Saturday, November 05, 2011


As I play the mental slideshow of Halloween's past in my mind I see glimpses of my Mom sewing, scavenging items from her jewelry drawer, putting her rouge to my cheeks and then cold cream to my face to wash it off. There are pillowcases of candy, sorting and swapping on the living room floor, and gracious sharing (because, ew, I'm not going to eat that) that weird black and orange candy, the Baby Ruth and Almond Joy with my parents.

Costumes that appear in my mind are clowns, gypsies, a Rubiks Cube, my sisters and I as Marcia, Jan, and Cindy, a bag of jelly beans, Snow White. All fabricated, none bought new. The costumes were hand sewn from patterns by my Mom, put together out of things around the house, or gathered from Goodwill.

So now that Sophie is really old enough to understand the fun of costume and trick or treat it is my turn to create. I don't think I'm nearly as handy on the sewing machine as my mom but I can put thread to fabric and hold it together even if it is not pretty.

Sophie mentioned at some point late this summer she wanted to be an octopus. After a little thought I figured out how we could create this sea monster in a fun, not scary, whimsical way. I sewed ladies knee high tights to a pair of back leggings, added a black long sleeve shirt, a winter hat with felt eyes hot glued on! Viola! An octopus.

Going with the ocean theme I decided Emma would be a mermaid. Her costume was a bit more labor intensive and required some planning and sewing. Phillip, the son of an engineer, was able to help me figure out how to make a pattern for the tail, piece all the fabric together so the right sides were on the outside, and sew it together. Felt seashells hot glued to a white onesie and a blonde wig to complete the ensemble and we were done! (Okay, so all actually took a lot longer than this but you get my point-not a lot of pieces, not complex sewing techniques.)

The pattern for Emma's tail

Our first trick or treat event was at Wegman's Grocery store the Friday before Halloween. Phillip was out of town so I took the kids to the store solo for this event. It was awesome! Sophia, I think for the first time in her life, was genuinely excited about something. She squealed in delight from her car seat, overflowing with tentacles, 'I'm so EXCITED!" The event was safe, warm, well-lit, and just fun to see the other kids going about from the deli to the bakery to the florist trick or treating. Shoppers with and without kids enjoyed seeing all the wee ones in costume.
On the way to Wegmans!

By the end of the night I nearly had to shield my eyes-I was nearly famous. "Wow, did you make that?" "Oh my gosh honey, look how cute that girl is." "That is the neatest costume I've ever seen!" "You really made that by hand?" You would have thought I had hand sewn an evening gown.

I thought all moms made their kids Halloween costumes. But boy was I wrong. Adults, moms, clerks, people without kids couldn't stop looking at Sophia's costume! It did feel awesome but was  a little embarrassing towards the end of the night with so much attention. It was just fun for me to do. And inexpensive. And creative. And Sophia LOVES it. She loves the costume, loves wearing it, loves twirling her tentacles.

Sophie the Octopus and Emma the Mermaid
Emma's costume was awesome too but more enjoyed through photographs since I didn't make a way for her to wear her tail in her bucket and be strapped in at the same time.

I can't wait for next year!


Michelle said...

Those are AWESOME!

jenn said...

My Halloween Hero! You Rock!! I was pretty proud of using the sewing machine and hot glue gun on costumes for Eric and I. My future kiddos better be ready for the homemade variety also!

k said...

Emma in that wig IS RIDICULOUS. How cute and clever. And cute.

Love it.