Until she went to the dinosaur museum in St. George, Utah on our visit to the grandparents, the kid was going to be that easiest of all Halloween staples--a ghost.
Then suddenly, a few days after we got back, she announced that she was going to be a pteradactyl. I suggested that since the dinosaurs were extinct, maybe she could be a pteradactyl ghost, but she shut that idea right down: "That doesn't make any sense at all," she said.
When it became apparent to her that her parents had no idea how to make a pteradactyl costume, she sketched it out for us. An earlier version had explanatory arrows all over it. "See, the arrows are right there."
She worked through details of wings and pointy beaks and feet with my wife, and last Saturday, they set off for the fabric and craft supply stores. The tapered, batwing-shaped wings didn't produce a satisfactory flapping effect, so Jean tacked a pretty full piece of stretchy material onto a random green t-shirt, and added wriststraps.
For the head, they attached a cone to a tiara/headband deal, both made from thin foam. And that was it. I thought it was perfect, a minimal, almost sketchlike evocation of a dinosaur.
The kid wasn't done yet, though. Right before we left for the big party at the Zoo Sunday night, she insisted on drawing eyes, nostrils, and a mouth onto her pristine conehead. I protested, but ultimately handed over the Sharpie to the artist, and darned if she wasn't right after all. She is basically ecstatic every time she walks out of the house in it, as loud and proud as a pteradactyl.