The Halloween Catalog

Every year a Halloween Costume catalog arrives in the mail. Riley desperately wants to flip through it. She wants to see the girlie girl costumes. She wants to see the animal costumes. She LOVES Halloween. The catalog calls to her. But there are always the gruesome costumes. And she could never do it. She’d hold the catalog in her hands, trembling, until I went through and ripped out the offending pages. Then, all would be well with the world. She’d take the catalog and pour over it for days, and weeks.

Well…the catalog came the other day. She walked over to me as I was doing the dishes and said, “Mom. Will you go through this for me and pull out the scary pages?”

Drying off my hands, I took the catalog, then reconsidering, handed it back to her, “No.”

She was shocked. Mean, mean, meanest mommy.

“Riley, I think you are old enough, and strong enough to deal with this.” I fished around on the counter and came up with a black Sharpie. “Take this, and any costume that is gross or scary or ugly, I want you to black it out. Take your power back. You don’t need to be afraid of a silly Halloween catalog anymore.”

She looked at me wide eyed, then ever so slowly the corners of her mouth turned up in a smile. She was in!

She attacked the catalog with a vengeance while Seth and I cheered her on. Her brother has a deep fear of one costume in particular (which I am not allowed to mention), and she took special pleasure in blacking that one out. She’s never been able to play the role of protective big sister much due to her own intense fears, but the times they are a changing. 

She actually said, “A little blood won’t hurt us” as she scribbled.

And when she was done she said, “I can’t believe I did it!”

Believe it, baby. Believe it.

There is nothing you can’t do.


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13 Responses to The Halloween Catalog

  1. Heather says:

    Hooray for mean mommies! Hooray for strong and confident kids! One more Hooray for sharing! Growth is a beautiful thing to see…

  2. ChrisV. says:

    What a great story of courage… what a great Mom..!!!!!!! Will definitely be posting on my wall…..

  3. Kathy Sullivan says:

    That’s awesome!!!! I hear roller coasters calling us next!

  4. *m* says:

    You are BRILLIANT.

  5. kario says:

    Good for you! I’m inspired to push my girls a little now, too.

    Go, Riley!

  6. Lona says:

    With parents like you two there is NOTHING she cannot eventually do. Go Riley!

  7. rhemashope says:

    That Riley is One Brave Chick!

  8. Dee Ready says:

    This delightful story of the mom who believes in her children and helps them step into independence reminds me of my mom and dad saying to me, again and again, “Dolores, you can do anything you set your mind to.” That mantra has carried me through life. Hooray for you! How proud you must be of Riley! I’m glad she’s proud of herself.

  9. Niksmom says:

    And, with the stroke of a sharpie, mountains crumble into dust at her brave feet. Love this! Love your stroke of genius!

  10. Amanda says:

    Can think of SOOO many things to write but WOOHOO!!! kind of covers it I think! 😀

  11. amber says:


    …I assume she blacked out any Michelle Bachman masks?


  12. Carrie Link says:

    That was a true mother-of-the-year moment! Love it! Actually shed a tear!

  13. -e- says:

    Wow. I can not tell you how impressed I am that you managed to catch that thought- to give that gift to your girl. Isn’t it the best feeling when you manage to pull out of a habit and change it up in such a brilliant way? You must be so proud… of Riley, but especially of yourself!

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