Spooky on a Budget

Halloween boasts great memories for me and I love fall. I am pretty much in love with any day the weather permits shorts and sweatshirts with flip-flops. Thank you, North Carolina for this extended season!

51AA085E-8E85-4892-B2F0-3F9ECDB1E6DEAnyhow…with much going on, per usual, prepping for the hallow-holiday is always stressful-fun. You know, the kind where you want to do it, but it’s a matter of finding the energy but you feel so accomplished after? I love decorating and baking and although sewing is not my forte I try to get creative when it comes to costumes. Those elaborate princess dresses and wildly gorgeous and bright costumes are awesome but they are waaaay expensive and we all know that’s definitely NOT my forte, so I do my best to meet the expectation without blowing a budget. Honestly, this usually means they come up subpar. A little cheesy, nothing too great or impressive but the kids are happy and that is all that matters. This year was my first real challenge. Madz came home from school set on being Maleficent from Sleeping Beauty. I didn’t even know who this was and when I saw the pictures I just shook my head. I had no idea how this was going to go down. Thankfully Pinterest came to my rescue and the following DIY tutorial took very little time and was a huge success. I had aluminum foil and plastic bags so one roll of duct tape and we were golden.

Originally I was just going to have her wear one of my LBDs but we found the perfect purple and black ensemble right at Wal-Mart and the cape was from the Dollar Tree. Easy peasy. For Sleeping Beauty, all this really is, is a dress-up dress and dress up accessories that can be purchased from Wal-Mart, dollar store or dug out of the dress-up bin. My children will wear and re-wear dress up clothes until worn and ratted so I feel as though we wring every penny out of dress up investments but for this same reason I don’t spend more than $10-$15 on these outfits. Since Madz had a headpiece we did “splurge” on the wig from the costume section but the money saved everywhere else balanced this $10.

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12052531_752377967965_7525253381202423814_oAs for Brent and I this was the first year, in ten, that we actually dressed up together and it was super fun (and admittedly corny). Mary Poppins and Bert were really easy. Both ensembles were put together entirely from our closet minus Bert’s hat and vest, and Mary’s oversized poplin; it’s amazing what you can find at Goodwill! The chimney sweep was the only real cost from the local hardware store but I have to tell you, it’s dual purpose because our fireplace/chimney definitely needs a good cleaning…and now we have the tools! 😉

All-in-all, this halloween cost us less than $50 for four full costumes and accessories. #supercalifragilisticexpialidocious

Shame on us.

Waking up to the news of another shooting is heartbreaking. I’d like to insert the words “deadly” or “school” but honestly, it doesn’t matter. Gunmans and shootings have become so prevalent in our day-to-day news that we are almost numb to it. Shame on us.

Initially as a higher-ed professional, I identified with it being a university, this time. The second one in a week, nonetheless. One translates empathy across the miles but the problem is much larger. We ask the question and look to place blame; finding straws of reassurance to grasp at to rest assure that it wouldn’t happen “here.” Shame on us.

As much as I’m compelled to see it as an issue in education, politics, religion and/or mental health- we must first recognize that it is societal. We’ve built a world of instant gratification and that translates to wanting a quick and instantaneous fix to our problems. Our coping mechanisms as a society have diminished. Values, gone. Shame on us.

Both the victims and the perpetrators represent someone’s child, parent, cousin, friend and neighbor. Children are not born bad. Guns do not shoot themselves. Mental health, while an underlying for many, is not a scapegoat or excuse and must be addressed. It is 2015 recognize that mental health does exist, it is a problem and just like polio, needs medical attention and representation at the highest of levels to save our society from this epidemic.

Here’s my rant…IMO, if society would stop placing blame and pointing fingers, rather than addressing the issue, maybe then members of our society would stop pointing guns and address theirs. Basic fundamentals, lead by example. Compassion, communication and understanding does solve problems, instant gratification is not fulfillment. Life is worth living. As parents, children, friends and neighbors; as members of the human race, it is our duty to pay that message forward. We must teach it. Value it. Lead and live by example. Until then, shame on us.