With “Mask” for a last name, Halloween was bound to be special, and my mom made sure it always was. Our tradition for extravagant and individualized costumes made us anticipate Halloween all year long. Our costumes were always homemade and always thrilling in every way. My mom loved to please her children, and she loved using her creativity and industry to do it.
I remember looking longingly at the plastic costumes with the cheap masks at the local drugstore and Mom saying, “Oh, we can make one much better than that, and for much less money!” And she was right. What we lacked in money, Mom made up for in creativity.
Mom was always eager to please each individual child. When I was in 3rd grade I wanted to be a gypsy. As she discussed what we could do and drew a sketch of it for me, I slowly altered each part of the costume: rather than a fringed skirt, could I wear a swishy dress? Instead of the wild scarf, how about a velvet robe? Maybe I could wear real make-up in place of the eye brow penciled mole on the cheek? And, last of all, could we replace the bandana in my hair, with a crown? Mom looked up at me from her sketch. “It sounds to me like you’d rather be a princess than a gypsy!” I realized she was right! That year, she made me a beautiful white chiffon dress with a purple, fur trimmed cape and a crown. And I got to wear real make-up. Her individual attention to me made me feel like a princess.
Another time, in 6th grade, my best friend and I wanted to be a pair of fuzzy dice. Mom found just the right sized boxes and helped us spray paint them. Then we added the fake fur in the spotted patterns on each side. We were in heaven. My friend commented that night, “Your mom is the best mom in the world.” I proudly and silently agreed.
I admired my mom as a child for being able to magically come up with the best costumes. I admire her now for her thrift, industry, and creativity. She could make do, and make it great, with whatever resources were available. This example guides me as I try to please and love my own children, using the resources I have creatively.
Family traditions are established with love as the motive and they are continued with much effort. As I look back on my childhood, I am thankful for the effort my mom exerted as she created happy memories and traditions using her talents and effort that unmasked her love for me.