Ah, yes, Halloween approaches. The toy store has a full display of dress-up. Firemen suits. Fairy outfits with wings. Secret agent coats with spy sunglasses and mustaches. Dorothy dresses and red ruby slippers. Doctor coats. Knight armour. Capes, and hats. King Tut hats. Crowns. Toy Story hats. Jester hats. Princess crowns. Thanksgiving turkey hats. Witch hats. And all of these hats sit in baskets, or on shelves, or on the spinner rack, the rack I must straighten at least ten times per day because kids (really, more adults and teens) spin the rack, try on every hat, and pose for picture after picture while laughing hysterically. (The babies do not enjoy posing, and in many cases, cry.) Sometimes, I want to cry,too, when I walk to the back of the store–after another picture session–and find a multitude of hats strewn on the floor, as well as glasses. I bend over . . . Pick up . . . Sort . . . Rearrange . . . Stretch on my tip-toes to reach the top of the spinner rack . . . Bend over . . . Pick up . . .
(Well, it can be considered a form of exercise!)
It is nice to see people enjoying themselves. Laughing and smiling. Though, sometimes we don’t have what a child wants. A five-year-old girl who frequents our store wants to be a bat for Halloween. Aside from stuffed bats and bat puppets, all I can offer is a suggestion on how to make a bat outfit, while secretly being thankful that I don’t have to do it myself.
But the best part is when a child finds an outfit he is excited about, and we have the needed size on hand. Last week, a seven-year-old boy was torn over choosing between a Spiderman/Batman cape, a police outfit, or the secret agent attire. I suggested that he try on the secret agent coat. “It’s okay,” he told me. “Just okay?” I said, grabbing the hat to put on his head. I handed him the spy glasses to wear, and pointed him in the direction of a mirror. While he admired his new persona, I assembled a secret agent case, and then helped him put on a mustache.
“I LOVE IT!” he said, still admiring his reflection in the mirror, and then in the glass doll cases. And the glass Steiff cases. And the window behind our register. His mother paid for the outfit while the boy pulled up on the coat’s collar. With a salute, he headed out the door on a mission. “A spy mission to save the world,” he told me.
I wished him well, and headed up the ramp for my own mission: picking the hats, once again, off the floor. In the middle of my stretching routine, the phone rang.
It was my granddaughter.
“I will love it. What are you going to be?”
“I. Am. Gonna. Be. A Bat.”
“Oh . . . I love it!” She chatted while I envisioned making this costume in my spare time, which I have none of at this moment.
The next morning, we search for bat costumes on the Internet. Sadly, so many of them are inappropriate for a young girl to wear. (I won’t comment on this now.) Finally, we find a bat costume. A cute one. A black bat. It’s perfect, and the price is reasonable, and there is free shipping!
“How is this one?” I ask Ava and point at my computer screen. It is 7:15 in the morning. I feel hopeful. I am ready to click on the button to finalize my purchase.
I wonder if I can convince her to be a secret agent instead?