CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Coming up with creative Halloween costume ideas has never been hard for my daughter.
The hard part has been talking her out of some of those ideas. For instance, going as conjoined nuns wasn't quite different enough for her and a friend.
"We should make them be pregnant," said Celeste.
I told her lightning strikes aren't common at the end of October, but she might be pushing her luck.
Last year, Celeste went as a Goth Smurf, a costume so weirdly disturbing it actually made one little kid cry. All the genuinely scary costumes -- the bloody masks, vampires and zombies -- didn't frighten that boy a bit, but the blue-faced, black-lipped, skinny girl did.
It's hard to tell what she'll have decided on by the time this column hits print, or how many ideas I'll have had to work hard to dissuade. She came up with and rejected a half-dozen new costumes in a single evening. (My favorite in the reject pile was for her and her friends to go as the peopleofwalmart.com.)
It's generally pretty easy to figure out who waited until the last minute to come up with a costume. The groups of teenage girls with pajamas, teddy bears and ponytails. The teen boys in camo jackets or football jerseys. Adults grumble over giving candy to costumes like those, but Celeste's strange creations usually generate so much candy that several unload trips are required.
My friend Pam Hanson, formerly of Morgantown, is a mother of one college- and one high-school-age son. Although Pam is one of the most creative people I know, she used to dread Halloween because she draws a blank when it comes to costumes. One of her boys once had to resort to wrapping himself in a brown blanket and going as a baked potato.
Back in the days when Pam was a homeroom mother, she dreaded Halloween because she said the best she could manage for those kids needing costume assistance was to wrap them in toilet paper and make them into mummies.