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Happy Halloween: A holiday close to home

Halloween is my favorite holiday of all time, by far. It is the perfect holiday to kick off fall. As the foggy days start to roll in and the smell of newly fallen rain is in the air, I think Halloween fits the atmosphere so perfectly. Plus, it's the one time of the year when Spirit of Halloween is open, which is my favorite store EVER. Even if you don't like going trick-or-treating, I think Halloween has a little something for everyone. You can hang out with friends and watch horror movies, you can dress up and go crazy or you can lock the door, turn out the lights and pig out with the candy you were going to give to the neighborhood kids. While we don't know if trick-or-treating will even be a viable Halloween activity this year, it is still such a fun season to engulf yourself in. The weather is finally cool enough out to wear sweaters, Animal Crossing has a fun Halloween update and I think I've watched The Nightmare Before Christmas three times already. Despite all the other fun things we get to do each year for spooky season, dressing up will always be my favorite. It's something my sisters and I get so excited for each year, something we all get to share together. Every year I like to think back to all of our past years of Halloweens in the many different places we've lived and experienced. Halloween never looks the same when you're in different parts of the country or of the world. I thought I might share with you guys some of the fun Halloween experiences I've gotten to have over the years.

I got to spend my first few Halloweens in Fort Hood! As you can see, I was a monkey, the absolute peak of fashion. While this isn't technically my first Halloween, I got to spend this Halloween with my military siblings. These siblings may not be my flesh and blood, but they are as much family as my own sisters and they mean the world to me! I always spend my Halloweens and my holidays with my siblings, and I think that's part of what makes this particular memory of Halloween so special to me.

I love bees and apparently, so did three year old me. I know in our many home videos, there is a video of my mom trying to get me to show the camera my "stinger" and me immediately getting distracted by something on the floor. Not much has changed there either.

This was my first Halloween with my first little sister, Lily! I was a very big fan of Dora the Explorer at the time and unfortunately, my poor sister was dragged into my obsession. That year, I was a very off-brand version of Dora. I will say, I tried. Really, I did. My sister however, absolutely nailed it. You can't even tell she's wearing a costume.

This was the start to the many homemade costumes we would make it the future. My mom is very crafty and whipped this beautiful flower pot costume together for me. The costume honestly reminds me of those singing flowers from Alice in Wonderland. My sister on the other hand, reminds me of myself since she got sloppy seconds. We both were very cute bees though.

In Australia, Halloween isn't as popular of a holiday as it us in the states so, we skipped out on actual trick-or-treating and costumes for that year. We did get to see so many cool landmarks when we lived there and one of them was a haunted prison! A perfectly atmospheric place for the Halloween season.

In El Paso, we had our first official Halloween trio! An on-going tradition of my family's has been to do iconic trios, since there are three of us. I got to be Glinda, the good witch, while my sisters were Dorothy and the Wicked Witch of the West. I remember thinking that I would be stuck with pink hair for the rest of my life, and was so disappointed when it came off almost immediately in the shower. These costumes and props survived so many moves, I don't even know how they weren't falling apart at the seams. The broom, as broken as it was, later ended up in many of my early creative short films, made on iMovie of course.

My family is definitely the winner when it comes to the best homemade costumes. I remember, very vaguely, my mom cutting out the felt for the hearts and gluing them to the shirts. I also vaguely remember being jealous of my sisters for their fancy props, especially the very well made clock.

These costumes might have the most interesting story for them by far. We had just moved to Maryland and it would've been really hard to make or buy costumes in time. It was a night or two before Halloween and my dad had a spark of genius looking at our broken down boxes. My parents already wanted us to be a s'more for years before and they knew they could finally make it happen. Everytime we bring up this year, my dad so humbly has to mention how his measurements for the graham cracker and chocolate bar were "one-hundred percent to scale." He isn't exaggerating, they were perfectly to scale.

My family was absolutely in love with the show Once Upon A Time for a couple of years. My mom would always watch it and talk about it with our friends and family. We even had a party for one of the seasons with homemade themed treats. So of course we had to have a Halloween themed around it. Best part about these costumes by far was the weaponry. Lily has her bow and arrow, Jana has her sword and I have my felt and superglue fireball.

For our first Copperas Cove, Texas Halloween, we decided we would be three of the five emotions from Inside Out. We almost got our mom to be one of the other emotions but she backed out. Needless to say, this one came out really well. After this picture my mom said I didn't look sad enough but, looking back on it, I definitely looked sad but, Jana dominated with her level of disgust. This year began a tradition of Halloween spent with my Army "Aunt and Uncle". Our Army Family brings love and laughter and makes our world complete!

I don't think you can name a better all-girl trio then the Powerpuff Girls. This was all homemade all the way with scissors, oversized t-shirts, heat and bond, hot glue and safety pins. Even our mom joined the fun and was Mojo Jojo, who unfortunately isn't pictured here. Mojo Jojo will live on in our hearts.

This year's Halloween was very divergent from our usual route. For starters, we did a trunk-or-treat for our Battalion in addition to regular neighborhood trick-or-treating. We usually never did trunk-or-treating but, this was the same year that our Battalion had been deployed to South Korea. It wasn't unusual that our dad was away since he was usually off doing things for work around Hallowen but, it was strange that he was in a different country on this particular Halloween. Secondly, we usually made our own costumes or made parts of our cotumes. That year, we pratically begged our mom to let us be superheroes and she reluctantly agreed to get us fancy costumes.We tried to make Jana be Batgirl but, she was too good for that. Here you have Wonderwoman, Supergirl and, yours truly, Batman.

This year might've been one of the best of the bunch. If you can't tell, we are the Sanderson Sisters from Hocus Pocus: Winifred, Sarah and Mary. The costumes were done almost all from scratch, minus the wigs. We had the makeup, we had the nails and we even bought a trio of lawn ghosts that coordinated with our colors for some awesome pictures. Our capes got soaked as we traveled the neighborhood but it was so worth it for how amazing we looked.

Our Carlisle, Pennsylvania Halloween was rainy and cold! This Halloween will hold a special place in my life and my memories. My Mom and Dad joined in our fun as we played out a family movie classic, The Nightmare before Christmas! We did some neighborhood trick-or-treating, I got to wear my costume to Marching Band Practice and all the band families hosted a trunk or treat for us after practice!

Even though it's just a day where I get to dress up and get candy that will last me the months before Christmas, it does stand as a testament to my life as a military kid. Each year is special, each year is different, and each year carries unique memories. While not as big and meaningful as deployments and moves, I get to see how I've grown and changed over the years. I get to remember the places I've gotten to see and homes I've had to leave. Memories are important to me, especially as a military kid, and Halloween has brought some good ones.


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