“They picked their Halloween costumes in July,” Heather says. “Of course they’d change their minds.”
“The problem is there are too many choices for kids,” Erin says and takes a sip of coffee.
“My only options revolved around what my mother could tastefully attach to a black unitard,” Heather says. “Tiger, zebra, scary mime.”
“Well, that last one is creative,” Erin says.
Starbucks is crowded, as usual. However, with some luck the moms manage to find a small table in the back, next to the restroom. Heather sets the stack of costume catalogues onto the small round table. “I can’t believe I’m putting so much thought into this.”
“At least we don’t have to make them ourselves anymore,” Erin says.
“No kidding, “ Heather says. “ I’m deeply suspicious of anyone who hand-makes their child’s costumes.”
“Or in this town, pays someone to hand-make their child’s costume,” Erin says and nods toward the equestrian women standing in line for the register. Tight riding pants, tall leather boots and long ponytails. They must have had a group lesson at the stables this morning.
“There’s a costume idea,” Heather says.
“I can’t afford the outfit, let alone the horse,” Erin says.
Heather takes a sip of her coffee. Pumpkin latte. It’s her favorite part of fall. Spicy and sweet.
“Seriously, what are my choices?” Heather asks flipping through the catalogue. She’s dog-eared a few pages. Glancing at them, she feels like cancelling their plans. “ I could be a slut, a witch or a Disney character.”
“This is exactly why I hate costume parties,” Erin says. “When did every woman’s costume become inspired by prostitutes?”
“I actually saw a Sexy Sponge Bob costume,” Heather says. “It’s a tight yellow plastic t-shirt with Sponge Bob plastered across the model’s big boobs and a tiny yellow lace skirt.”
“Does it come with Mr. Crabs?” Erin asks.
“Probably,” Heather says and checks her iPhone. The babysitter hasn’t called. Ava must be feeling better.
“I get so frustrated when I shop for Kate,” Erin says. “I don’t want my eleven-year-old walking around as a sexy Panda. It’s not her fault that she can’t fit in children sizes anymore.”
Heather loves talking with Erin. It’s one of those rare friendships where she doesn’t feel like she censors herself. These days this is becoming increasingly rare. At Dylan’s new school, she’s not sure whom she can trust. It makes the prospect of attending the family Halloween party even more intimidating.
Erin flips through the pages before her. “There’s a sexy watermelon, sexy bumblebee and even a sexy Chucky,” Erin says.
“Forget the kids,” Heather says. “What am I going to wear to this thing?”
“You sound like mother of the year,” Erin says and sets down the catalogue. “I liked the scary mime thing.”
“At least that way I wouldn’t have to engage in meaningless small talk,” Heather says.
“Oh come on,” Erin says. “It’s not going to be that bad.”
“ I’ve become increasingly negative about these parent events,” Heather says. “The men stand around and talk sports and business. Michael walks away with a bunch of guys totally impressed with his golf handicap. I end up chatting with the moms who are anxious to share how perfect their children are. ‘Colton is organizing a drive to collect coats for the homeless this winter. Isabel made the honor roll, again.’ Heather rolls her eyes. “No one ever says, ‘I’m exhausted. My kid is driving me crazy. She had lice last week and he still wets the bed.’”
“Here, I’ve got your costume,” Erin says taping a page. “Scary Goth Mom. It’ll intimidate everyone and it fits your mood.”
“I think you’re right,” Heather says and smiles. Suddenly the prospect of dressing up feels do-able again. Goth Mom. Maybe it’s a look she’ll keep year round.