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Far Away and Far Out: An Island Halloween Taken to The Limits

Cayce has always loved to dress up.  It all began with his frog raincoat, and then it moved on to the lady bug wings at the Early Childhood Center. Now he has shark and dinosaur hoodies and raincoats and a toy box filled with hats and costumes.

So given his natural propensity for dress up and the fact that he’s three and ripe for it, Halloween this year is taking on a new dimension.  He’s been talking about it for days.  He wakes up saying what he wants to be, and every day it’s something different.  First he wanted to be a Mr. Potato Head for Halloween, then he wanted to be the Hulk for Halloween (The Hope? I said. Who’s the Hope?  He’s green, Cayce answered. He was in the back of Oscar and Dolivia’s car. Oh, the Hulk! I said)  Then he wanted to be a pirate. Then a Santa Clause. Then a Hulk. Then a pirate and a Santa and a Hulk all at once and in one sentence. Then a clown. Then a Lion. Then a Doctor.

Since we found an amazing fleece lion costume at the consignment shop, it is settled. He will be a lion. Until he changes his mind and says, “I don’t want to be a lion any more. I want to bring the lion  costume back to the shop.  I want to be a ________.”  

I’m sure he’ll change his mind a million times between now and the big day. And he will be talking about it every day until I’m driven absolutely bonkers! The same way he does for days on end when birthdays are rolling around, or Christmas, which he has obsessed on daily since Christmastime last year!  I’ll let him fantasize all he wants, but in the end we are coming back to this lion suit, darn it.  It’s adorable, warm, and takes all of the pressure off of me to make something!

Not surprisingly, Halloween on Nantucket is delightful.  From Ms. Mantucket to the Daffodil Festival to Christmas Stroll, Nantucketers love any opportunity to dress up, and the dressing up holiday is no exception. We like to do it big, and if we’ve got kids, all the more reason to embody our muses and head downtown to Main Street for a sweeter than sweet (and short) parade, followed by a festive romp around town to many of the merchants, who generously keep their doors open longer to offer up sweets to the little ones.  It’s Trick-Or-Treating in style when delectable shops like Nantucket Chocolatier and Petticoat Row Bakery are on the route!  Walking among the fallen amber leaves on the russet brick sidewalks, enjoying the autumnal window boxes of the restaurants and old inns and the cleverly decorated shop windows among lovely characters from your community is one of the most romantic experiences of the year.

Creativity is the essence of Halloween, and it that sense it is truly a children’s holiday. I have friends that have made elaborate and wonderful costumes for their kids.  The family costumes are always incredibly fun and festive. One year, a family of three was dressed up as characters from The Little Mermaid. Last year and family had The Wizard of Oz nailed. An expecting mother once dressed as the cow jumping over the moon, with her beaming belly painted as the moon.  We haven’t yet done an all family costume, but I am working on my son to work on his father.  One year, our first year, when Cayce was one, he was Curious George and I was the Man with The Yellow Hat.  Anything goes at the Nantucket Halloween. And the level of humor and imagination involved is truly inspiring.

If you’re not up to making a costume, and you don’t want to do the box stores on the mainland, you should check out the Consignment Shop.  Also, I heard the Bartlett’s Farm is having a Costume Swap this year.  It sounds like a hoot, open to everyone, whether they have contributed a costume or not.  How lovely.  And with festive activities like hayrides mixed in.  And just think, by this time next year, you'll be able to take a safe and scenic bike ride to the event!  Here’s the scoop on Bartlett’s:

Drop off your clean, gently used costumes & accessories (for infants to adults and even pets) Monday, 10/8 – through Saturday, 10/13 at 12noon. Come back at noon on the 13th and pick out your new costume! Everyone is welcome whether you have contributed to the swap or not. Snacks...Activities...Hayrides too! Any costumes and accessories remaining at 2pm will be donated.

Also, if you’re kids are old enough to like being scared, there’s the Fire House Haunted House on Halloween night.  We haven’t done it before.  Perhaps we will this year?

Do you plan to scare up a costume or two this year?  Care to share, or would you rather wait to surprise us?  Also, does anyone have any thoughts about the age appropriateness of the Fire Station Haunted House?  Looking forward to seeing you all on Main Street for a ghoulish good time! And keep your eyes out for sweet cheeks doing his awesome lion roar!  So far he's saying no to a painted on nose and whiskers, so you will have to rely on his good method acting.


Ema Hudson's picture

I love Halloween on Nantucket!  Bartlett's Costume Swamp is a fantastic idea, I'll be there for sure.  As for dressing up, I usually plan on 3 costumes - for Friday, Saturday and actual Halloween night.  Even my dog has a few costumes.  It's such a fun holiday :)

Rachel Dowling's picture

That's awesome, Ema! Of course I neglected to mention the  awesome costume parties at The Box and The Muse, not to mention parties in people's homes.  This post really deserves more pics!