It started with my 4-year-old daughter wanting to dress like a chicken for Halloween.

Not just any chicken, but a particular video-game character turned “plushie” stuffed animal that belongs to my oldest daughter. Because I don’t want my kids dressing like video game characters - especially a video game my preschooler isn’t allowed to play - I pulled up more traditional chicken costumes on Amazon. I offered a furry yellow costume with orange feet and a fluffy tail, which was quickly vetoed as “too cute.” I suggested one that had a chicken beak mask. That too, was quickly dismissed by my girl.

When I told my preschooler that they don’t make “toy chica” costumes for 4-year-olds, she sighed.

“OooooooK, I’ll be Princess Luna instead,” said said, referring to a “My Little Pony” character.

Something age-appropriate and easy to order, I’m all game, I thought. But, apparently, my 4-year-old had picked the only “My Little Pony” character in the franchise without a commercially available costume. I once again suggested to my daughter that she should be other “My Little Pony” characters, perhaps Rainbow Dash or Twilight Sparkle. As we walked out of her preschool classroom last week, I told her that they don’t have any Princess Luna costumes at the store.

She shrugged her shoulders in reply. “That’s OK, you can just make it.”

I stood there, somewhat in shock, not sure whether to laugh or be dismayed. Yes, I could technically come up with an electric-blue unicorn outfit, one that hopefully my youngest child would be fine with wearing. But should I give in to her whims? And even if I make the costume, what are the chances of her wearing it three weeks from now? Can I guarantee that at the last minute she’s not going to want to be an LOL doll or a Barbie?

My fingers still seem sore from the year when I spent hours turning a “Ghostbusters” inflatable Stay Puft Marshmallow Man costume into a snow monster costume from the movie “Frozen” so that my son could match his older sister, who was dressing up as Elsa that year. But my son decided at the last minute that he wanted to be a “Star Wars” storm trooper instead, the same costume in which he had dressed up the year before. So much for that.

Perhaps I try to go above and beyond for my kids when it comes to Halloween because I still have the Snow White costume that my grandmother lovingly made for me in elementary school, back when you couldn’t just go to the store and have your pick from any Disney costume year-round. Perhaps I go above and beyond because, well, childhood is fleeting and I know we only have a handful of years left where all three of my kids dress up.

In terms of the pony costume, I thought about standing my ground. I thought about telling my youngest child to pick one of the 1,001 dress-up or recital costumes she has stuffed into storage cubes in her room. But then I keep going back to that custom Snow White dress, and a wave of “mom guilt” overcomes me every time.

And so, an electric blue wig and full-body unitard, complete with faux-fur blue pony tail has been ordered and is on its way. No idea how we will make it into a Princess Luna costume, as my 4-year-old has already told me that she’s not going to wear unicorn wings. But we’ll make it work somehow.

It’s either that, or she’s going to go as a Smurf. She may look like a Smurf regardless. As long as there’s candy, she’ll be happy.

Let the Halloween season begin.
Lydia Seabol Avant writes The Mom Stop for The Tuscaloosa News in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. Reach her at lydia.seabolavant@tuscaloosanews.com.