Dear Unworn Halloween Costume: It’s Not You, It’s Me


A Dear John letter to my child’s unworn Halloween costume.

A toddler girl in regular clothes walking with her family all dressed in costumes, with her Halloween costume in her dad's hand.Dear Dory,

I know it’s been almost a year since we last spoke, so I’d like to begin by apologizing, once again, for how things ended between us. It was never my intention to abandon you, but you know what they say about the destination of roads paved with good intentions . . .

You see, my precious Dory, my daughter was obsessed with you. She had been for months leading up to that fateful day we parted ways. She’d ask to watch your movie daily, so when we talked about the perfect Halloween costume there was no doubt who she would choose: You. It had always been you.

When Halloween finally came, and it was time for you to make your big debut as a power
couple, everyone was thrilled — especially us, her parents. I mean, my daughter had been wearing you around our home for days — no, weeks — leading up to the big day. So where did things go so disastrously off course?

Was the bond you shared as fickle as the weather here in Charleston? Was the prospect of
circling our neighborhood on two tiny, polyester-clad legs too much to bear? Was there secretly someone else she would have rather been with?

These are the questions that haunt me, sweet Dory.

The gentle salve of time soothes my weary mothering soul, and I can only offer you one true and simple explanation for how things transpired: my daughter chose to be a Terrible Two-Year-Old instead of Dory for Halloween.

A toddler girl in regular clothes walking with her dad dressed in a shark costume, with her Halloween costume in his other hand.It was a role she was literally born to play, which required no Halloween costume at all. It didn’t matter that I, her father, and her little brother were all wearing full-length onesies to compliment her fabulous fishiness. She had simply . . . moved on.

I don’t wish to give you false hope that things could be different this year for you. While she has ceased her Terrible Two-ness, there’s the distinct possibility that she’ll go in the costume she’s most fond of these days: The Threenager. Perhaps it’s not fair for me to keep you waiting in the closet for her, but I just don’t think I’m ready to let you go. Please understand how difficult this is for me.

I want to thank you for the time you spent with us, Dory. And while we never got the idyllic
family photo on Halloween that I could post on Instagram for everyone else to see, giving the illusion that I’m a perfect mother who hadn’t just tried to wrestle her child into the nylon carcass of a Disney fish . . . we still shared the occasional dance party and trip to the grocery store. I will look back on those memories with fondness . . . once the disappointment of last year’s Halloween fades, only to be replaced with the white-hot rage of a mom who just wants One. Damn. Photo.

My Darling Dory, let me depart with this final sentiment: It’s not you, it’s us. Be well, my fair fish.


About the Author

Siobhan Magin is a stay-at-home mom of two under three and the wife of a resident at MUSC. A former teacher, she loves watching her children learn and grow while making messes and memories and exploring the beauty of Charleston. When she’s not chasing around her babies or putting out small fires – literally and figuratively – she can be found reheating her coffee for the 100th time, strutting the aisles of Target like a catwalk, binging reality television during nap time, eating her child’s leftover dinosaur nuggets, or reading her kindle on the floor of her bathroom with the door locked.