Tuesday, October 27, 2009

a foolish costume is the hobgoblin of little minds

Why don't kids wear homemade costumes anymore? What's cuter than the scene where Scout's wearing her giant ham costume?
If you answered this, no need to continue reading.
I can remember seeing The Dime Store window filled with boxes of costumes. The kind with the plastic eye-less faces staring out from the cellophane window. The one piece , non-flame retardant, tie in the back costume, folded up beneath.
Row after row of "Princess", "GI Joe", "Hobo" {'Hobo' how's that one for, vintage non-PC. These days would you really feel good about sending your kid down the street as 'homeless guy'?} , "Gypsy", "Clown" vacant, holes staring back at me. This may have been the beginning of my DIY attitude. Because even back then, holding my mom's hand as we'd walk by, staring back over my shoulder I'd think to myself, "I can totally make that. And so much better"
.........................................................................
by the way, if you can get your hands on this book:
Do. It's a classic by Louis Slobodkin {'The 100 Dresses' } I ended up with the copy that was in our family, growing up. I still bring it out every year. Wonderful illustrations and story.
............................................................................
whoa. careful there, fella.
But I digress, let's get back to the matter at hand. At our house, I'm declaring this the year of the no-store-bought-costumes. I'm tired of parents feeling the need to shell out major money for a COSTUME to be worn ONE night {oh, ok and maybe in the school parade }
I sort of want to be hard core and tell every kid that comes to my door, no candy if your parents paid some ridiculous price for that costume { from halloween express or any of those mail order catalogs encouraging your daughters to look like hookers} but then I realize that's more about the parents than the kids. Above: my mother's masterful work . She made the entire costume, wig and all by hand. { That's red electrical tape wrapped 'round my tights - clever } And the she did the same for my 4 other siblings.
So in the spirit of DIY and Halloween being the ultimate holiday of self expression, this year, get creative. Make-up can go miles {look at little skeleton boy up there}, Goodwill can be a design lab of great ideas. This year, think out side that little cellophane box.

21 comments:

M.Lane said...

BRAVO! How perfectly put. The mega costume/birthday party/fill-in-the-blank is ALL about the parents wanting to hand the mitten to each other, and has no connection to either the celebration at hand or to the child's enjoyment of same.

ML
mlanesepic.blogspot.com

Sarah's Fab Day said...

As a kid my mom made all of my costumes so I get it...But (I'm sure you heard that coming on). For $20 I can get that Iron Man costume that my Big is ecstatic about it's not too cheesy and I couldn't make one for cheaper. Now say if he wanted to be a washing machine (I saw the cutest one at his Harvest Fest) I would be totally down to whip something up. I'll be anxious to hear how you feel after you've made the costumes for the kids, keep us posted.

Kelly said...

i was literally just thinking about this last night. i remember racks and racks of those flame-retardant costumes and the smell of the plastic masks from when i was a kid. sort of sad to sad to see the way Halloween has changed. for the party i'm going to friday i'm making my costume!

xo
kelly

cutlerclan said...

scout in the ham :) love it.

mary said...

I love this!!!!! Mu mother always made our costumes and I continued the tradition by making my children's costumes (with their creative input, of course) and my daughter continues it with inspiring her little boys to be creative and make their own with a little help. And my super son-in-law supervises the pumpkin carving. So much fun to see what the boys come up with. Back to basics and definitely no French hookers.

kim said...

It's difficult when they get to a certain age and want to be a particular character. I tried very much to get my sons to be something we could put together, but no luck My daughter is still young enough and I put together a cute little witch costume, I had to buy part of it on etsy bc I am in the process of learning to use my sewing machine.

beachbungalow8 said...

I've got a cupcake so far {the other one is still undecided- i know, i know. we're getting down to the wire}

I'm all for the etsy finds to help out a costume here and there. Or buying a wig to top off a look. It's the overall packaged crap that lacks any imagination.

I agree, with so much media influencing kids, they want to be something that relates to pop culture.

but, that said, they can still pull from their own closet or from Goodwill. In the end, it's just so much more interesting. And as a parent you're not out $150.00

WyndeWinkle said...

I couldn't agree with you more. I have always made Halloween costumes. However, I have to admit that we are using one hand-me-down spiderman outfit this year.

I can't believe your mom made FIVE costumes each year. Wow!

Mary said...

My middle child Meghan was always something "dead" - if all the girls were cheerleaders - she was a dead cheerleader - and a dead french maid - and a dead bride . I guess she felt it was the one time she could be something gross instead of a proper little girl. I loved it - always made her costumes and always won the prize !

Karena said...

We always had home made costumes. So interesting that you bring up the Dime Store in Brookside, such a great area of our town KC.

Mrs. Blandings said...

I have a hippie, Calvin (from Calvin and Hobbes) and an undecided/maybe football player/maybe lacrosse player. Tiring of hearing the begging for the molded plastic Star Wars helmets I declared Halloween diy. Seems to work out.

Jessicas Follie said...

The same rules apply around here--

I've got a daughter going as a bank robber- which only required purchasing some fake money to glue to her loot bag and a black turtlemeck that she'll need anyway.

Perfect.

Any ideas for an ubercool 13 year old boy?

Brilliant Asylum said...

I am getting so old! I don't know who that is supposed to be. Britney? Miley? Demi Lovato?

My mother always made our costumes. We would head to the fabric store and pick out a McCall's pattern. For some odd reason, I was always jealous of the kids with the plastic Strawberry Shortcake mask and apron.

Brittany Stiles said...

I took a sewing class in college with one specific purpose in mind....to be able to make my future kids' Halloween costumes. I couldn't agree with you more!

La Maison Fou said...

This is great, & yes loved Scout's ham costume!
I spent a few minutes scouring the ol community thrift store yesterday.... the search a purple, vintage jacket with wide lapel & vintage trim. A black & white pen stripe vest.... we did get a mask, but the rest of this joker will be home inspired, what fun to do & looks so much better than the box / bagged look!
Leslie

BonjourBruxelles said...

*clicks* on this, Megan. And count me as one that takes the make-up thing as far as I can go with the kids. You wanna be a Fruit Fly? green face. Bruised Banana? brown and yellow face. I say Spackle baby. It's all in the Spackle.

heatherkmiller1 said...

We've made Eliza's costumes for the past several years -- the box is your friend. She's been a "die," a stop light (probably my personal favorite with working "pop on" lights), a kleenex box (with a white skull cap with paper towels glued to it as the tissue) and a domino. Here's to the homemade costume -- so much more creative, and fun!

beachbungalow8 said...

I need to know how you mastered that street light! Charlotte was a bag of groceries last year. I was proud.

Jules said...

Yes, yes, yes. A thousand times YES.

Tracy @ Comfort and Luxury said...

Because my mom was creative and could sew and was not inclined to spend money unnecessarily, we always had homemade costumes when I was a kid. And never thought there was anything wrong or "less" about it. In fact, as soon as I was old enough to contribute my own ideas and handiwork, I did and learned to take great pride in my creations. What's so special about buying something someone else made? With my own daughter, I handled Halloween exactly the same way and she blew me away with her own creativity! Next year (I wish I had thought of it this year), I'll post a "retrospective" of her costumes.
I like your attitude Megan, but please don't punish the kids who come in hundred-dollar costumes. It's not their fault their parents have more money than imagination.

beachbungalow8 said...

tracy that's why I wrote:

"but then I realize it's more about the parents than the kids."

no worries, I would never hold back the sugar because some kid has a store bought costume.

the B to the Log

it's all about me, really.

My Photo
Manhattan Beach, California, United States
editor | interior designer | podcast personality | social media pollinator