Yer a wizard, ‘arry!

For Halloween this year, we had a bit of a theme going on: we all dressed as characters from Harry Potter.


From left to right: Hagrid, Norbert the Dragon, Harry Potter, Severus Snape, and Draco Malfoy

Aside from a couple of wizard’s duels, Halloween went more or less swimmingly.


Oliver was wearing the Gryffindor scarf I knit a few years ago, and Evelyn was wearing a brand new Slytherin scarf that Evelyn, Sara, and I have been working on lately. Evelyn would often knit in the car on the way to Billy Elliot practice, and then Sara or I would take over in the evenings.


Unfortunately, Norbert didn’t quite make it all the way through his first Halloween. Luckily, Hagrid knows about the Care of Magical Creatures!



Happy Halloween

Another cold and rainy Halloween, but we managed to survive it (at least there wasn’t hail this year!). We were back home and eating chili before dark, and ended the night cuddled up under blankets on the couch for candy eating and Nightmare Before Christmas.


Lucy and Aslan from the Chronicles of Narnia


Lucy, a skeleton, (a skeleton!), and a pumpkin (who didn’t have his eyes open in a SINGLE PICTURE).

Evelyn has vowed that next year she will be something that nobody has to ask about. It’s a shame that she ended up not loving her completely homemade, completely amazing Lucy costume. I loved it so much, but it’s just hard to compete with the awesome store-bought costumes these days, and 2nd graders are apparently not into the literary costumes.

And if one more person asks her if she’s Belle, she’s going to put an arrow between their eyes.


How I learned about selling out

When I was a kid, I was obsessed with dinosaurs and space, two core pillars of the geek soul.

I thought about dinosaurs all the time. I looked for “fossils” in the rocks in the backyard. I begged my parents to take me to museums with bones. I had a string that was carefully measured to be the exact length of a diplodocus, and I would unroll it around the house to marvel at how long it was. And I read lots and lots of books; not stupid kids books, reference books. Back then, if you named a dinosaur, I could tell you Triassic, Jurassic, or Cretaceous without blinking.

My favorite dinosaur was an ankylosaurus. I liked it because it was small and tough, but more obscure than the triceratops, which was way too mainstream for an awesome dino-hunter like me. I was too cool for triceratops.

I was a dinosaur hipster.

And who could forget my amazing television debut, when, wearing my favorite dinosaur shirt, Happy the Hobo asked asked me if I would ride a tyrannosaurus rex, to which I snottily (and scientifically appropriately) responded, “If I saw one.”

So naturally, when it came time to make Halloween costumes, I wanted a dinosaur. And a dinosaur I had. My parents helped me make a giant t-rex costume out of an old washing machine box. The box was spray painted in what I was sure was “authentic” t-rex colors, and I wore it with my arms sticking out. I could see by peering out of the mouth, which was propped open with a couple of school rulers.

I would love to show you a picture of the costume (or even just check to see if it was as awesome as I remember it), but I guess one doesn’t exist. I don’t remember seeing any pictures of it, and I don’t have a copy. Mom, surely we must have taken a picture?

Anyway, the story gets weirder.

So I took my costume to the Roller Dome for their Halloween costume contest. Which means, not only was I a giant t-rex, I was a giant ROLLER SKATING t-rex.

Now, you might be surprised to hear that a t-rex is not designed for roller skating (although, think about *that* for a minute. Apex predator indeed…). Due to my view-port in the gaping mouth, I had no peripheral vision. Also, people (who I couldn’t see) kept skating over my tail, something I do *not* recommend doing to an actual tyrannosaurus (though, feel free to ride one, if you see one). All of this made it extremely difficult to skate in, but I was hell on wheels and I made do.

Finally, it was the big moment: the winners of the costume contest were announced. All the clowns, vampires, and rock stars lined up, and I rolled up next to them. The baddest roller skating dinosaur you’ve ever seen.

3rd place.

2nd place.

An the winner goes to…

The “dragon”.

::record scratch:: Dragon?

I mean, I liked dragons. LOVED dragons, even. But I was a god damned dinosaur, as anyone with half a brain could see. Do I look fictional to you? Do you see any scientifically inaccurate wings on my back? Why don’t you skate over here and say that to my face? (Which is capable of exerting one of the largest bite forces among all terrestrial animals, I’ll have you know!)

I was not pleased. A dragon, of all things.

I didn’t want to go up and get the prize, promised, as it was, to some doofus dressed as a dragon, but they were motioning me forward, and I did win the prize after all, even if there was a gross misunderstanding about what I was, precisely, and I had the best costume, after all, because if they thought a dragon costume was better than everybody, imagine how much MORE impressed they would be if they knew it was actually a dinosaur…

So a roller skating dragon went up and collected his prize.

And that is how I learned what it means to sell out.

The end.

Laura Ingalls Wilder sees a Spooky Ghost


Happy Halloween!


Happy Halloween!


Halloween, 2013



Evie’s pumpkin’s teeth are very appropriate, given that gap in her bottom teeth.



Here we have one very adorable little kitty cat…

2013_10_26_9999_9…and here we have one very pious angel

Those wings were no joke! All that tin foil was a lot harder to deal with than I thought it would be. Considering they had to make it through 2 Halloween parties, a day of school, and trick or treating, I’d say they held up pretty well (if I do say so myself!)

You know, costumes are so cheap these days, that it’s almost never cost effective to make your own (to say nothing of time-effective). It sure is hard to compete with a lot of the really amazing costumes you can buy online these days (waaay cooler than anything we had as a kid). But my heart is definitely going to break on the inevitable day when the kids beg me for a store-bought costume over the homemade one.


Halloween Recap

This year, Ollie and Evie went as a gnome and a fairy, respectively.

We were worried about Ollie and his beard, especially since he made early noises about not being very keen on the thing. I couldn’t say I blamed him; that beard was something. However, a more dedicated actor there never was, and he pretty much refused to take that thing off, doggedly wearing it until late in the night.

Once again we descended into the absolute madness of arguably the most Halloween-y street in Chicago. Craziness. Thousands of kids and adults in costume consuming hundreds of thousands of pieces of candy. This year, there was also a 100 foot long, singing, “composting worm” haunted house, in which Oliver and I were consumed, digested, and ejected out the rear. Seeing how small he was, they made sure not to make it too scary, but Oliver was completely unfazed by the whole thing. In fact, when he saw someone hiding and waiting to jump out, he literally pointed and laughed at him. Evie, on the other hand, decided not to be consumed by the thing at all.

This year we actually knew someone who lives on Harper, so we had a convenient base of operations. As far as the kids were concerned, the best part about this arrangement was that they actually got to hand out candy. They *loved* it. Both kids thought this was better than doing actual trick-or-treating. We don’t get a single trick-or-treater at our house, compared to the thousands that came to this house, so I will grant them that it was a lot more fun than doing it at home. Evie was particularly hardcore about it, dutifully handing out candy for hours, and only relinquishing her spot reluctantly when someone else wanted a turn.

The kids stayed up about as late as they ever have in their lives, but all in all, probably the best Halloween we’ve had yet.