A Recalcitrant Wife and Mother Tells All

My Mental Health Journey (Part 2): A Halloween Retrospective

So that was what all of our family Halloweens looked like BBH (before Bucket Head).

Once he joined the party in the spring of 2007, things got exponentially more challenging for me. To cope with the extra workload, I bought Mini-Me’s costume at Tarjay, wrapped Nature Boy in muslin rags from my fabric stash, and put Bucket Head in a brown fleece onesie/hat combo, claiming he was a baby bear.

We trick-or-treated that year with some friends whose child had a full-blown meltdown if he wasn’t the FIRST to ring the door bell at every.    single.    house.  And his parents bickered the entire evening about the best way to manage their son’s obsessively competitive nature. Meanwhile, Nature Boy’s muslin mummy rags were unraveling with every step he took and he would not stop whining about how much he hated his costume. I drank copious amounts of wine from my cleverly disguised travel coffee mug to quiet the voices deal with the stress.

Woodland Fairy, Mummy, Baby Bear, Halloween 2007. Nice bowling ball hold.

The best part about that year was watching Mini-Me carve a pumpkin with a power drill.

"Nothing comes between me and my Black & Decker."

Honest to Pete, if times ever get tough, I’mma just rent her out to do demos at The Home Depot. 

By 2008, I was starting to regain my will to live. Of course, all that illegally obtained prescription speed might have had something to do with it.

That was the year my two big kids wanted to be werewolves.

They think they're werewolves...

Little did they know, for the first time in 8 years, Mommy was going to dress up too…

...but I called them "target practice."

That was the year Mama Cloud moved into my neighborhood and we became fast friends. I love to joke about the fact that she’s technically young enough to be my daughter. That gave her a great idea. Look who showed up to trick-or-treat with us that year: 

Iris and Mama Cloud as Sarah and Bristol Palin, Halloween 2008.

Here in North Georgia, this ensemble went over like a blender full of kittens. Live and learn. At least I now know which of my neighbors own pitchforks if I ever need to borrow one. 

Bucket Head was 18 months old that year, so we dressed him all in red and told him he was Elmo.

He was pretty fucking terrified by the whole experience.

The face says it all.

It sure was fun to dress up again! But sadly, that spunky groove was short lived. I abandoned my burgeoning blog so I could help Mini-Me through a rough patch in Kindergarten. She had just been diagnosed as having sensory processing challenges and it was translating into behavior issues at school. By the time we got to the next Halloween, I was pretty tuckered out and told the kids they had to make do out of old costumes and stuff they could find around the house. I like to call this move “fostering independence.”

Bank Robber, Indian, Dinosaur, Halloween 2009.

As you can see, they did pretty well on their own that year. Noted!

Which brings us to last year. That was the year I turned 40 and ran my first 5k race. Mini-Me had a great teacher who appreciated her uniqueness and was thriving at school. Bucket Head finally figured out how to buckle himself into and out of his own 5 point harness car seat…always a milestone for me of light at the end of the tunnel!

And I was well enough to dress up again with the kids. Even The Gatekeeper got into it for the first time ever.

We asked my 81 year old father-in-law to take a picture of us:

Nailed it.

And that’s just how he operates a camera. You should see him drive a car.

Luckily, one of my brothers-in-law was standing by:

Charlie Brown, Flo the Progressive Mascot, Cow, She-Devil, Raccoon, Halloween 2010.

Nature Boy made that cow costume all by himself! It was so cute. I bought that raccoon costume for $5 at a consignment sale. Mini-Me, well, what can I say? At least she didn’t want the Naughty Nurse costume (yet).

But my favorite picture from last year:

Hottest. Charlie Brown. Evah.

I mean really. What a good sport! He totally let me paint that squiggle on his big bald head. I sure do love that man.

Sadly, we went to a family-friendly costume party where we ended up being the only adults in costume. The Gatekeeper is scarred for life, bless his heart. Also, note to self, it’s a good idea to know your audience before attending a costume party. A majority of the guests at this shin-dig were the kind of folks who don’t have cable TV. (On purpose.) (I know!) So most of them didn’t know who Flo was. I kept getting asked if I just got off work. Pearls to swine, I say.

So here we are, Halloween 2011.

What are the kids dressing as this year? Who are we trick-or-treating with? Will The Gatekeeper join in the fun or is he still licking his wounds from last year? Is Iris too mentally ill to bother with a costume? How much alcohol will be involved? Will Nature Boy be permitted to trick-or-treat with his friends and no adult supervision? All these questions and more will be answered tomorrow. 

Come back then for a very special All Saints Day/Halloween Hangover edition of The Bearded Iris: A Recalcitrant Wife and Mother Tells All.



© Copyright 2011, The Bearded Iris. All rights reserved.


  1. Alexis@TroublesomeTots

    This is awesomeness.

    And Charlie Brown is so cute! Never be embarrassed because you go to a party and are the only ones in costume (read: clearly the coolest people in the room). Also, never party with people who don’t have cable TV on purpose. Seriously! I have no time in my life for people who can’t appreciate Timothy Olyphant on Justified (CABLE YO).

    I am not doing costumes with my kids this year because they are so little it’s all I can do to get THEM in costume. But I can’t wait until we are all dressed to the nines like you guys. Well done sir!

    • The Bearded Iris

      Aw – that makes me feel so much better, thanks Alexis! You’re right, I’d rather be cool, fun, and different than blend in and be boring any day! Oh man, Timothy Olyphant…yum.

  2. El

    Iris, you have the gift of making others laugh 🙂 Happy Halloween!!!

    • The Bearded Iris

      Thanks El, honey! Miss you!

  3. Kelly

    Flo and Charlie Brown! You guys rock. Great costumes.

    • The Bearded Iris

      Thanks Kelly! Probably would have made more sense if I was Lucy or he was an insurance customer, but that’s pretty par for our communication style! Hahahaha!

  4. Kristen

    Love the cute costumes!! My grandmother used to make ours for us every year… then we moved. My mom is gifted in many ways but cannot sew a stitch, so that was when the “make something out of these old sheets” concept was born.

    • The Bearded Iris

      I bet there’s a lot you can do with old sheets, a glue gun, some chicken wire, pipe cleaners, and a box of wine. 😉

  5. Jane

    I love that you dressed up as Flo-so clever! She cracks me up- I guess I watch a lot of tv. And yeah for the Gatekeeper-whatta guy! I can’t wait to see tomorrow’s picture!

    • The Bearded Iris

      Thanks Janie! I love her too. That hair bump is to die for. So hard to do!! I even bought an extra large “Bump-It” and everything, but couldn’t get anywhere near her volume. She’s adorable.

  6. Pricilla - Famous SpokesGoat

    The publicist LOVED the Sarah and Bristol Palin but then she is not from Georgia….

    Perhaps you are going as a Famous SpokesGoat?!

  7. FiveOGrrl

    I’m going to be a pedestrian tonight. Wurd.

  8. Stacey H.

    At first I thought your oldest son had a flask tied around his neck, but then I realized it was a cowbell. I need more coffee…Latah! Love the Flo! too cute!!!

    • The Bearded Iris

      Is it a cowbell? Or is it a flask? I’ll never tell.

  9. Allysgrandma

    My eldest went as Monica Lewinski one year. I swear she looked exactly like her complete with the navy sheath dress with a stain on it and the hat too. She won the costume contest at work!

    Me….I just love the kids. I love Halloween and I love your family too! I love your Flo costume too. We are TV addicts so no problem with us knowing who she is!

  10. Bernie Bickers

    1) WOW – Your Flo Costume was AMAZING! Best I’ve seen anywhere in a long time. Sadly, though, you have your work cut out for you trying to top your “Peg Bundy” getup from back at school. You had everyone rolling with that one. Tough to peak early, but what can you do. If you can scare up a photo of Peg I think your readers would love it.
    2) Once again the Gatekeeper has proven himself the strongest man south of the Donna Dixon line – mad props to him. The only ones in costume? Ouch. My wife just brings me to parties where everybody speaks Russian except me…
    3) How could you not have thrown me any props for posting the Larry David “Pig Parker” clip on your blog? Still nursing the disappointment…
    4) I was on a flight last week and I flew directly over your North Georgia ‘hood – so funny that I was probably only a few miles away, but “dropping in for a visit” unannounced would have been simultaneously rude and messy.

    Hope you and the Fam’ wow us with some more great outfits this year. We’re just getting up the Halloween curve here in NYC but I hope to give you a run for your money sometime soon.

    • The Bearded Iris

      1.) Thank you. I’m nothing if not a freak for small details. Ah yes, the infamous Peg Bundy costume…where are those pictures when I need them? That is the night we first met, yes? And I do believe you were a mammogram machine, so we were a match made in heaven, right? Or was that a different year? (Brain cells…they’re the 2nd thing to go.)

      2.) He rocks, fo shiz. Ouch is right. Those Russian parties actually sound way more fun than the no-cable-TV-crew.

      3.) So sorry – I totally forgot about the Pig Parker clip. So funny!!!

      4.) We have a trampoline. Drop in anytime!

  11. Kris the Colts fan

    When people say they’re dressing up as flow, I get a mental picture of a used tampon which reminds me of the pictures you posted with your kid sticking his head through the feminine hygiene trash can in a public restroom.

    But I digress. I dressed up as a slutty pirate bar wench this year and got drunk on tequila and disco’ed. It was very satisfying for all my personalities.

    Happy Halloween!!!!!

    • The Bearded Iris

      Arrrrgh, love the slutty pirate! Multiple personalities rejoice!

  12. KC

    I remember the Sarah Palin and Bristol photo from when it was first published. It still has that coffee-filtered-through-nostrils effect it generated the first time. Awesome halloween-ish-ness with or without added alcohol…

    • The Bearded Iris

      Oh KC, you are such an awesome loyal bloggy friend! Thank you for remembering and nostril-filtering your coffee a second time anyway. xo

  13. MikeP

    I don’t know who Flo the Progressive Mascot is but I was thinking more Nurse Jackie. Got any vicodin?

    We’re going to a party this Saturday; KC is Guy Fawkes AFTER the bomb went off and I’m a Jason Statham geezer bank-robber / investment banker. Same thing really.

  14. Dawn@LightenUp!

    Oh, thank the Good Lord I am not the only one who walks around town with hooch in a “coffee mug.”
    You and me? Separated at birth. I swear.
    Also, you rocked the Flo. Screw the hippies without TVs. Weirdos.

  15. LifeLessons

    You make an AWESOME Flo! I wish I’d followed you with a camera trick or treating as Sarah and Bristol Palin. You are so marked.

  16. Leighann

    Best part?
    “nailed it”


    • The Bearded Iris

      YES! Thank you, Leighann. That was my favorite part too. Bless his heart.

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