Tag Archives: Halloween

My life with superheroes

Halloween 1988.

The superheroes first made an appearance in our home during the Halloween season of 1988. Our son Andy was 3; David, who was just 15 months old, was running a fever. Yet he pulled himself together long enough to don the Superman pajamas his grandmother, Connie Barr, had sent from Connecticut and walk with us down the street to trick-or-treat at a few of the nearby houses. Then, exhausted, he helped me answer the door as Andy and his father foraged further. Superman, as you know, is brave and self-sacrificing. Especially when his pride (and candy) are at stake.

A month later, a different kind of superhero emerged: the firefighter. Our sons donned bright red plastic helmets, boarded their “fire truck” and sirened, “REE-oh, REE-oh,” as big brother Andy furiously pedaled his trusty sidekick around in circles on the back patio.

November 1990.

The Disney movie “Dumbo” was big in our house that year. Andy would watch it endlessly, perched on my stepladder, his fireman’s hat in place, pretending to put out the fire as the clown fire fighters in the movie tried to do the same.

Superman made a repeat performance for Andy’s fourth birthday. We staged a “Super Sloppy, Super Heroes Birthday Party” in the backyard. He and his friends wore costumes, capes (or simply swimsuits) as they fought ferocious battles with shaving cream and spray bottles. We modeled the party after a TV show that was popular at the time called “Super Sloppy Double Dare,” a children’s game show that Nickelodeon soon purchased and renamed “Family Double Dare.”

Andy and his friend Sarah Delaney, July 1989.

The invitations I made invited kids to enjoy “all kinds of super sloppy fun, including the Amazing Super Silly Sudsing Machine” (my carpet cleaner, which generated suds like nothing you’ve ever seen.) Moms were reassured that “all sloppy stuff will be the washable kind.”

Spacemen. Now those guys are true superheroes. So when yet another box of costumes arrived from their grandmother Barr (did I mention she was a theater major in college?), our sons eagerly incorporated planets, aliens and laser guns into their pretend play. The costumes were gifts for two boys whose birthdays were a mere 12 days apart each July, making the entire month something of a celebration. Their fascination with spacemen extended well into fall, making for easy costume decisions when Halloween rolled around.

Spaceman Dave, Halloween 1989.

Our sons moved on to become Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Ghostbusters. I soon forgot what they looked like in regular clothes. I got used to tripping over weapons and helmets and elaborate fortresses they created with blankets atop the living room sofa.

The superheroes made one last, heroic appearance when Batman and Robin showed up in the spring of 1990. By the next year, the boys had found a new kind of superhero: the kind with big muscles who throw footballs or baseballs or make amazing three-pointers on the basketball court. Pretend play gave way to real competition on soccer and T-ball fields, followed by Little League and Pop Warner fields and eventually high school and college football and lacrosse fields.

Robin (Dave) and Batman (Andy) under the kitchen table, 1990.

Both of our sons are now college graduates and working professionals with exciting, meaningful jobs in Washington, D.C.

Superheroes in their own right.

David (left) and Andy during a Christmas 2010 visit to Santa Barbara to see their grandmother...the one who bought all the superhero costumes.


Post-Halloween wrap-up…and some inspiration for next year

I spent part of Saturday night at Tempe Marketplace with my cousin’s daughter Andrea, who is a junior at ASU. She’d been invited to a Halloween party and didn’t have a costume.

As a pre-dental student, her first idea was to be a “killer tooth fairy” with wand and wings and a bloody mouth. But fairy gear options at the much-picked-over Halloween Superstore were either sized for 8-year-olds or over-the-top sexually suggestive.

So we moved on to Target, where we put our imaginations to work. (Not that easy when they were playing Christmas carols in  the Halloween section.) By then, Andrea had changed her mind and decided to be a hobo. We found an extra large brown plaid shirt in the men’s department that already had a tear in the shoulder (an extra 10% off!). She bought hair products and makeup and we parted ways.

A little over an hour later I was at home on the couch when I got a text with this photo attached. Once she got back to her apartment, her costume idea had morphed again. With the help of her roommates and a pair of lab glasses, she’d become “a lab experiment gone horribly wrong.”

At Stage Mom blogger Lynn Trimble’s suggestion yesterday, I posted a message asking RAK Facebook friends to send us pictures of Halloween costumes.  Here are some of my favorites.


Lisa Geyser sent this photo of her son Jackson as Elvis.

Scary and sweet

Danielle Arcadi sent a photo of “my little Darth Vader and my twins as Mickey & Minnie Mouse.” In real life, the kids are Bella, Braeden and Beau Arcadi.


Barbie Best-Jones sent this picture of her 3-year-old daughter, Isabella Hyde Jones. “We actually stumbled into this costume at Hissyfits, a local children’s resale store on 7th St. & Glendale. I laughed so hard that [she] had to wear it home.”

DIY Dalmatian

Michelle Zerth sent this photo of her 7-year-old son Eddie. “This costume cost very little money and he helped make it,” she wrote. “He wanted to be a Dalmatian for Halloween. He colored the spots on the shirt and I made his ears out of paper and stapled them to a hat. I did buy the makeup pencils at Walmart for $3. He loved it and [wore it] on Saturday the 30th; on Sunday the 31st he changed his mind after finding his old Spiderman suit in his drawer. He went as Spiderman instead. Even though the outfit was like three years old, he didn’t care a bit.”


Avondale mom Shelly Hightower sent this pictures of her son Zane, who dressed up as a box of Kraft Macaroni & Cheese for Halloween. “It is his favorite food, and is on the menu at our house every day!” Shelly wrote.




News12 anchor and longtime friend Lin Sue Cooney visited the Raising Arizona Kids website for inspiration. (Or, as she put it, “Stole your YouTube idea for my costume tonight!”)

This idea originally came from our former community relations manager, Katie Charland (above). Nice variation, Lin Sue!

Have a photo you’d like to share? Please send it to me at karen@raisingarizonakids.com.