A lesson on Bob and Dora

Friday, October 25, 2002
Ronda Graff

Halloween is a mere six days away and counting. Children everywhere, mine included, almost look forward to this October holiday more than Christmas. While a new gift at Christmas loses its novelty a few hours after the wrapping paper hits the floor, that giant bowl of candy keeps on giving and giving.

It keeps on giving until every tooth in the child's mouth falls out from rot or someone finally throws out those last bits of candy that no one will eat. Fortunately, as a parent of young children, I am on top of the most popular costumes for the 6-and-under crowd. And we'll use this column today to educate the masses out there, so you too will be hip, cool, on the cutting edge of children's costumes.

Most people already are in-the-know and don't even know it. Today's most popular costume is, in fact, an old fogey. It's Spiderman.

Despite his up-there-in-years age, Spiderman appeals to a wide variety of ages.

My 4-year-old has been fairly consistent in his desire for a Spiderman costume. Occasionally, he'll forget about this wanting and request a Batman, Power Ranger or Rescue Hero (Don't know what those latter two are? Skip down a few paragraphs.) costume, but he will eventually return to the webbed-one as a costume. Ironically, I never took any of my children to see the movie Spider-Man, no Spider-Man video can be found in the house and the only comic books in my home are my husband's Conan the Barbarian sagas. Thankfully, my son hasn't asked to go as Conan, complete with loin-cloth and -- there is nothing else.

My children must be out of the loop because they haven't asked for the second -and third-most popular costumes this year (according to a study sponsored by Nick Jr. and Disney, both which verify that the results are unbiased) -- Dora the Explorer and Bob the Builder.

Who are Dora and Bob, you may ask, besides two people with occupations in their names and a shared middle name?

Here's today's lesson in Cartoons 101 if either Dora or Bob should arrive on your doorstep on Halloween? Dora is a little multi-ethnic girl, who travels around looking for clues (not to be mistaken by Blue of Blue's Clues fame) with her purple backpack. It should be noted that there are no parents to be seen anywhere on this show to give her guidance, which may explain why she switches between English and Spanish regularly when she's out on her stroll. Before long, we will have a generation speaking nothing but Spanglish.

Bob is easier to define and leads a simple life. He's a construction worker, with a cat and a dog and talking machinery. There's nothing he can't do as evidenced by his theme, "Can we fix it? Yes we can?" as long as it involves power tools and large construction equipment.

You'll recognize the Bob-clones by their yellow construction hats, yellow and orange plaid shirts and suspenders. He may be accompanied by his sidekick, Wendy, who is also very adept in the construction field. I'm still trying to figure out if there's something more to the two of them than a business relationship. Hopefully, that shouldn't be an issue with four- and five-year-olds.

Of course, when you are dealing with 4- and 5-year-olds, it's best not to buy or make an outfit too early, much less commit in advance, to an outfit. At this young age, children will have six or seven costume ideas running through their heads. Their desired costume will change constantly, based on what their friends think, the day of the week and the last commercial they saw.

Of course, you can forget Spiderman, ignore Dora the Explorer and pass up Bob the Builder.

Throw a sheet over their head, teach them how to yell Boo and don't forget to cut the eyeholes this year.

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