Monday, October 13, 2014

costumes by hand

My mom & her handiwork: The broccoli costume, circa 2010
Halloween is just over two weeks away, which means that every day my five year-old daughter runs down a new list of costume ideas.

Monarch butterfly! Goldilocks! Mouse! Mouse and cheese! Anna! Elsa! The mama cat from Aristocats! Scarlet macaw! Lemur! Firefighter! Each one with as much passion and enthusiasm as the last.

Every year I eventually just stop her in the middle of a list and say "That's it! You've decide to be a _____ and I'll get to work on your costume right away!" As the days tick down to Halloween, she keeps listing ideas and I pretend to listen while mentally figuring out how to make a scarlet macaw costume.

I don't believe in store-bought costumes. I know, I know, they're so much easier... but please. I was put on this earth to try to do too much, and making Halloween costumes is just one of the many tasks I gleefully burden myself with out of a vague commingling of duty, pride and guilt that I inherited from my own mother. She worked more than full-time, but would sooner clean the grout with a toothbrush than let us go out in store-bought Halloween costumes.

And so the tradition continues. Though I don't really clean the grout at all, let alone with a toothbrush.

As kids, my sister and I usually went in thematically-grouped costumes. One year we were the aforementioned Mouse and Cheese. I don't remember which of us was the mouse, but the other went as a big cardboard wedge of cheese. One year we were hockey players, complete with blacked-out teeth. One year my sister wanted to be a Care Bear, and my mom sewed an incredible big pink fuzzy bear suit for her. I remember a lion costume with a big yarn mane, and an adorable sunflower costume. Thank goodness I have my mom to help with our family's costumes - she is an amazing seamstress, and sadly I did not inherit her sewing skills at all.

This year I'm trying to force a group costume on my family. HWWLLB (my man) is not big into costumes, so he will be a gardener, something he's typically dressed for anyway when not at work. Little Bee is recycling a costume we made out of 100+ pompoms a few years ago, and will go as broccoli. I'll be a packet of broccoli seeds, and Little Pea will be a caterpillar, though she's been lobbying for home-made wings, so in the end she may wind up as a butterfly. Not as thematically rigorous, but still cute and somewhat cohesive.

I've been collecting kids' costume ideas on Pinterest, and hunting for ingenious ways to make caterpillar legs. Mostly I'm finding people's various takes on the Very Hungry Caterpillar, which (while very cute) is apparently the only caterpillar most people are familiar with. Tragic, because there are so many cool real caterpillars out there to honor via costumage. Monarchs and Black Swallowtails and Wooly Bears are so wonderful, and I've always thought a parasitized Tomato Hornworm would make an amazing Halloween costume (cool nature + vampire all in one!). But I digress.

So I need to get to work on the caterpillar costume. Are you making your own costume this year, or some costumes for kids? What are you going to be for Halloween??

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