October 31, 2011

Did Disney Ruin Your Halloween Too?

Thanks to Disney, Halloween is not scary anymore. It's true. Nearly every little girl under the age of 9 turns down the chance to dress as something spooky, like a witch or a ghost or your mother-in-law, and instead chooses to be something cuddly like Snow White, Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, Tinker Bell, Rapunzel or one of the other 800 Disney princesses. And, on the off chance she doesn't want to be a princess, she chooses to be Dora, the friendly neighborhood explorer.

When I asked each one of my girls what they wanted to be this year for Halloween, they responded as follows:

Anna: "DORA!"
Mia: "BLUB-ER-GUP" (which is 5-month-old speak for "princess")

What a disaster. There's no face paint involved with those costumes. No evil laughs. Nothing that will give you the goose bumps. You're more likely to be scared by a rainbow than you are by my little ladies. I wouldn't be surprised if next year one of them wants to dress up as a hug.

So I made it my mission to add a little bit of scariness to our Halloween festivities by having "The Inaugural Klems Family Scary Mask-Making Night." I made sure to load up on supplies: paper grocery bags large enough to fit over the giant heads of my children, crayons, markers, construction paper, pipe cleaners, bacon (to feast on), paint and anything else around the house that we could find that wouldn't cause their Mom to yell at us.

I waited until a night when my wife was out on the town, likely binge drinking with someone much handsomer than me1 and I went to work. I weaved the supplies throughout the living room floor and pulled the girls in.

"Let's make some scary, scary masks and then surprise Mom when she gets home. WHO'S WITH ME?"

"WE ARE!" they all shouted, except for Mia who farted in agreement.

Without time to spare, I let them get to work. I offered to help with whatever they wanted. I cut out eye-holes. I cut out big scary teeth to tape to the front of the paper bags. But then Ella, my 4-year-old, stopped me.

"Dad, I don't want to put those teeth on my mask."

"OK hun, what do you want me to cut out for you? A giant creepy red tongue? Some brown, dirty teeth? A black-and-blue eyeball that looks like it's getting CHEWED?"

"Can you cut a pretty smile out of this pink construction paper?"

Long pause.

"Well dear, that's not quite what I had in mind when I said we were making … "

"And can you twist these purple and pink pipe cleaners into arms and hands so I can still hug Mommy when I'm wearing the mask?"

Another long pause.

"But your goal isn't to hug Mom when she gets home, it's to scare her."

"Don't worry Dad, we're still going to yell 'BOO!'"

So I turned to my 2-year-old Anna and asked her if she made a scary mask.

"Daddy, my mask is really scary."

"That's GREAT Anna! I'm so excited. Are those red blobs on your mask blood oozing out?"

"No Daddy, those are hearts. And over here I drew a unicorn."

I wanted to shake my head in disgust. These girls were not only soft, but they were waving their softness in my face like a badge of honor. And unless you have a fear of pink or suffer from Unicornaphobia, you will be able to walk through my house without spotting a single scary thing (unless you count my wife's credit card bill that's laying on our coffee table).

Just as I thought the night was a total bust, my wife came home from painting the town red2. My pink, purple and heart-covered monsters quickly put on their masks and hid behind the couch. As my wife walked into the room, they jumped and yelled "BOOOOOO!" and erupted with laughter. I'd like to think my wife was a little scared. She probably was, though it likely had less to do with the masks and more to do with the 10lb diaper I'd neglected to change off my 5-month-old.

Maybe I'll never get the kids to dress like a monster or vampire, but I'll continue to try to get them to be a little scarier. In the meantime, I'll just enjoy my little princesses and explorers and hope that one day I get the chance to punch Disney in the face.

Happy Halloween.

1 OK, this is obviously not true. There's no one handsomer than me.
2 "Painting the town red" is actually a euphemism for "Visiting her sick sister in the hospital." But before you take her side, think about this: She kicks puppies. Hard.

Oh Boy, You're Having a Girl
(A Dad's Survival Guide to Raising Daughters)

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Anonymous said...

You want scary? Just wait till they all hit their teens.


Laura Marcella said...

Ella. Anna. Mia. You know, you did give your beautiful daughters princess names. If your next kid is a girl, try Ursula or Malificent or Bavmorda. Then you'll get your scary mask! :)

Have a happy Halloween, Brian!

AE said...

This was very cute. I can definitely relate to the lack of scaryness. I wish there was more. Unfortunately, you really should be thanking Disney... and one day you will, when your daughters are grown and dressing like Lara Croft or Jessica Rabbit. Now that's a really scary thought. ;)

Anonymous said...

I know it's Halloween blablahblah, but I don't really like halloween, I think it's really weird that parents encourage their kids to dress up as scary stuff and beg strangers for sweets. Good on them if they'd rather give people hugs!

Freya Morris said...

This was a brilliant post.

I find pink terrifying.

Sheri Bell-Rehwoldt said...

Bravo! You are a fabulous writer -- and I loved your sense of humor.

Kara said...

Those masks are so clever! Love the line about purple arms to hug. Your girls are adorable. We picked out Sophie's first costume. She's picked out all the rest. She started out scary—monster her 2nd Halloween, dragon her 3rd. This year, there was no hesitation. A princess. Pink, pink, pink everywhere, complete with a crown so tall it kept toppling over and a beaded, heart-shaped light-up wand thing. She loved it. :)

:Donna said...

This actually brought tears to my eyes! lol Your kids are getting so big, Brian, and the bags were great! Fun stuff! :)

Anonymous said...

Ha! I loved this! Thanks for sharing (and your wife must be a good sport ;-)

Jen said...

OMG this post made me laugh so hard. I love the way you tell stories, it really makes me feel like I was in the thick of that scenario with the girls drawing unicorns and pretty pink lips lol.

I have a little boy (17 months old) but I know if we have a daughter my husband will be trying the same tactics to make her more scary!

Nicole said...

When my son was 8 he wanted to go as Darth Maul...I was very excited as I got to paint his face. Worry set in after the initial base color of a red..orange whne I went to the sink to rinse my fingers after applying to find it would not come off. So as a good Mom I pushed aside the vision of him going to school the next day looking like an Ooopa Loompa and continued with the black. He looked so cool :)

Luckily make up remover did work so he didn't have to live with the orange face for a while.

jennifer said...

The paper bags alone are enough to make me scream! Why would you make them touch them...more less wear them?!?!

Anonymous said...

I wouldn't like to punch Disney as much as I'd like to punch you in the face. I can never get back the three minutes of my life wasted on reading this imbecilic piece of self indulgent drivel. If you want to scare your wife, why don't you buy your girls a wardrobe full of flannel and give them crew cuts? You're not a clever writer, and less clever for suggesting you knowingly let your child fester in a 10 pound toxic cocktail of urine and chlorine. Father of the year or "funny" journalist you are not.

Anonymous said...

Well that was rude, anonymous poster before me. I can't be sure, but I'm willing to be that nobody made you read this. And not that Brian needs me or anyone else to stick up for him, but I enjoy his entries and look forward to them every Friday. I find his stories humorous and well written...and he can even be sweet and sincere when the time calls. Go crawl back under whatever depressing and miserable rock you came from.

catyork said...

Oh my gosh. Even the comments are funny. How can I follow these comments? Great laugh! Great blog! I have two princesses that have graduated from Disney to Mario Kart. Funny enough, my girls will argue that Princess Rosalina isn't like a girlie princess, she's the ruler of the universe. I say she has a crown and the word "Princess" in her name so ... there you have it.

Anonymous said...

Wait until they're about 9. Then they'll want to be a zombie bride. A beautiful dress and deathly makeup with scabs! It's the best of both worlds!

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