Thursday, October 29, 2009

Somewhere in the years of diapers and Cheerios (before I was writing as a career, I realize...you can see where my creativity was going!) I established a rule for myself when it came to Halloween costumes for my kids. Homemade. You had to start with some pieces of clothing you already owned or could wear again (sweats became a staple). If you “ruined” anything in order to make the costume, it had to be something already too small.

Fireman, ghost cowboy, bat-prey (similar to the spider-prey featured in the last photo, but I made a foot long bat out of fake leather and fur and it appeared to be sucking the neck of Son 2).

I love seeing what other people come up with! My mother-in-law always made costumes for my brother-in-law’s kids (much more sophisticated than mine, a lovely Cleopatra for my niece comes to mind) and my brother’s wife learned to be very creative too. When her son wanted to be the “Flying Carpet from Aladdin” she quickly brainstormed and ended up with an area rug from the local home goods store that she attached to his b[Photo]ody. On his head he wore this little fez-type hat that my mom had brought him from Turkey.

I rued the day when they didn’t want mom to make a costume any longer. Now it’s usually some creepy mask and ragged clothes. No wonder I turn to the bag of Halloween candy before the 31st…I’m out of a job!

Let’s talk cute costumes, or just cute things, or you can confess, like I am right now, that I have to buy another bag of Halloween candy! We’ve already almost gone through the first.

24 comments:

Terry Odell said...

I remember doing scarecrow costumes for my little ones. Overalls, which they could use again (or maybe they already had them--it's been decades). Glued on scraps of fabric patches (so they'd come off in the wash). Yarn wigs, hats, garden gloves. Then had a blast painting their faces to look like a sewn face (liquid eyeliner is great).

Son won "cutest" at the school party (teacher recommended he enter in that category, and he was young enough not to think it less than 'manly')

Terry Odell said...

I forgot to mention the homemade costumes for the kids' school party. They were supposed to be kid made, and one year daughter #2 and her friend went as squeeze bottles of ketchup and mustard. They made the bottles out of posterboard, carefully labelled, and dyed leotards and tights. Tops were Styrofoam discs with cones glued to the top.

Now you're making me want to dig out all the old pictures -- which are all packed up in the POD because we had to declutter our house to put it on the market.

Maybe the kids still have copies!

Christie Ridgway said...

Terry: Those costumes sound darling! In college, my boyfriend (now my husband) and I went to a Halloween party at a local bar as a nail and a hammer (cardboard and spray paint). We won $100 and that, I think, cemented our love of Halloween. (We beat out all the people who had rented costumes.)

Someone in our neighborhood took pix of the gang of kids who trick or treated every year together. I've got to track those down.

Cindy Gerard said...

What a mom, Christie!! Too Cool! Been a long time since I've made a Halloween costume but the one that comes to mind for me is a clown outfit I made for our son out a remnant of fabric. It was adorable! wish I could find a photo to scan and post. He was only 4 so he went with it. When he was 2 I dressed him us as Santa. yep. Santa's an action figure, right? Anyway, I Made a Santa suit out of red felt and cotton strips. What fun memories...
thanks for jogging them.

Christie Ridgway said...

I've always thought that Santa would be a good Halloween costume, Cindy. Glad to see that someone else thought so too. Christmas in October...scary!

Keri Ford said...

Santa! That's a fun idea for Halloween.

I sadly, do not do make the costume. I buy and man, are they getting pricey. this year son is more likely to understand the whole dressing up and getting candy thing. Next year he'll be old enough to say what he wants to be so we might can do the making thing then. Or I might just buy cause it's easy and less likely to fall apart. ;-)

Michele Hauf said...

I love that you make costumes! I grew up with home-made costumes, so made most of my kids' costumes as well. I'm most proud of the mouse costume I made my daughter when she was one. I just looked at a picture in a catalog and 'figured it out' on the sewing machine. Still have that one. One year our son wanted a challenge for a costume so I gave him a big square cardboard box. He made it into a train engine, put it over his shoulders and plopped an engineer's cap on his head. I think he won most creative costume in the Boy Scouts that year.

I love to see the costumes every year!

Helen Brenna said...

I don't make costumes, either, but omg Christie these are sooo cute.

Makes me wish for little kids again! Oh, oh!

Christie Ridgway said...

Keri: It does change when they can choose what they want. For a looong time I "encouraged" my kids to want what I wanted to make. LOL.

Michele: Very cute on the train. That's what's fun. They don't have to break the bank.

Helen: I hope I get a chance someday, like my m-i-l to make grandkid costumes, tho I suspect they'll be more elaborate than the ones I made for my kids. You know, more time on my hands.

lois greiman said...

CUTE!! I still miss those days, too. I mean, as writers it's almost mandatory that we like playing dress up, isn't it?

Christie Ridgway said...

Lois: I didn't think of that...that the costumes were part of my writerly instincts. I do know that I very much enjoyed them and the "high concept" birthday parties I used to throw for the kids. I loved my creative outlets.

Kathleen O said...

I don't think we had any store bought costumes as kids, we always made them up from things around the house. We might have had a mask store bought, but Pirates, Princesses, cowboys, ghosts were created.. My mom worked for Bonne Bell(Canada) Comsetics when we were kids and they had this concealer called White White... it was great for covering your face to make you look like you were dead.. Many tubes of that were used at Halloween..

Emmanuelle said...

Cute pictures Christie !!!
We don't do Halloween here in France. It's a good thing too. I'm known as the woman with 2 left hands... making costumes is way out of my league ;-)

Christie Ridgway said...

Kathleen O: We didn't buy as kids either. We found stuff around the house...I remember going as a "tramp" with my bro and we had our parents jeans held up with suspenders and my little play pots and pans tied onto the belt loops. And old mangy fur collar around my neck that was some by-gone relative's.

Emmanuelle: No day where kids get to knock on doors for candy? Is there something similar in France on a different day?

Emmanuelle said...

No Christie, nothing like Halloween. We have mardi gras when kids dress up (but it's always a school thing for very young children and they don't knock on doors for candies).
In france on noverber 1st it's what we call la Toussaint and people are supposed to honor their dead (mostly by bringing flowers to the tombs).

Christie Ridgway said...

Maybe that explains why the French are thinner than Americans!

catslady said...

I'm not a sewer but we use to come up with some interesting costumes. My daughter is great with make-up and always had a wonderful made up face such as vampires, aliens, witches etc. When they were younger it was bunnies and cats and fairies lol. Now they're too old but I will dress up to give out candy many years and my youngest does too. Oh and my other daughter dresses up her dog lol.

KylieBrant said...

I am not by any stretch of imagination a seamstress. But I did make my kids Halloween costumes. Let's see, we had a pig, a dinosaur, Burt and Ernie, Kermit and Rolph, an Ewok, a princess, a wizard, a cat, a witch, a bumblebee and ladybug, wolf and little red Riding Hood and the twins were pea pods at 1 (2 peas in a pod). Fun times. I miss it!

GunDiva said...

My brother's a "gore specialist" - yes, there really is such a thing -so Halloween is always a ton of fun when Uncle Thomas is around. It doesn't matter what the kids planned on being for Halloween; as soon as he showed up, the were the dead, mutilated version. The more blood the better.

One year, I made all of the kids into firefighters, used painted 2-liter bottles as the air tanks, which was my one moment of brilliance. I also turned their little red wagon into a fire truck, complete with a flashing light. Even, Jake, our Dalmation got in on the act - he had his own firefighter costume.

That, I think, was the last time I seriously made costumes for the kids. They decided that being their own engine company wasn't very cool and they could decide on their own costumes.

Christie Ridgway said...

GunDiva: How clever with the air tanks and that the dog got in the act! Interesting that even those who claim not be sewers or whatever have all got into the Halloween spirit. Yay, us.

We used to also "haunt" our 3-story treehouse (has an ocean view!) that always seemed really dangerous to me because you start in our shed where there are saws, etc. The young man across the street took that over and he now has all these props in 3 separate tents! To drum up traffic, Surfer Guy is giving an extra credit point to his students who go through the haunted house.

Debra Dixon said...

Aaack! I haven't bought Halloween candy yet. Must put that on the list.

See, if you wait long enough, you really don't have time to eat it all. :)

When my son was little the costumes were fun. Then he got to a certain age and wanted to get store bought generic Spiderman, etc.

When he was 3 he went as Danny Zuko from Grease. That was a scream.

Debra Dixon said...

Aaack! I haven't bought Halloween candy yet. Must put that on the list.

See, if you wait long enough, you really don't have time to eat it all. :)

When my son was little the costumes were fun. Then he got to a certain age and wanted to get store bought generic Spiderman, etc.

When he was 3 he went as Danny Zuko from Grease. That was a scream.

GunDiva said...

Debra, Danny Zuko rocks! My kids were raised on Grease.

Terry Odell said...

If anyone's still interested, I found some of those Halloween pictures and they're on my blog today.