Amazing Kids! Magazine

The Best Halloween Costume Ever!

By Ryan Traynor, Contributing Writer


Josh laid across his bed crosswise staring up to the ceiling. It already was the first of October and he had no idea what he was going to be for Halloween. He was SO tired of a boy in his class named Ben that always came to school with the latest and greatest costume from the Halloween store downtown. He would parade around at school as if he was the greatest thing on Earth and it always made Josh feel so small. He really wanted, just once, to show Ben up in the costume parade. Maybe then he wouldn’t feel so different. All of his friends were able to buy costumes at the costume store but Josh was always left to make his own from things he found around the house. This year it would be different. He would start asking early to get a Halloween costume. Maybe this year his Mom would break down and agree.

Josh’s dad had been killed several years earlier in an automobile accident. Since then, his mother had been supporting him and his younger brother. It hadn’t been easy for her. She had been forced to go back to work during the swing shift so Josh and his brother Ian were expected to do their homework and get to bed on their own. Their neighbor came by from 4 to 9 every evening that his mother worked but, besides setting out their dinner for them, she did nothing but sit in front of the television watching games shows and eating potato chips. Josh had taken on the role of caretaker during this time and made sure his brother finished his homework and brushed his teeth before going to bed. Josh didn’t resent his mother working, but it would be nice to every now and then not feel guilty when he outgrew his clothes. He knew money was tight but sometimes he wished he could get a brand new outfit instead of waiting for hand-me-downs from his cousins. He would be willing to wear the same pair of jeans to school every day this year if he could just get a new Halloween costume this year.

The next morning he got up an extra 10 minutes early so he could talk to his mother before school. Bouncing down the steps he saw her at the kitchen counter pouring their cereal in a bowl.

“Hi Mom!” he spoke with a smile in his voice.

“Well hello to you Josh!” his mom said. “You’re up awful early this morning.”

“Mom,” Josh began hesitantly. “Is there a chance I could get a Halloween costume from the Spirit Store this year? I promise I’ll be good and help you out even more. I’ll even get up early every morning to make our lunches so you don’t have to. I’m tired of being the only one to make my own costume each year. This year I want to be Batman with the cool mask.”

Josh tried to sound convincing as he shot her his most hopeful expression.

“Oh Josh,” she began, her voice trailing off at the end. It made his heart hurt just watching her sorrowful expression. “We’ll see.”

He set off to school with a disappointment in his belly that made it ache all through his first class.

That afternoon when he burst into the house, he walked past the dining room table where his mother had paperwork strewn in separate columns. Her penciled handwriting was in front of the chair and he realized that she had spent a great deal of time going over the family finances that day before work. In the budget column, she had clearly tried different numbers but the eraser shavings were shoved to the left of the paper as evidence of her inability to make things work. Glancing down the paper he saw that there was an item that had been circled. The “Work lunch” item had a lower number next to it with the notation “Water and PBJ for 2 months.” He stood there, cemented in the spot, staring at the page as the realization of what his mother had been doing sunk in. She was willing to not drink coffee or soda and bring peanut butter and jelly for her lunch for two months in order for him to buy a Halloween costume?

Josh went up to his room and stared at the ceiling again. How selfish he had been. He had made his mom feel guilty about a one-time costume when she had been sacrificing for so long to just get them through every day. He’d make a point to tell her he had changed his mind when she came home. With a new resolve, he finished his homework, helped his brother and went to bed.

The next morning he bounded down the stairs to talk to his mother. There, sitting on the kitchen table, was a present wrapped with a nice bow. His mother turned around from the stove with a wide smile, gesturing to the present.

“Go ahead and open it,” she said with anticipation.

He gingerly unwrapped the paper, being careful to fold the paper so that it could be reused again. There, inside, he found the coolest, the greatest, the absolutely newest batman costume he had ever seen. He twirled around and through his arms around his mother’s waist as tears of happiness streamed down his face.

“Thanks Mom. I knew you’d understand how important this was to me.” They hugged each other for a long time and then they went back to their tasks to get out the door to school.

At school, Josh had a strange combination of feelings inside. He was SO excited about his new costume but didn’t want to tell anyone to ruin their surprise. However, every time he smiled when he thought about the costume a vision of his mother drinking tap water at work with a peanut butter and jelly sandwich would pop into his head. He just couldn’t shake it. It wasn’t until he decided what he must do that a smile crept back to his face again.

The week of Halloween the school announced their costume parade. Josh was ready. His mother was going into work late that day so she could see Josh and Ian in the parade. All week Josh had rushed home from school and kept himself locked in his room working hard on his project.  Finally the day arrived. As Josh went out the door, he slipped an envelope into his mom’s purse that said, “FOR YOU!’

At school they were given the 15 minute warning for the parade. Josh went into the boy’s bathroom and began to put on his costume. First he put on his red sweat pants and sweatshirt. Next, slipping the masking tape attachments onto his arms, he added two large monster hands with claws made out of cardboard that he had painted red with white claws. The final piece was the head. Josh had made a monster head out of a pizza box painted red with white teeth made out of Styrofoam cups he had been given from the stores near his house. He had glued an orange ball onto the top for the nose and had two white balls glued on for the eyes. He had glued Easter eggs to the white balls for the center of the eyes. The final touch was eyebrows made out of heavy cardboard to give the monster an angry scowl. Placing this over his head, it looked as if he had been eaten by a great big red monster.

Josh was worried that he would be made fun of for having yet another homemade costume this year so he hesitated coming out of the bathroom. Finally, he swallowed hard and pushed through the door. It seemed as if every eye was on him, pointing and laughing. It took Josh a minute to understand that they LOVED his costume; they weren’t making fun of it. The other kids surrounded him and asked him how he made it.

He looked over and his mother was coming towards him.

When she was close enough to hear he said, “I just thought of how my mother would look without her coffee.” Then he smiled a big smile and gave her a big wink.

His mother reached down and gave him a little hug and then whispered in his ear, “Josh, what’s this?” as she showed him the envelope.

“Well, Mom,” he began. “I decided you needed a treat more than me so I returned the costume. This one turned out to be much better anyway. “

“Are you sure you’re okay with this?” she asked.

“Are you kidding? The kids are already asking me what I’m going to be next year. They asked me if I was going to be a superhero and I said, ‘No’ because my superhero is my Mom.”

With that, they gave each other a hug and he proudly joined in with the costume parade.