Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Halloween Costumes!

If you could make a chart of how much fun Halloween is during every year of your life, it would be anything but a straight line. When you’re very small, you have no idea what’s going on. Someone puts clothes on you – the same as every other day - then they carry you around the neighborhood and people exclaim how cute you are – the same as every other day – and then when you come home they don’t let you have any of the wonderful treats you think you should get – the same as every other day. Not very exciting. When you’re a bit older, you get to choose your own costume, usually some hero or cool guy that you desperately want to be, you get to stay up later than usual, and you get to eat candy. A LOT of candy. This goes on for a number of years, until you reach, say, high school age, and the costume is not nearly as exciting as the candy (unless you are female, in which case the costume is an opportunity to dress waaaaay sexier than you can get away with any other time). So the interest drops off again during most of your early adulthood. But then when you have children and you get to live vicariously through them, the excitement skyrockets off the chart once again.

Being both a theater performer and a seamstress, Halloween provides me with fabulous opportunities for creative costume-making. Since I’m an adult, I don’t have much opportunity to make a costume for myself, but now that I have kids, I can’t WAIT for them to pick a costume so I can let my creative juices flow. And I will admit, I have been known to direct their preferences a bit to echo my own.

My son’s birthday is just a few days after Halloween, so his first Halloween costume was actually this:
(My husband gets credit for making all three of these jack-o-lanterns.)
When my son was almost a year old, my husband beat me to the punch and got him an adorable tiger costume before I told him I wanted to make something. It was so adorable that I couldn’t say no.
My daughter was born a few months before my son’s second birthday, so she was not quite three months old on her first Halloween appearance, and neither of them had much say in their costumes. We had gone to the Big E in September of that year and my husband had bought fabulous cowboy hats for himself and my son, so when I found some fake suede at a good price, I couldn’t help myself: I made my son a pair of chaps and a fringed vest, and we bought my daughter a teeny-tiny cow costume.
Last year, my son was nearly 3 and my daughter was only 1. Which meant that it was pretty much my last chance to talk my son into going as whatever I wanted, and my daughter neither cared not even noticed what she was wearing. So after umpteen different changes, my son finally set his heart on being Mr. Smee from Jake and the Neverland Pirates, and I decided that my daughter would obviously have to be Tinker Bell. (She was blonde, adorable, and barely mobile: it was perfect.)

  (I had given him an old pair of wire-rimmed glasses with the glass removed, and a pair of shorts and sandals like Mr. Smee’s, but it was all I could do to get him to wear the shirt and the hat. Sometimes, the hill is just not worth dying on.)
But this year, my son is nearly four. Four years old is the age when a Halloween costume is incredibly exciting. Pretending to be someone else is an everyday occurrence; hero worship is at its peak; dressing up is a highlight of not only the day, but the week, the month, and the year. And on top of that, there’s candy. Halloween is almost better than Christmas. And so his decision of what to be is of the utmost importance. And naturally, it changes from week to week, day to day, and practically hour to hour.
His first thought was that he wanted to be the red Power Ranger. But when he saw the costume at the store, he changed his mind. And after driving past the Halloween display at Ben Franklin Crafts, he decided he wanted to be a skeleton instead. Easy-peasy! I’d buy an articulated cardboard skeleton, tack it to a black sweat suit in a few strategic places, and done. But before I got that far, he decided he wanted to be a pirate instead. Or maybe a gladiator. Something with a sword, anyway.
So I’ve given up on making him a fabulous costume. I’ll just wait until the day before and punt. It’ll be a challenge to my creativity, but I’m up to that challenge! I come from a long line of fantastic last-minute costume creators. After all, my first Halloween costume was a bunny outfit made from a winter parka, an old pillowcase, and a bent coat hanger. And my all-time favorite was simply a white choir robe, a borrowed belt, and a few bobby pins.
Anyone can come up with a fantastic costume with a month or so of lead time. I can't wait to see what I come up with in an hour and a half!

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