Three years ago six new mothers befriended each other and bonded over their responsibilities. As 2013's Halloween approached they decided they had the best costume accessories you could ask for — their newborn children.
According to Jessica Fuchs, the moms — including Fuchs, Jessica Laird, Lori Kirsch, Caitlin Blake, Rachael Rothwell, Jessica Wolverton and Katie Foelber — decided it'd be cute to dress their babies up in themed costumes for a new annual Halloween get-together. With some last-minute sewing and costume purchases, a tradition was born — a tradition that has now already doubled in size.
Laird said she was the one who first proposed the group costume idea, an idea, which at the time included costuming six infants in similarly themed garb. In 2013 they met for their first Halloween party, with the children dressed up like characters from "The Wizard of Oz."
The year after, the group dressed as the Georgia Peaches from "A League of Their Own," with the one male member of the group, dressed as manager Jimmy Dugan.
This year, as many of the families have grown, they've had to work even harder to find a group costume for the now-dozen children in the group: Lucy and Cora Fuchs, Clarke and Maren Laird, Rhett Kirsch, Julia Blake, Layton and Rowan Rothwell, Audrey and Ethan Wolverton, and Blake and Brooks Foelber. Laird said they thought through a couple of ideas, including the Scooby Doo Gang, but none of them had enough characters. Then, one day, she said she was struck by inspiration.
"I was thinking of making it easy on us and dressing them all up like something silly like pumpkins," Laird said. "Then, though, I started thinking about the Great Pumpkin patch and realized that 'Peanuts' had so many characters."
Laird said in addition to giving each child a distinct character to be, another positive aspect of the 'Peanuts' gang is how simple it is to make each costume. Since the gang just dresses like normal kids, you can just buy regular clothes that fit each character's look.
As Halloween approaches, Laird said her daughter became more and more excited about the group costume. Together they read a children's book version of "It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown," and as each character is introduced in the story, she stops her mom to tell her about what character they're going to dress up as.
Laird said that excitement is a big step up from last year.
"They didn't really know what the characters were last time," Laird said. "I'm going to make her watch 'A League of Their Own' because that was my childhood, but not for a little bit. This year it's a cartoon they can watch they can get excited."
Fuchs said the only problem she has with the concept is in the brutality of some of the kids' insults to Charlie Brown.
"We change some of the language, because they're pretty mean to Charlie Brown," Fuchs said. "I don't want my kid going around calling people 'blockhead' and 'stupid.' "
Now that they've established a group costume for all 12, Laird said it's up to them to keep it going. She said she's already started brainstorming ideas for next year, like a "Where's Waldo?" theme with each child in a slightly altered Waldo costume.
Laird said she hopes that one day in the future they will all have 18 years of pictures lining the walls of their homes, as new kids join them over the years before passing the tradition down to the next generation.
"Right now, it's much more about us as moms finding an excuse to get together, but we hope it becomes a tradition the kids appreciate," Fuchs said. "I'm 32; I love tradition. I remember the family things we did with our family friends, and I hope that takes root with my daughters."