It was almost Halloween and I was a six year old aspiring cat-lady. I’m not sure when it occurred to me, probably when I was using Maxi to bitchslap Ken for kidnapping Barbie, but I suddenly came to the realization that my beloved cat, Ducky, did not have a Halloween costume. Halloween was my favorite holiday and this was entirely unacceptable. So I did the only logical thing an aspiring cat-person in that situation.
I began brainstorming a costume.
Let me pause for a second and explain something to you. Ducky put up with a lot from me. The only explanations I have for her compliance are that she was either too scared to fight me or she loved me so much that she accepted her fate as my personal, furry, dress up doll. It’s not that I was cruel to her. In fact, everything I ever did was always out of love. From dressing her in cabbage patch doll clothes to ripping out the front seat and driving her around in my Barbie convertible. See also: sending her flying wildly through the house in a toy car with no thought for walls, furniture, or people walking through the house. I’m sure that she spent my entire childhood in a constant state of terrified compliance, kind of like a kidnap victim. In fact,her love for me could have been Stockholm Syndrome. Despite my misguided attempts at showing her my affection, she slept with me every night. But back to my story…
So there I was, days before Halloween with a cat who had no costume. I considered dressing her in Cabbage Patch clothes, but I had done that before. I considered sewing her a costume, but I was only allowed to use the sewing machine under supervision and there was no telling when my mother would have the time for that. This was an emergency! Ducky needed a costume now! I couldn’t wait for things like help or supervision! I had to act and I had to act now! I envisioned the most awesome costume a six year old could summon up: DINO-CAT!
In a state of cat-crazed panic I ran through the house, frantically collecting my materials.
Construction paper? Check.
I set to work making her costume. I took measurements, sketched out my idea, and began to cut out my pieces. Like a tiny Dr. Frankenstein I fleshed out the costume bit by bit. I took time to get the details just right. She was my cat, this had to be perfect! About halfway through the long, tedious process of drawing individual scales on construction paper, my fragile little mind broke. Instead of very careful and deliberate scale patterns I began furiously scribbling squiggly lines. Looking back, I’m sure it had only been a couple minutes, but my brain was screaming at me that I was running out of time. So I scribbled. I scribbled scales all over the construction paper like it was the only thing that would save the world and only if I could manage to finish it before the clock ran out.
With four sheets of construction paper scribbled on I began taping them together. In my defense, I was 6 and it made far more sense to scribble the pattern all over the paper, tape all papers into a giant rectangle, and then cut out the costume than to try to cut out the pieces prior to scribbling. I wasted a lot of paper in my youth… When I had a large enough rectangle, I began cutting out the bulk of the costume. I even made sure that I cut ear holes in it so her ears wouldn’t get smushed down. The spikes were trickier. I had to find tape to stick them along the spine because everyone knows that all self-respecting dinosaurs have spikes down their backs.
Finally, my masterpiece was complete. I stared down at it, proud of my successful undertaking. Until I realized that I had no way of attaching it to her. Again, my mind was flung into frenzied panic.
String? No, that was with mom’s sewing stuff.
Yarn? No, mom took that away after I tried to make Ducky a leash last week.
Tape? I’ve got tape!
I held my beloved cat in my lap and began to tape her into her costume. Luckily for her, I did not have access to duct tape, packaging tape, or electrical tape. But I did use at least one entire roll of scotch tape… But the end product was glorious, green, construction paper work of genius. Unfortunately, heartbreak was in my future. When my mom discovered my artfully crafted costume she immediately pulled my DINO-CAT into the other room and began the long, painful-sounding process of removing her costume. I wish I had a picture of it, although I’m not sure if my mental image will live up to the harsh reality. In the end, all forms of tape were added to the list of things I was not allowed to have access to.