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Halloween Writting Contest Entry 05

The following story was submitted as an entry in The Wanderer first annual Halloween Writing Contest.
The winner will be announced in the October 25, 2007 edition.
Stories will be posted on-line as they are available in print.

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Buzzing to the front of the class, I turned proudly for all the fifth graders to admire my shiny ladybug costume -- that is until pens and pencils suddenly began dropping like pick-up sticks from the teacher's mug. It had been neatly on the corner of her desk before I flew by.

"I'm sorry," I mumbled quietly to this teacher whose name I didn't even know. Trying to help pick them up didn't work, as I couldn't bend because of my oversized cardboard shell. Teardrops fell lightly under my black mask complete with pipe-cleaner antennae.

As adorable as the costume was (and if I do so say how cute I looked), each classroom we visited paid the price for my all too wide wings. My first-grade parade through the upper classes of Symonds Elementary School turned into quite the humiliating experience.

Ah, my ladybug costume! I had been so very proud and excited to wear it. Created lovingly by my dad thanks to the box of our new washing machine, it was more than a little big. His rendition had two giant red shells, connected by rope over my shoulder, which covered both my front and backside. He had painted the black circles to perfection. If only he had taken my size into consideration!

Despite the horror and embarrassment, my oversized ladybug costume remains my favorite of all time. I even pulled it out of the basement for a final performance in the sixth grade. (Okay, the last time in costume and sans the shaving cream, truthfully speaking.) Five years later, the wings were still too big, and that was with my winter coat under the shell. Thankfully, my family had moved to a new state, and trick or treating in a new neighborhood saved any further humiliation and let my ladybug shine as the fantastic handmade costume it was! (Fortunately, the streets were wider than the classrooms.)

Decades later, at 40 years old, I still smile remembering how my dad worked diligently on my ladybug costume so late at night. And, of course, the pride he had when his creation returned for an encore performance -- by a stubborn preteen no less.

My ladybug still lives in my mom's attic. Sadly, this costume outlived my dad. But this memory, and so many more, stay with me each and every day. This year, who knows, maybe the costume would actually fit me!

Off to my mom's house ... because the third time's a charm, right?