Before I had kids, I just had opinions. I will never let MY kids rot their brains on television. MY kids will be well-mannered, MY kids will never eat "Lunchables" or " Spongebob GoGurts"... when I would see filthy snot-nosed children running around with crusted spaghetti sauce all over their cheeks, I would think "Why don't THOSE parents just wipe their kids faces" ... MY kids will never have dirty faces. Topping the list of how much better a parent than all existing parents I would hypothetically be is ... MY children will NEVER wear those store-bought Halloween costumes.

If you have children you are laughing at me. You also may guess that my 5- and 6-year-old boys are at this very moment punching each other in the head with the inflatable guns I swore I would never buy, dripping popsicles onto their ketchup stains while watching "Ninjago" past their bedtimes. Clearly this Halloween thing is all I'm hanging onto.

It is not that I am opposed to cheap flammable outfits that every other kid in the neighborhood has. (And by cheap I mean we could finance a space jump or we could buy Super Mario Bros. costumes). I think my hesitation is more about what the costumes represent to me ... The last modicum of control. Up until now, their adorableness was a direct result of MY awesomeness. They were like little extensions of self-expression. I could dress them how I want ( like rock stars ), put them in classes that interest me ( hip-hop and drums ) Ignoring their interests in soccer ( yawn ). Redirecting their desire for "Angry Birds" T-shirts with the distraction of cool noncommercial dinosaur T-shirts that I like better, " rawwwwrrr let's get these dino shirts then grab some ice cream." I could persuade, bribe ... trick them into being and doing what I like.

Now they have ideas of their own ... and some of them are for sale at Walmart for $39.99. So there is this dilemma, Do I let them be themselves? Or do I control their creativity? Can I live with a Ghostbuster and a Green Lantern, straight out of a plastic bag ... or must I intervene with "Mad Scientist Robots!" I'm busy, I have stuff to do, I finally cleaned up my kitchen, I don't need another hot-glue glitter explosion ... it would be sooo easy to just buy an outfit, everything included. In the time it has taken me to extrapolate the query, I could have bought the costumes already with time left to change a tire (AKA time to spare) ... and yet ... I feel the need to stave it off one more year, to push that impending independence back just a little longer.

I have drawn the conclusion that ... it doesn't matter. It doesn't matter if I pimp out my kid in the finest disguise money can buy, or throw him in a bag of garbage with a box of Ramen on his head. It doesn't matter in the same way it doesn't matter which bottle nipple I chose to use when they were born, oy vey, the time I spent deliberating over the perfect nipple! Next year ... I will let them make their own decisions ... maybe ... But this year ... let's just say, they're not gonna be thrilled when I show the slideshow at their wedding. I just couldn't let go ... We made these out of trash from our house and some air-conditioning duct work ... I bet they last 3 minutes trolling the neighborhood in these "scratchy " "I can't see " "Mom the arms are cutting me " "I wanted to be a police car!" creations ... but at least I'm happy ... I mean seriously, the cutest things ever, right!