Stage 1: Realization
This stage typically occurs in late August. You know, when CVS begins to display candy corn on all of their end caps. Wonderful. Just wonderful, dearest CVS. You have officially ruined the months of September and October, not to mention the last few days of summer because now we get to entertain the question, “How many more days until Halloween?” for approximately 57 days. Sweet. (No pun intended.)
Stage 2: Assessment
Now that the sugar radar is officially on high alert (no really, thanks again, CVS), your child will begin to assess their options. No, that’s not one of your old college essays your child dug out of the memory bin, it’s the latest Halloween costume catalog that he graciously annotated with a permanent red marker. After he’s done feverishly circling, starring, and x-ing you can find comfort in knowing he’s likely narrowed the pool of costume contenders down to 27 options.
Stage 3: Commitment
The committal stage typically occurs at the bus stop or in another social setting when your child decides to blurt out, “Hey guys! I’m gonna be a TRANSFORMER for Halloween! Boo yow!” When he gets blank stares from his friends who have decided to be the cast of Star Wars, he will quickly move into Stage 4.
Stage 4: Denial
Ha. Ha. HA! He was totally kidding about being a Transformer. Duh. His little brother is going to be a Transformer. Then he whispers in your ear to ask if you can rent the Star Wars movie, so he can see what options remain.
Stage 5: Panic
After a visit with older, cooler cousins or friends, your child will learn that they are going “practical” this Halloween by being football players. What is a kid to do? Panic sets in. Should he band with the friends or be cool like the cousins?
Stage 6: Reassurance
At this point, some parental interjection is necessary before your child needs to be committed to Halloween costume selection. You will likely discuss topics such as independence, making your own choices, and practicality — because not every mama can whip up a Chewbacca costume with three days’ notice.
Stage 7: Acceptance
Ladies and gentleman, it’s official! He’s gonna be a COWBOY! Praise. The. Lord. A decision has been made!
Stage 8: Doubt
After the in-school Halloween parade, he thinks he wants to be something else for “real” Halloween because the Cowboy costume wasn’t nearly as awesome as he planned.
Stage 9: Bribery
Again, parental involvement is necessary for this final stage because it is now 5:30 on October 31, and your child refuses to wear the selected costume because, as mentioned previously, at the school parade so-and-so was a freakin “selfie” and why couldn’t I have made something that cool? At this point, it is acceptable for you, the parent, to curse Polly Perfect Parent for making you and every other mom and dad who bought a costume instead of making it feel inadequate. You now have one remaining option. You will be forced to dangle the carrot: “No costume, no candy.”
Stage 10: Did someone say candy?
Your child will run down to the basement, grab the firefighter costume that he’s been playing dress up with for years, and run outside with an empty pillow case blowing behind him in the wind.