I love Halloween. I don’t love the scary parts, but I love every other part, candy, costumes, decorating, costumes, pumpkins, did I mention costumes? How can you not love it? Growing up, I felt a bit deprived of experiencing all the goodness that came with this holiday since we mostly lived in condos, and didn’t get to fully experience the joys that came with decorating and greeting trick or treaters. So, when we moved to our new home a couple of years a go, I vowed to make Halloween a BIG deal in our home. Luckily, I had daughters that were totally on board with my crazy ideas.
Last year I turned the Basement Playroom into a toddler friendly haunted house… After all, Halloween would be a perfect holiday if it didn’t have all the scary parts. Mila dressed up as Elsa (so did every other girl aged 3 to 13) and since we knew it would be the final year we could pick Marlowe’s costume, at age 1 we dressed her up as Elsa’s sidekick, Olaf. Needless to say, she was not as excited as her sister.
The basement playroom serves as the perfect space for a haunted house, it can be curtained off to feel contained and the two feature walls, The Enchanted Forest Wall and The Alphabet Wall work as great backdrops for the creepy-fun vibe I tried to achieve. Below is the “Before” shot of our airy basement playroom. For my first attempt at the Haunted House, I waited until the girls were sleeping and decorated the basement, only to surprise them with the reveal on Halloween morning. Needless to say their reactions were priceless and made the mess of cleaning up cobwebs the next few days totally worth it. The haunted house was visited by friends, family and neighbours throughout the evening and Mila was a proud tour guide. In addition to decorations, I used sound effects, music and lights throughout the space to create an even more haunting atmosphere. Ironically, this was the scariest thing left from the party the next day:
Yep, that’s Elmo’s decapitated head, courtesy of my brother-in-law, who thought the kids would really enjoy beating an Elmo piñata. I’m pretty sure I heard the girls yell “No Elmo! No!” in their sleep all the way till Christmas that year.
Of course, a couple of weeks before the party I had to dress up the girls and take pictures to use for the invite. Again, Marlowe didn’t have much say in her costume, but she did seem eerily comfortable in it. This year, Halloween sort of snuck up on us, we were busier with school, work, the flu and life. But we still managed to make it an enjoyable break from all the craziness. Here is the 2015 version of the Haunted Basement Playroom which I decorated while the girls were at school. This time I admit there is a part of me that prefers to decorate without them around since they can get in the way…and I really take my decorating seriously.
Since Marlowe is two now, and shares her sister’s (and her mother’s) passion for dressing up, I decided to do something I have always wanted to do for our Halloween Party invites this year. I dressed the girls in their collection of Disney Princess costumes, posed them on Mila’s daybed (see A Big Girl Room For My Little Girl ) and gave them a variety of Disney approved props to play with. I think the only thing I love more than Halloween is Disney (something else I felt deprived of growing up). So, ta da, here was my opportunity to play dress up with my very own Disney dolls. Yes, it was as fun as it looks.It was also exhausting. We had 7 outfit changes (times 2), and I had to fulfill the roles of stylist, prop master, hair dresser, photographer and official princess-nose-wiper. I used a variety of toys in the photos, including my favourite Disney sidekicks, Abu, Flounder and Olaf. Mila, who is an expert on Disney Princesses ensured that all the accessories were correctly matched (don’t you dare wear a Cinderella crown with a Snow White dress, holy Disney Princess fashion no-no).I photographed the girls from the same spot in the room and chose not to shoot with flash, despite the fact that it was a bit dark and the girls were moving non-stop (see Photographing Toddlers). But I didn’t mind the blurry shots and I knew that I would be using them in a collage format, so I wasn’t bothered by imperfect photos. I used a Canon Rebel camera for these pictures. Here are some of my favourite photos that day of my little princesses.
Even though we have been doing monthly photo-shoots all year (see A (Half) Year of Mila and Marlowe and Mila and Marlowe in Autumn), this was by far the girls’ favourite shoot to date, especially Marlowe, who finally got upgraded from Olaf. She was much happier as Minnie Mouse this year and Mila decided to dress up as a less mainstream princess option, Jasmine.
It makes me happy to know that the memories I make with my daughters celebrating Halloween include lots of laughs, family time and surprises. I can’t think of a holiday that is more fun-filled, well, when you cut out all that unnecessary scary stuff that is.