We love our technology, but in some ways we are taking the old road.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Halloween Costumes

I love putting costumes together. I suppose it comes from being in theater as a teenager. Costumes are really an illusion. They don't have to be wonderfully made. If you look at them closely, they often aren't quite what you thought. But when you see an outfit on stage or out in the dark for Halloween, if it gives you the impression of the character, you did it right.

This is all very good for me, since I hate sewing! I really have no talent for it.

But today my kids were telling me that, even though I say I hate making crafts, their Halloween costumes always turn out awesome. I'm honored they'd say such a thing, because it is my ambition. Whatever else I've failed at in motherhood, I think I've poured myself into the fun of Halloween.

But, like I say, I'm not a sewer. I just make things that create an illusion. So don't expect to be impressed with my beautifully-made costumes.

This year, my youngest was Princess Leia. I was so happy when she decided on that, because I already had a white robe/dress that I made years ago when my older daughter was an angel. All I had to do was tie a ribbon around her waist to create a belt effect, put her hair in Princess Leia buns, and give her her brother's Nerf gun. She's fierce.

My older daughter was Glinda, the Good Witch of the North. That's the crown I made her at the top of this entry. I did look for crowns to purchase, but nothing was even close to right. So I picked the brains of the women in an online group I belong to: what would be some flexible, translucent plastics I could use? Bingo! Quilt template plastic. I attached two sheets together, because one wasn't long enough to go around my daughter's head. I glued sheer pink pearlescent fabric onto it, using an adhesive that bonds fabric, vinyl, and plastic, and that is clear and flexible when it dries. I looked at the Wizard of Oz movie and at websites to figure out what the top edge should look like. And I cut that out with scissors. Then I decorated with silver glitter glue and some adhesive silver glitter paper that's meant for scrapbooking. I am so not good at crafts. But I was pleased with how it turned out. After it dried flat overnight, I fit it to my daughter's head and stapled and glued the second seam to make it round.

I should have made it a little tighter, but that was so hard for me to figure out. It kept slipping down. I bobby-pinned and clipped it in place, and I set her hair in curlers to try to create some resistance. Of course the curls drooped. And all night while trick-or-treating, that tall, tall crown kept falling off. But she insisted she didn't mind. It looked great in the dark. People knew instantly who she was.

The dress was one I bought used in college for a costume. We layered multiple skirts underneath to make it more full. And, yes, I sewed those silly puffs for the "sleeves" when we decided today that she needed something like that. Eh, I tried. And I bought the wand.

My son's costume... well, he couldn't decide what to be. He's almost too old for trick-or-treating. He wanted something ancient Greek or Roman, since he's been interested in that kind of thing since reading "The Lightning Thief". He finally, last weekend, decided to be a Roman gladiator. Okay, so he had a cape. I started thinking of cardboard armor. I had some vague ideas. Then I came across a ready-to-wear costume in a store. "Boy, should I spend the money?" Uh, how much do you spend buying craft supplies for these kinds of things? How much time do you really have this week? Luckily when I called my husband to ask his opinion, he said, "Buy it. Yes. Do it." It was a good choice.

Of course, it wouldn't have been Halloween if I didn't have to get my sewing machine out. My son said there was no way for him to hold his pumpkin candy bucket while holding his sword and shield. And, besides, it would ruin the effect. So I took the unbleached muslin I'd bought to make him a tunic, back when I was going to make his costume myself. And I sewed him a little bag with handles that he could carry behind his shield. It worked.

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