Liz Mannegren

The Halloween Apple Tree

Last year my son wanted to be a thermometer for Halloween.

Yep, you read that correctly: a thermometer.

He was two-years-old and wanted his Halloween costume to be the most difficult word in his (admittedly limited) vocabulary. My dreams for easy, store-bought costumes quickly evaporated into a haze of pipe cleaners, felt, and the ragged stitches of a woman who never took Home Ec.

Fast forward to September of this year, and I tentatively ask my son what he wants to be for Halloween. I’m hoping for something more like Spider Man and less like “a portable TV” (his suggestion for my husband) or “a rolling pin” (his suggestion for our house).

I breathe out a sigh of relief when he says, “I want to be an apple tree!”

Apple tree. Phew. I can do that.

So for two weeks, I put ten hours of late-night work into an outfit that will most likely max out around sixty minutes. I bury myself in TWO HUNDRED AND FORTY TWO tiny, plastic leaves; each individually and painstakingly hand-stitched onto a stretchy, cotton shirt.

But it will be so worth it.

It was tempting to tell my son that they don’t sell apple trees costumes at the store, and to ask him to pick something else. He could have been one of the many ninja-turtles wandering around the neighbourhood tonight – and that would have been completely fine. It would have been more efficient (and come with significantly less needle prodded fingers for me) but that’s not where his imagination has taken him this year.

I love how he finds such vast potential in a thermometer or an apple tree; and how he teaches me to look at the world with the newness and excitement of a toddler. His creativity stretches mine, and for that, I am thankful and amazed.

There will be so many moments in the future when he will feel the pressure to stifle his originality and creativity for the sake of acceptance and conformity. But I want to teach him to embrace the fullness of his creativity, and the uniqueness of who God has created him to be. I want to teach him that it’s okay to be an apple tree in a field of super heroes.

Tonight is just one of many nights where we have the opportunity to invest in the fullness of our child’s imagination. In the future, his imagination may find its wings in Superman costumes or fluffy, hooded animals, and that will be precious too.

But tonight, he’s an apple tree.

And I couldn’t be more proud.



Lovely readers, I want to hear from you too! Share in the comments: What’s the most difficult (or original) costume you’ve ever made?


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