Monday, October 25, 2010

It's beginning to look a lot like... Halloween. Out-of-date edition.

This post has been written, titled and sitting in my draft folder, waiting for accompanying photos, for more than a week. I thought I would take pictures of the costumes-in-progress but never got around to it until this weekend, when the costumes were finished and modeled for us. I'm not rewriting the post now, so here goes.

It's the third week of October, and I have started my Christmas shopping and finished my Christmas cards... but I have not yet finished the Halloween costumes. And, chronologically speaking, Halloween comes first. I guess this is kind of backwards in the grand scheme of things, but hey, I get carried away sometimes.

I love me a good homemade Halloween costume. This is not to say that I am a purist or a snob, because my kids have worn several lovely store-bought Halloween costumes, as seen here and here and here and here and even here. In other words, we have bought more Halloween costumes than we have made, at least as far as the kids are concerned. (This is Mallory's drawing of herself in her Halloween costume. I just love the way she fringed the outside of the hat, and the dots on her pants are the cowprint chaps. She is also holding her ghost treat bag in her hand. She takes up only a tiny fraction of the page and crams all that detail in. Love it.)(Here she is in her actual costume. She is dressed as Cowgirl Jessie from the Toy Story movies, which have been VERY popular in our house this year! As you can see, her drawing was pretty darn accurate.)

I think my love for homemade harkens back to when I was a kid and my mom made most of our costumes (this was before there was such a good selection of costumes in the stores - things change in 30 years!) It was almost ritualistic - the trip to the fabric store to pick out a pattern and supplies, the exciting dashes home from school during the last few weeks of October to see what kind of progress she had made on them each day. My mom is not a perfect seamstress but as a kid I always thought it was kind of magical that she could whip up these creations that had me looking exactly like, say, a jack-o-lantern. And it always looked perfect to me.

It's also a lot of fun to spend lunch time with Chad scouting out Value Village when we assemble our Hallowbash costumes each September. With enough return trips, we always seem to find exactly what we need, whether it's a striped orange shirt or a pleated red skirt, to complete each look. (I had a heck of a time getting Mallory to both smile and look at the camera for me. I think it must be the age, because a few years ago, this was Liam - unable to smile and look at me for a simple photo. Every shot I love of him from that time is a candid, because posed shots just weren't working. Now, Liam can totally perform on command. We spent 15 minutes trying to get one shot of Mallory, and didn't even wind up with one of her smiling and looking at me. On the other hand, Liam was done in literally 20 seconds. He makes a fine Cowboy Woody, also from Toy Story.)

We (I?) decided to make the kids' costumes this year because it seemed easy enough to do. We were talking about (generally) real clothing and nothing crazy, so we decided to give it a whirl. The kids came up with their own interpretations of what they thought their costumes would look like. (Though to be honest, I went back to the movie for inspiration when it was needed - I wasn't about to take Mallory's drawing at face value!) (Liam drew this a few weeks ago - his interpretation of himself and Mallory dressed up for trick-or-treating. He later decided that he didn't like how he drew the black lines on his shirt to make it a plaid shirt, though, so he decided to do another drawing.)

Mallory's costume started off with a white button down shirt (Value Village), a pair of jeans with a hole in the knee (hand-me-downs), some cow print fabric (clearance table remnant), some yellow quilting fabric, red trim and white felt. Here is where we are at today. Not quite finished but getting there. Chad is putting together a belt buckle for her and also found her an authentic Jessie hat. My plan to spray-paint the black hat I found her at the dollar store was perhaps not so well thought out.

Liam's costume consists of a men's yellow plaid shirt from Value Village (cut down to size, though I should have cut the shoulders even further in), his own jeans, cowboy boots from Value Village, cow print fabric, and a hat from the dollar store as well. (Edited to add: we wound up buying Liam an authentic Cowboy Woody hat, rather than using the generic cowboy hat.) Chad is also making him a belt buckle. His hat came with a sherriff badge which Woody's hat does not have. Luckily, the badge was removable, and will be used on his vest (where it belongs) instead.(Liam's most recent depiction of Halloween night. Here we all are setting off to go trick-or-treating together. That's Chad and me with the kids. Little do they know we will be dressed up right along with them! I'm pretty excited for it.)

Mallory's shirt still needs some trim and Liam's vest also needs some trim, but we are almost done with some time to spare. Good thing - Cindy just sprang on me that she wants the kids to bring their costumes this Friday... as in, nine days before Halloween. (Hey, didn't this also kind of happen last year??)

Luckily, I had already started Liam's vest which was proving to be the most daunting of all the pieces. He had been pressing me to start it and I was procrastinating, for fear of cutting into the fabric, making a mistake and not being able to find any more. (Remnant, remember?) I told him I would start one night this week after he went to bed and then he told me that he would play with Mallory so that I could start it at an earlier hour. Awww. And when I did start it right after dinner, while he was still awake, on Monday night - he was SO excited. Now I just need to get their costumes finished up so that I can spend a bit of time on mine... which is a surprise that they don't know about. And work on it will definitely have to wait until they are safely sleeping in their beds.


Dawn said...

love love love love love them!

Chris said...

This are amazing. The ones Disney sells (shhh) don't look anywhere near this good. Nice work!