under the sea.

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Happy Halloween, everybody!

I think this was my favorite Halloween yet. I might end up saying this every year, though. But, this was definitely the year that Eliza was old enough to completely embrace the holiday in all it's glory. I asked Eliza a couple of months ago what she wanted to be for Halloween and she said, "A mermaid with a pink tail!" I loved this idea, but I was pretty sure that she would change her mind about fifty times before October 31 rolled around. No way, this girl knows what she wants. Every time I asked her, "A mer-dade!" (which is actually how she pronounces it.)

So, I figured I better get to work. When I was in Texas back in September, my mom helped me design her costume. She's a costume genius, not only with our amazingly creative costumes growing up, but for countless stage productions, museum exhibitions, and everything in between. We found this little ruffle dress in a size 6, so it was perfectly floor-length on Eliza. Then, after gathering as much information and sparkle trim I could find in my mom's sewing room, I took it all home and pieced it together. It turned out pretty darn cute, if I do say so myself. The seashell bra was the cherry on top.

The first time she tried it on, it was still sort of in pieces and she kept trying to rip it off, and whined "It doesn't look like a mer-dade!" I was super mad, and my ego was a bit bruised. But, then when I finally finished it and slipped it over her little body she looked down at all the sparkles and smiled, "I want to wear it to the splash pad!" She totally loved it, and I was in mommy heaven watching that tiny tail swish, swish, swish when she walked. She wore it multiple nights, for hours, and never once complained.

This girl loves to dress up. She pulls out her dress-up box every single day, without fail. Anytime we have visitors at our house, the box comes out and everyone at the dinner party ends up with a tiara or hat on their head. So, Halloween was just one big party for her and she was all over it. One of my favorite parts was pulling her little chair into the bathroom, where she would sit for me to do her make-up and hair. I would ask her to close her eyes and she would smile and clench her eyes tight shut so the eye shadow would just sort of smear onto her lids. And then she would smoosh chapstick on her "yips" for a good fifteen minutes while I got ready.

Even though we let Eliza pick her costume this year, I was not ready to give up on family group themes. No way. So, with some imagination we decided to go with an "under the sea" theme. I made a bioluminescent jellyfish umbrella that lights up, and found a blue dress that was plastered with sequins (thank you, 1980s!). It was really fun, and really an easy costume to make. Of course, Sam in all his indecisiveness, waited until the last minute to pick his aquatic creature. While reading Eliza Dream Animals one night, Sam and I had a heated discussion about whether or not narwhals were real....

They are real. (In case you didn't know.)

Guys, I'm 27 years old and I just found out that narwhals are real! I know, pretty embarrassing. But, not that embarrassing since I really feel like they are the most ridiculous creatures and that there is no way that they should still be around. Just sayin'.

So, then Sam decided he wanted to be a narwhal. It's actually a super easy costume to make, as well. He just made a horn out of a wrapping paper tube, covered it in silver fabric, and stuck it on a headband. The funny thing is, I actually had to buy him some sweatpants for this costume- since Sam Gray doesn't own sweatpants.

On Halloween, we walked the 4th St. shopping district for some early trick-or-treating, and then met up with friends at the famous Russell Street in the Elmwood neighborhood of Berkeley. This street is nuts. They block off the streets with cop cars, and every house is crazy and over-the-top decorated. The entire city shows up to trick or treat here. There was a massive pirate ship with a light up dragon, and a robotic alien show. We took the kids up and down the street, and Eliza ate so. much. candy. She was very meticulous and organized with her candy collecting, and eating. She spent an hour nursing a box of Nerds, eating each Nerd one at a time.

I'm not going to lie, we were a hit. We won "Best Group Costume" at our church carnival. And, on Halloween night we were like the cool kids on the block. Everywhere we walked there was a trail of comments, "Narwhal? Narwhal. Narwhal! Narwhal!?" And then, "Cool jellyfish!" And, of course, "Oh, a mermaid! So cute!"

I wish every day was Halloween. It's one of my favorite holidays because there is such minimal stress, no traveling, and you have a reason to be whoever you want to be for one night. Such magic.

After trick or treating, we all went to Zachary's Pizza for the best deep dish, and the kids were so great even though it was way past bedtime. I love Berkeley, and I love our friends here. Holidays away from home can be rough, but I always feel like we have such a solid Berkeley family to celebrate with.

Bonus photo of my glowing jellyfish: Untitled

And extra bonus photo of Eliza in full mermaid mode:



  1. Berkeley does everything! I taught science for decades and I have never seen a photo of a narwhal. I feel bad for them having to drag around that thing on their head. Obviously they don't do limbo.