Wednesday

Costume Express..Why You Cause Me So Much Stress?

Seriously Costume Express...cut the shit.  Stop sending Halloween catalogs in June.

Once again, Retailers have me questioning if I missed the date on something or have been sleeping through days and weeks like Rip Van Winkle.  About a month ago, we received our Costume Express Halloween Catalog causing frenzy-like insanity from the boys.  I'm sure you got yours, too.  I seriously think that Costume Express/Birthday Express buys our names from the hospital nursery because they send their first Birthday Express catalog when your baby is three months old so that you can see the "Baby's First Birthday" party supplies when you are in a sleepless, survival-mode stupor and think you have to order the deluxe party package for a bargain bin price of $89.95 like all of the other good parents of the world.

Sleep-deprived parents will find themselves ordering about $600 worth of First Birthday party supplies at 2am when the baby is about 3 months old. This includes paper plates with your child's face on them because that is what every one year old hopes for at their birthday.  Clever Birthday Express...'why you no' send catalog a little sooner?


I digress.

Back to my children.  They are fighting over the magazine on a hot summer day.

"LET MEEEEEEEE SEEEE....I CAN'T SEEEEEEEEEEE!"

"THAT'S NOT FAIR, HE'S HOGGING IT..."

"I WANNA BE WOLVERINE..IT COMES WITH SHARP CLAWS!"

"I WANNA BE WOLVERINE! I NEED THE SHARP CLAWS!"

Blood pressure rising.

"No one is going to be Wolverine. And the Claws are sold separately, just so you know."  I'm hip to the game after 12 years of Costume Express shenanigans.

Children silently deflate into soggy, spineless sad sacks.


It appears as if Wolverine himself clawed his way through the catalog (*Keep in mind it did cost him $16.99 plus shipping to have the claws to do so!)

Here's the thing about Costume Express.  They are overpriced, shitty, barely -sewn- together polyester-y -thin costumes that will last approximately 1.5 hours of door to door candy solicitations.  (Sidenote: New England weather on Halloween can be really cold - so you'll have to wear six layers underneath your polyester!)  They RARELY come with everything seen in the photo, and these poor little preschoolers who can't read yet don't understand the fine print.  Hell, we as parents barely understand it.  Speaking of fine print, you know the awesome $20 off coupon on the back page of the catalog that takes up 1/4 of the page in RED?  Sorry, It's off of $100 or more and it expires September 3 - so forget about all of the back to school mania you are involved in - you'd best be thinking ahead a couple of months and order those costumes so you can get the discount!  Why the long face?  Is it because you know your children so well by now that you are quite aware of the one HUGE problem with this scenario (besides the obvious that you'll never remember to get your order in by September 3)....THEY WILL CHANGE THEIR MIND 10 TIMES BEFORE HALLOWEEN!  But worry not, their return policy states that they gladly accept UNOPENED costumes for a return, and OPENED costumes as an exchange for another within 14 days following FIVE easy steps.

As I finish the above rant, I should add, that I've not only purchased many costumes from them, I've also purchased the birthday supplies as well and they have provided MANY happy memories and fun-themed parties and Halloween outings.  I should own stock in them by now.  They've had me by the mommy parts for years now, but I've smartened up.  The days just after Halloween, I go to Wal-Mart and Target and buy whatever costumes I can find that the boys would like for 70-90% off and put them away for the following year.  It worked well for me for a while when they were too little to know the difference. Now there is nothing quite like the guilt of knowing that your child REALLY wants to be the DELUXE Bumblebee 3-D 2-piece costume for $49.99 that needs the Bumblebee gloves for $6.99, the Missile Launcher for $14.99 and don't forget the Treat Sack to match for a cool $5.99.  Oh but wait, that comes to under $100, so sorry - you don't get the discount of $20 off.  Suddenly, my $3.00 Wal-Mart version of Bumblebee is pathetic and dull and I have a sudden overwhelming feeling that my poor child is going to be the only one who didn't get the costume he wanted.  So I do like many other moms and scramble 3 nights before Halloween to find an emergency compromise and make him wear the Wal-Mart version and order him the Missile Launcher as an accessory and pay more for express shipping than I would've if I had just bought it in August like they suggested.  Well played, Costume Express.  You teach me valuable life mommy lessons every damn year.  I shake my fist at you in frustration.  'Why you no' send the catalog earlier next year.  Perhaps I can order costumes at Christmas instead?


Thanks, Costume Express, for making my bargain Bumblebee look like an insect next to your Deluxe costume.  'Why you no' go one step further next year and make it turn into a Camaro that promises to drive the kids around house to house?

Last year, I bought Iron Man on clearance just knowing that he's one guy that never goes out of style in the eyes of my boys.  I tucked it away thinking I had scored one for the good guys at a mere $4.99 after Halloween.  It looked decent - it would do the trick.  First thing the boys notice when they are done playing tug of war with the magazine...."The NEW Avengers Iron Man Mark VII Light-Up" 

What the Sam Hell?

"The most high-tech armor Tony Stark has engineered.." (wait, you mean Wal-mart's version wasn't designed by Tony?  You mean that  tissue thin, skin-like fabric isn't enough armor to please the Avengers?)
2 Piece costume - $44.99
Deluxe Iron Man Gloves - $9.99
Glow Wand (because Iron Man isn't bad ass enough without a wand) - $5.99
Boots (BOOTS? WTH?) - $29.99  THIRTY DOLLAR BOOTS. (and you know those boots are NOT made for walking, and your child will be complaining by block 2.)
Total Iron Man Deluxe Price  = $90.96
We're sorry, your order still doesn't qualify for the discount.  Would you like to add more items to your cart to get to $100?


Don't forget to add on the red Iron Man boots for $29.99, because you will definitely get a lot of wear out of those.  (Banging my head against wall...)

NO.  I do not want more items.  I do not want to place this order.  Back to the Walmart version - and another compromise - the Iron Man noise-making gloves at Walmart for $9.99.  There, everyone is happy.

One problem.  It's only August 22.  We have 70 more days and at least 5 more mind changes until Halloween.  Costume Express 3, Mommy - 0.

Happy Halloween...errr...I mean..Happy end-of-August,
~DG
PS !  Moms of girls - please, indulge me...what do girls go bonkers over for costumes? Or is this a boy thing?

One final note - this is me and my brother.  Sadly, I am Grape-Ape.  My brother is a much cooler Steve Austin (Bionic Man).  Talk about cheap ass costumes?  This was 1977.  Ahh good times.

35 comments:

  1. My daughter has to have every princess dress. AND at 5years old she can tell the difference between the dresses that we get at Disney World and the kind you can get at Walmart, Target, etc. Of course each princess has her own shoes, wand, crown, purse... Oh, and separate wedding dresses...

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    1. CRINGE! I have seen those dresses at Disney and they are NOT cheap! Ahh, such expensive taste for a little one! lol! Thanks for sharing!

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  2. Is it foolish that I keep holding on to every dance recital costume, in the hopes that one year, JUST ONE YEAR, she will want to be a flapper or a ballerina? Yeah, it's foolish. I know this.

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    1. Oh my gosh - those dance recital costumes are mo money than costume express!!!lol!

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  3. Omg, I miss masks. I used to make my kids costumes every year and then my sewing machine broke. As a result, I had twins afterwards and never did get a new machine. 5 kids, and no way can I afford to shop at costume express. So a few years ago my son wanted to be a can of Pepsi (felt, fabric glue and duct tape...worked great) and my other son always wants to be a ninja, as long as he can have a sword, he doesn't care too much about the costume, and thank goodness they aren't into superheros too much. Now I've been tasked with coming up with a Lego mini-figure outfit...he thinks I'm going to crochet him a head.

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    1. I WISH I had some type of skill to make their costumes! I am always put to shame by the moms who make their kids' costumes so brilliantly. A lego minifigure is a brilliant costume...good luck w/ your crochet-ing! :)

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  4. My girls have long come to expect that I will either make their costumes or we will be rushing to the store at the last min to find what ever fits. Thankfully, the are both teenagers now, so it's no longer an issue.

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    1. LOL! Ohh the last minute rushing around in a panic...been there! :)

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  5. Hysterical post! Grape Ape was the best, man. Have you seen the Chasing Fireflies catalog? It's like crack for my kid. He's already circled approxamately 23 costumes he wants this year. Last year, I spent a small fortune on an octopus costume from this catalog and then my husband grounded me. No clue how I'm going to handle this year's Halloween craziness.

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    1. I simply cannot believe you remember Grape Ape - thank you for that alone.
      "my husband grounded me.." I love it. I feel you girl, I feel you. xo

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    2. Tune into Boomerang on a Saturday morning... Grape Ape is alive and kicking there still. And he's awesome!

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  6. Growing up, I had a wonderfull Mommy who could sew anything and everything...would she do it for you, of course not! "Let's go to Goodwill and see what we can dream up!". As a child this was so frustrating to watch my friends have the coolest costumes ever, while I wore a goodwill bridesmaid dress, my mom altered and stiched up to make me a princess, but I had the most awesome play clothes around. My daughters will never suffer the frustration. There are some scars that never heal and you work hard to make it different for your kids. Disney Store has me by my Mommy parts, after buying the cheaper Target version that didn't even last a week, that $50 four month of solid wearing Disney Dress looks pretty good! I know it's pricey, but the oldest wears it from the time she wakes up, until I make her take a bath...wash and repeat except for school days.

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    1. Aww some scars are the best excuse for splurging...I get it! My kids DO wear their costumes DAILY...so we get a lot of mileage out of them that's for sure. Disney store...oooof - a little girl's haven. When you think about how much they wear them - $50 isn't so bad if it lasts a few months! xo

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  7. hahahahahahaha, gasp

    We aren't there quite yet. The 3.5 year old and 2 year old are still letting me pick out costumes... next year might be a different story though...

    Polyester would be great down here in Florida. Every year the toddler and baby costumes are the thickest most unbelievable material, and as you walk around in the 80s after dark, the kid is sweating to death. :)

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    1. True - alot those infant/toddler costumes are HEAVY...I can't imagine how hot they get! Next year girl...mark my words... lol! xo

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    2. I got off easy with my girl last year, she wanted to be a monarch butterfly all it cost me was a $6 set of wings and some pipe cleaners for antenna and old balck hose for extra legs. We already had a black leotard for ballet.

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  8. Two weeks ago my 3 oldest spent an entire morning fighting over and discussing (ie: "Momma I REALLY want ------- costume")- repeated over and over in a really whiny voice- the Pottery Barn Kids and Witchcraft Halloween costume catalogs. This was all taking place while I was trying to nurse/take care of our newborn. I seriously considered a stiff drink at 10 am!! Those companies think very highly of themselves because once you get all of the parts, the costumes cost a fortune. I feel your pain......

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    1. Rhiana I totally get it...3 year olds are so much fun when it comes to costumes they just can't help getting nutty over those catalogs! Hang in there..your baby will be 3 before you know it and they can play tug of war over Pottery Barn costume catalogs! lol!

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    2. I didn't word that well- I meant my 3 oldest kids ( ages 8, 5,and 3) so there already was a tug of war and it was in stereo.....hopefully the baby stays little forever ;)

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  9. I think it's more so the boys, or at least it lasts longer with them. My son wanted to live in costumes when he was little. Made for easy birthday shopping for him though (November 4). Hit the day after Halloween sells and he'd beam with delight over his new collection of $1-5 costumes! That's using the old noggin.

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    1. Brilliant blondie!!! I love buying the after Holiday specials! xo

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  10. I have a boy and a girl and run the land of homemade costumes because that is what I grew up with. I cannot say I am ultra proud of the sack of potatoes my son was a few years ago, but I did throw together a halfway decent Miss Piggy for the girl. I somehow dodged the princess bullet!

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  11. I think we missed out not having cheap, badly constructed costumes available when we were kids. Maybe if we had, my Mum wouldn't have had to send me to every single costume party with an apron around my waist and a hand made poofy white paper hat and say "There you go, you're a chef!"

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  12. this was so funny! i totally relate..those damn bday and costume express catalogs! I swear, they suck me in too though, and everything is SHITE!!!!!

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  13. Oh how I remember the vinyl costumes with plastic masks from childhood! The Halloween after ET came out, there were at least a dozen of us at the church party were dressed like him - my sister and I BOTH did. But of course, they were FREEZING for Trick-or-Treating in Montana, so you'd have to wear a coat over them. The mask was the only way to tell who anyone is!

    My 8yo daughter LOVES the Chasing Fireflies catalog. Thankfully, I can sew and I've explained how expensive the costumes are to buy - she knows now that they're just for inspiration.

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  14. Anything fairy-pink-princess-with-purple-wings-and-high-heeled-slippers will do.. Hallowe'en isn't as big here as in US, but dressing up is one of the most favourite things of little girls here. I had hoped to escape the pink-purple shit by dressing my little girl in lime and apple greens, but you can't keep them in a bubble forever. One day they'll get in touch with that barbie-like girl at daycare and all your well thought of plans fall to pieces. Out with the bright and happy greens, all she wants is pinks and purples.
    The proof is upstairs, asleep in her pink bed covers, under her pink veil, in her pink night gown. Open her closet and you see a lot of pink, some purples, some jeans and a spot of (You Will Wear This!) apple green.
    It'll pass... I hope...

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  15. Ahhh... Halloween already. Yes. My son is already talking about the Halloween stores that open in the beginning of September. We always have long discussions about what he is going to be for Halloween, I think my husband likes it more than the kid does. Last year he was a Zombie. Savers it was for the costume. 10 bucks was all it cost me.. Then came the make up. OY that crap is spendy. I think my husband dropped $30 on that stuff. It took a hr to make him up, but boy did he look cool. Not sure what we are going to do this year. I think my husband is trying to one up my dad secretly. My dad once made a robot costume for my brother out of dryer ducting and duct tape, it was awesome!

    Then right after Halloween, no before Halloween the Chrismas shit rears its ugly head.... Grrrr. It's coming, you ready?

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  16. Im searching on the net some good costume idea for next halloween party. Tony Stark armor is great and not so expencive.

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  17. My 5 year old is OBSESSSED with the catologue, which arrived here in July. He has changed his mind 1000 times on what he wants to be. Teenage mutant ninja turtle, the blue one, no the red one, no the blue one (he knows their names but I don't b/c I'm not really listening). Then he wants to be spiderman, no wait, power rangers, "And look mom you can be a crayon! OHHHH man, Darth Vader! I'm being Darth Vader!" You don't even know who Darth Vader is kid. The magazine looks as haggard as my husband's first playboy. It's ridiculous.

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  18. Cracking up at all of these comments...so glad to hear I'm not alone! xo

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  19. (I was on vacation and am just catching up)
    One year my brother was a hunchback (pillow in back of shirt), and I was a mexican. You read that right, a mexican. Penciled in mustache, flannel shirt and a BIG ASS sombrero we had from Knots Berry Farm. LOL!! Oh the shit you could get away with in the 80's. At the time it seemed creative to me (we were poor), but now when I look at the pic I am like, seriously??? (I was like a 6 or 7 y/o little girl!!!)
    Anyways, my girls are the same as all the boys, jerking and fighting over the catalog, only its over ALL things pink and/or princess-y. I am pretty procrastinaty, but I ususally get this done at a reasonable date, just because waiting till everything is picked over just makes me have to go to more stores searching for crap.
    HAPPY HALOWEEN!!
    Devan

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  20. I had about 3 days of fighting over costumes, along with the endless parade of ... I want to be this, no this, how about this... I've cleverly hidden the Costume Express Catalog. Oops, I dunno know where it is... Maybe if you put your things awayyyyyyy Works every time :)

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  21. Last year My daughter wanted to be Smurfette and my son Mario - Two years ago they both wanted to be Incredibles. I refused to purchase a Mario costume. I did succumb to the purchase of the hat. Thank God my Mom sews or I'd have been screwed each year! Mom made our costumes growing up too. A bridge, an apple with a worm, the empire states building with a monkey on the top, one year one of my brother's was Jesus, a Jawa from Star Wars... She's quite awesome at it and I can only hope that I can absorb her talent, as I can't sew $h1t! ; ) My son wants to be Kirby this year.. the pink one...Lord help me.

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