As I’ve written before, I’m not terribly crafty. Yet I have this wild hair when it comes to Halloween costumes: I just refuse to buy them. I feel like Halloween costumes should be found in closets and boxes, cobbled together from whatever’s around, and involve some creative interpretation.
I remember being a kid and wanting my costume to be beautiful and perfect. I fantasized about elaborate princess and fairy costumes, or truly scary ghosts. But our costumes were homegrown and mostly involved creative use of facepaint. One year, I was a fairy, and we used my regular pink tights, a dress up leotard and skirt, and taped a gold star to a stick. Another memorable year, I was a scarecrow: we used my regular overalls, an old felt fedora of my hippie Dad’s, and a white, longsleeved t-shirt. Mom painted my face in patches and stuck straw in my hair.
My hands-down, all-time best Halloween costume was in 8th grade. I made a beard out of fake fur, found a black cowboy hat, and wore a shiny black jacket of my Dad’s. I made a guitar out of cardboard. I was ZZ Top.
I’m amused and interested at the lengths I will go to DIY the girls’ Halloween costumes, when this kind of thing is usually emphatically NOT my bag.
The first year we did Halloween was when Robin was 2 and Holly was nearly 1. I bought sweatshirts and used fabric paint to make Carebear belly patches.
Last year, both girls were just old enough to care. Robin wanted to be a ballerina and Holly wanted to be a cat (these desires shifted, but we worked with these as the most commonly mentioned options).
Holly ended up liking Robin’s skirt, so she became a ballerina cat. For the cat elements, we bought a $5 pack at Target that included a clip-on tail, ear headband, and bowtie. The rest was eyeliner.
Robin wanted to be a ballerina. This involved a dress-up skirt we already had, a shirt featuring a ballerina, and a lot of makeup that didn’t show up. Note to self: my everyday/barely used makeup is not as striking as little girls would like. I need to buy facepaint so they can actually SEE the makeup this year.
(We were amazed at how excited our sleepy farm town got about Halloween. Everyone decorated, and packs of children roamed the streets. It was genuinely awesome and we are excited about this year. We need to step up our game!)
DIY costumes can cut both ways: you could spend hours perfecting a costume only to have it be rejected as too tight/scratchy/heavy/weird/whatever at the last minute. This happened to some old friends of ours. I try not to be overly elaborate. I ask the girls for ideas. I want them involved and invited in the process.
This year, Robin wants to be a cat and Holly wants to be a butterfly. They have been talking about it for weeks and I hope they are satisfied in the end.
I’m trying to find all the parts to the kitty costume we used last year, but one of our cats loves the tail like it’s his toy. I think we lost the headband. So for now, the cat costume plan is:
- Find the tail (I hope).
- Make ears for a headband out of paper/tape.
- Find the bowtie (I hope).
- Use leopard print pants and ask around for a leopard t-shirt or coat.
- Face paint.
Holly’s butterfly wings are the most complicated part of her costume. I think we’ll just save some cardboard and go at it with paint, then clip it to a coat or maybe a backpack so she can wear it. We’ll make antennae on a headband, and paint her face, and just dress her seasonably and likely in all pink.
What are your Halloween plans this year? What do you DIY?