must include moonwalking and that kick thing he does.

The arsenal is full. I will be doing these seven dance moves on a rotating basis. Except for the worm. That was is reserved exclusively for my own home. So, six.