I grew up in India, the daughter of a Catholic mother (a believer) and a nominally Hindu father. We took full advantage of our dual-faith household to celebrate both Hindu and Christian festivals with gusto. The queen of the Hindu festivals is Diwali. Diwali is based on the Hindu Lunar calendar and this year it is today, the 30th of October, one day before Halloween, a festival that Mr. BITA has fond memories of growing up. We want Toddler BITA to grow up understanding and (hopefully) embracing the cultural backgrounds of both her parents. We also want to create and celebrate our own unique traditions as a family. So at our home, we celebrate Diwaloween. Diwaloween is what happens when Diwali and Halloween have a baby. Every year the BITAs host a Diwaloween potluck, and the dress code is either Indian Traditional or a Halloween costume. We spend time with our friends and eat, drink, and be very, very merry. As I was putting together our Halloween costumes and preparing for Diwaloween, it occurred to me that Diwaloween is the perfect FIRE festival.
Diwali is the celebration of good over evil. There are many stories associated with Diwali. The one that is most commonly told is that this is the day that Rama returned with his wife Sita and brother Lakshman. They spent 14 years in exile. Rama defeated the demon Ravana, and then they returned in triumph. Villagers lit their way with diyas (small oil lamps),hence the etymology of the name of the festival, meaning “series of lights”, and celebrated the triumph of good over evil. However, Diwali is also a celebration of the goddess Lakshmi, the goddess of prosperity and wealth. She is the goddess of FIRE! To entice Lakshmi into your home, you clean your home and light lamps to make your house welcoming. The hope is that Lakshmi will enter your home and bless you and yours with plenty in the year to come. We’re scrubbing and lighting lamps. If there are blessing to be had, we want our FIRE plan to have them.
Halloween has its roots in the pagan festival of Samhain. Samhain marked the end of summer and a time to start preparing for the harsh season ahead. That is what we do on our paths to FIRE. We spend time planning and preparing for later, so that our laters are as least as awesome as our nows, if not more so.
This year, in the spirit of frugal FIRE-i-ness, I made two-thirds of our Halloween costumes. I am all thumbs, so I’m pretty proud of what I achieved. My expectations were low though. If I ended up without having glued a body part to a costume, I was willing to call it a win. We based our costumes on one of Toddler BITA’s current favourites, a weird and lovable book called Dragons Love Tacos.
Toddler BITA is the dragon, I’m a taco, and Mr. BITA is the hot sauce.
I used these excellent steps by this talented mother to make Toddler BITA’s costume. These are pictures of the costume slowly shaping up.
Here is Toddler BITA, the dragon who loves tacos.
I then tackled Mr. BITA’s hot sauce costume.
This was the inspiration.
And this was the result.
Having reached the far end of my creative capabilities, my taco costume I bought from Amazon.
How much did all this creativity cost us?
- Things we already had at home: Toddler BITA’s hoodie sweatshirt and pants, an old pair of baby pants that I converted into the tail, Mr. BITA’s shirt, the green paper I used for the jalapeno peppers, the paper for the sauce label, crayons and a glue gun.
- Sponges for the dragon: $17.34 (this could have been less. I bought one more pack than I actually ended up using).
- Polyfill for the dragon tail: $2.95
- My taco costume: $28.65
- Total: $48.94. Not bad for a family of Halloween costumes.
Happy Diwaloween everyone! The BITAs wish you a year of wealth and prosperity. May all your FIRE plans pan out, and may you live long and prosper.