I took my place in line on the basketball court outside.
It was a brisk fall day, and my class was getting ready for the annual parade through our school.
Holding my bouquet in one hand, I nervously smoothed the modest lace on my skirt, adjusted my matching top. Pushed the veil back from my shoulder.
This costume belonged to my neighbor.
And I had envied it when she wore it the year before.
I never thought I would get to wear it. It was too beautiful, too flowing and feminine for my neighbor to possibly share it.
When I walked into my bedroom and saw it folded neatly on my bed several days before, I was amazed.
I would be a bride for Halloween.
And now, it was almost time to march in the school parade. My stomach lurched in anticipation.
While the teachers rounded up the straggling students, those of us in line chatted with each other.
Across the way, a little boy who lived near me, called my name.
I looked at him, confused.
What did this boy want with me?
Then he called my name again and nudged his friend.
“Who are you going to marry?”
His friend laughed, enjoying the joke.
“Yeah, who’s the groom?” his friend added.
My face flamed.
My heart sank.
My eyes filled with tears.
My perfect costume, my triumphant parade, was ruined.
In retrospect, of course, I see how good-natured and harmless the boys’ teasing was. If they had been standing behind me, they probably would have pulled my hair.
But I remember this moment with absolute clarity.
As a parent, I hope it will guide me as I raise my children. Help me remember that a child lacks the perspective of an adult, that something playful can hurt his feelings. And that those feelings are real, even if they seem nonsensical or trivial from an adult’s perspective.
I also share it with those of you who have little girls, to caution you about the dangers of a beautiful bride costume. Beware those teasing boys.
Have you ever regretted a Halloween costume after you wore it?
This post was prepared in response to a memoir prompt for Write on Edge regarding a Halloween costume.