He was getting an ulcer deciding. Ninja Turtle or Power Ranger. Ninja Turtle or Power Ranger. I told him I wouldn’t be buying a costume until he could be “sure” of his decision for an entire week without changing his mind. Finally, he was sure. Really sure. Ninja Turtle. Donatello, to be exact.

So the first week of October, I ordered a Donatello costume from Amazon.com. I hadn’t even bothered checking the local costume shops — beyond Walgreens where Scout‘s mom, Eileen, had gotten lucky with a pint-sized Michelangelo costume. No Donatello when I popped in, so online shopping it was. I told Colt the deed was done and he started checking the front door for a package. Every day.

And every day, he would round the corner of the garage and get a glimpse of the front door. No package. He’d walk back over to the car, shoulders slumped, head hung in disappointment.

Two weeks after I placed my order, I received an email.

Sorry, unsuspecting shopper sucker. We never mentioned an issue when you placed your order, but we’re gonna go ahead and cancel it — leaving you high and dry. Out of stock. Sorry. (But please be sure and shop our store again – for all your costume needs!)

What?! It’s a week till Halloween!

I frantically Googled. And with every website I found, my panic grew.

Out of Stock.

Out of Stock.

Out of Stock.



I’ve already told him it’s ordered. Done. And now – he can check that front door every day if he wants to, Donatello is never coming.


I took an early lunch and set out. First stop, Party City. I walked in and immediately asked about Ninja Turtle costumes – no time to waste. What I got was a shake of the head and a squinched face.  The guy told me Ninja Turtles have been the unexpected hit of the season — the most popular costume in the store — and the costume suppliers had been caught off guard.

Translation: Good luck, lady.

Naturally, I posted my misfortune to Facebook and The Great Turtle Search began. I had friends and family searching in three states and multiple cities — reporting back on inventory and availability. I felt like a wild-eyed, fad-crazed mom searching town for the last Cabbage Patch doll. (If you were born after 1990, click here to learn about Cabbage Patch Kids.)

Three costume stores, two Walmarts, and one Toys R Us later and I still had no Donatello. Along the way, I’d picked up pieces I could Frankenstein together for a turtle costume, if it came to that. A mask and a shell from the toy department at Walmart, and a green ninja suit from one of the costume shops. I had even ordered a bow staff when I ordered the original costume online — and the bow staff had long since arrived at the house.  The kid would BE Donatello.

Everything would have been peachy at that point, but he’d already seen Scout’s Mikey costume — and I worried about shattering his little turtle-shaped dreams. I had to keep looking for the real Donnie costume.

That was a Friday.

By the next day, I’d already fielded calls from my mom in San Antonio and my sister in Dallas – both with turtle costumes in hand, ready to overnight at a moment’s notice. They had both realized what I hadn’t — all the turtles are the same from the neck down! All I had to do was find ANY of the turtles in the right size (Size: Little Guy) and combo the turtle suit with the Donnie mask I already had – and done. Late Saturday morning, I got a call from a coworker. “I’m at Target. They have turtles! Get down here!”

Colt and I dropped what we were doing, and hightailed it to Target. At last! My brain could think about something other than teenage, pizza-eating turtles. We had a Donatello costume!

And we HAD to have one. Because, you know, this…

Wash Elementary Carnival 053_edit_resize

And this…

(Colt is the purple mask, Scout is orange, and Scout’s neighbor Cade is wearing the aforementioned green ninja suit. Scout is holding a toy doubling as a canister of mutagen, of course.)

Oh Buddy, that bow staff.

We spent Sunday afternoon at Scout’s house in a whirlwind of ninja “moves”, pumpkin cookie decorating, and rocket launching – thanks to Scout’s daddy, Walter. The turtle costume is already getting some serious mileage and we’re not even ready to Trick-or-Treat yet! The legs are a little long so the “feet” are getting abused, and he fell and skinned his knee at some point — which prompted an entire line of 5-year-old debate regarding the color of turtle blood.

Turtle Power indeed.

2 thoughts on “Halloweek | Turtle Power

  1. Adorable.

    Now I want a turtle suit.

    1. Good luck finding one!! I’m thinking of going into business making them — there’s quite a demand!

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