So the Boy wanted to be a Greek hero this Hallowe'en.
He loves the Percy Jackson novels, so the idea was to go out as Perseus, or Hercules. I couldn't sell him on m favorite guy, Odysseus, the sly one.
I might have mentioned - once - that dark, fir-bound mountains of Oregon weren't the sun-drenched, pine-wracked isles of Hellas, and that the sullen Willamette unlike the sparkling Aegean Sea, and that the typical outfit of a Greek hero might be a teensy bit chilly for the last day of October.
But a Greek hero he wanted so a Greek hero we sought.
We haunted the seasonal costume stores and the kid-specialty places. He found one on a website that turned out to be available only through the website.
Finally we ended up at the costume store downtown, looking at dozens of ninjas and scads of soldiers and cops (and the adult costumes I can't even begin to describe but let's just say that I've visited an upscale whorehouse and didn't see outfits half as salacious) but no Greek heroes.
However, at this point the fickleness of ten-year-old pushed into the business; the Boy fell in love with a cheap plastic M203 grenade launcher toy.
I have to admit, it had everything that would entice a ten-year-old boy or a Congressman or a defense contractor; glitzy pyrotechnics, loud noises, cheaply manufactured and exorbitantly priced. The Boy was completely entranced, and, suddenly, we were going to build his entire costume around a plastic firearm.
We looked at the soldiers and adventurers and found that the costumes were all shoddily made and foolishly expensive.
"Geez, boyo..." I said, "...I can come up with something more creative than this. How about...a Syrian rebel?"
And by this you have to understand that sometimes fathers have to have the cunning of serpents; I flat-out didn't want to end up buying the kid some overpriced faux-GI gear he's going to outgrow in half a year. But your urban guerrilla, hell...a scruffy pair of jeans and sneakers, a Barcelona shirt and some tatty military gear? Easy-peasy.
So I went out and picked up one of those Lebanese scarf things that everyone in the Levant seems to wear. We found his Real Madrid jersey (and, yes, I know that a hardcore Islamist isn't going to wear the kit of Franco's Own, it's what he's got...) and a long-sleeved undershirt. Well-used Seventies-style warmup pants and his Nikes. And I scrounged up one of my old web belts and assorted pouches.
To prevent some frantic Teatard from calling Homeland Security on "the Terrists!" I even made us up some little nametags:
I did get some pretty good snark from my friends and co-workers out of all this, who kept reminding me that, for instance, the phrase "Treat or die, infidel dog!" was unlikely to produce extra Milky Ways. Or whether I thought that an insurance salesman might be scarier.
But come Hallowe'en Day and the Boy was getting ready for school; we had all the pieces and I figured we were set.
Until I wound the soft black hijab around his neck and he looked up at me with his eyes half-full of regret, and said;
"I don't like this, Dadda."
I cock my head, and he gently removes the hijab, and says, brightening; "Here, I have another idea, look..." and proceeds to run down the hall to his room and return...
...with the brightest orange bandanna I've ever seen.
I didn't even know he had a bright orange bandanna.
He ties it around his neck and his smile creases the fabric and I can't help but think that he looks like one of Butch Cassidy's desperadoes if Butch had ridden for the University of Texas.
But that's what the Boy wants.
He adds a pair of safety glasses, pulls the hood up on his green-and-gray Timbers hoodie and what with all that and the toy grenade launcher he ends up looking like a bizarre fusion between a fashion victim, the assassin character on Assassin's Creed, and some sort of insanely overarmed urban gangsta.
So that was his costume. Feeling like a Syrian rebel promised an alpha strike and ending up with a lone B-2 noodling in the sky overhead I put on the discarded hijab, picked up my toy machine pistol and said; "OK, buddy, let's go score some treats."
I walk him around the block and let his mom take over; I'm tasked with keeping the Girl company, as she hasn't wanted to get dressed up and go out.
We watch her kidvid - now mostly Winx Club (and I should really do another KidVid post about the damn Winx Club...) mixed in with Adventure Time and her still-beloved ponies - surprisingly unbothered by young ruffians seeking treats.
The Boy returns aglow with the euphoria of greed and a sack full of candy, his flagging mother in tow sagging from some sort of stomach ailment. So she falls into bed and a restless sleep, and I end up tucking both the kiddos into bed, the Girl with her stripey wubbie and the Boy with his orange bandanna still around his neck.