Sunday, October 30, 2011

Halloween 2011 and Years Past

When you have kids, Halloween is one of the biggest holidays of the year.  Even for adults it can be a big deal.  And if your kids are like mine, they will change their mind over and over again when considering what to wear.

That was the fix I was in years ago when my oldest son was 3 1/2 and I was home with a 5 month old.   I was hoping he'd wear his train conductor outfit.  He had other plans.  Two days before Halloween, he announced that he wanted to be Peter Pan.  So, on my way home from work, still quite sleep deprived, I walked through the aisles at Target, looking for supplies.  The costumes were picked over, so that aisle was no help.  But I soon found green thermal underwear pants, a green long sleeve t-shirt (one size larger).  Good.  Now I know he'll be dressed.  But what to do for shoes and a hat?  I walked around, clueless until I stumbled upon the automotive aisle.  Chamois cloth!  It's like leather.  It paints well.  I managed to make a hat, a belt, a sheath (for a fake knife) and shoe covers.

A few years later, both boys were mesmerized by Egyptians.  I was ready to deck them out, full pharaoh, but they both wanted to be mummies.  This proved to be harder than you'd think because they had to bring the costumes to school and be able to put them on for the parade.  They would also have to be warm enough for two kids to go trick or treating on a late October night.

So I used thermal underwear, again.  I got underwear that was one size larger and cut off the elastic on the legs and arms.  I sewed on strips of muslin and gauze, making sure that I stretched it out a bit because I wanted it to have some give.

You could use fabric glue, but it makes the outfit quite stiff.  I painted on a layer of glow-in-the-dark paint and stored the outfits in a lighted room so that my little mummies could be seen whether the lights were on or off!  I also painted some of the strips with reflective paint.

Some years, I get off easy.  The boys love Super Mario Brothers.  They already had the overalls, so after a quick search for "Mario costume" on eBay, I found the hats, gloves, plungers and mustaches.

I found the lighted bags at the local CVS.  Halfway through the night, they fell apart from all the candy.  We have a big neighborhood.
And other years, things are more challenging.  The boys became big Star Wars fans.  I believe these were my most challenging outfits yet.

My oldest wanted to be Yoda.  He had the mask and garment costume but he wanted a white over robe. I found nice, thick fabric in the remnant pile at the fabric store that did the job.

For my youngest, things were more challenging.  He wanted to be R2D2.  The R2D2 costumes I found on eBay left a lot to be desired.  But searching on Google, I found some pictures of costumes made out of collapsable laundry baskets!  I headed to the store to buy a muslin, collapsable laundry bucket.  I cut out the bottom and holes for his arms and painted the outside.  I fashioned a top out of wire hangers and duct tape.  I had to make it high enough so that his head would fit through. I could have made it so that his head stuck out, but we decided it would be cooler if his head was inside.

After figuring out a bunch of different ways to attach the top to the bottom, I developed a system of bent wires that stuck up from the bottom and sleeves that were fashioned from duct tape and wire that fit over them.  It wasn't perfect, but it got the job done.  And at night, no one could see the less than perfect details. Note that we strung a string of 12, battery-operated Christmas lights to light him up.

Still crazy about Star Wars, last year's outfits were Anekin Skywalker and a Sith.  I have no idea what half these things are, but a quick search of Google informed me that the Sith look like monks with lights for eyes.

The remnant pile of the fabric store had some waffle weave polyester fabric.  It was a nightmare to sew, so I ended up using fabric glue to put the robes together.  I found some "pleather" for Anekin Skywalker's vest and belt.

This year, I'm getting off easy again.  The kids found outfits they liked at the store, so I turned my attention to my oldest son's best friend.  He's an avid "Age of Empires" player and wanted to be Genghis Khan.  There are three types of Genghis Khan outfits pictured online--a kimono-like summer outfit and a  fur-covered winter outfit and a leather battle outfit.  We immediately agreed that the battle outfit was best.

He's a little boy and I was afraid a full battle outfit in leather would be too heavy and hot.  So I made the leather shoulder pads and chest plate out of brown foam.  We needed to reinforce the chest plate so that it  could be attached to him without ripping.  Some gold and silver paint and medallions completed the look.  The boys pitched in to help paint.  His mom found a perfect plastic helmet which his dad trimmed with fleece from a cut-up dog bed. I think it turned out pretty swell.

What are you going as this Halloween?

1 comment:

  1. Halloween has always been my favorite holiday, and I'm a huge Star Wars fan. <3