What do Peter Pan and his shadow, a nine-foot ostrich, and el Niño have in common?
They were just a few of the fabulous costumes I saw at the Wizarding Spooktacular put on by the Utah Symphony earlier this week. I love a good homemade Halloween costume. It’s like walking art.
My mom was great at costumes. I remember her arriving in my third grade classroom before the Halloween parade to add black makeup to my crimped hair, winding white sheet, and golden sash of Cleopatra. My sister won a costume contest dressed as a booger—complete with green slime dripping from her hair. On one snowy Halloween night, we decided to forego our school costumes. Instead, my mom put us in giant sweatpants and sweatshirts, stuffed them full with pillows, pinned on hand-drawn racing tags, and sent two fat joggers out to trick or treat.
My favorite costumes for my own children have been homemade. Soon after my oldest son was born, our little family dressed as two flies and a maggot—he was bundled in a stuffed pillowcase and my husband and I had strainers hooked together with pipe-cleaners over our eyes.
Awe, look at the cute little maggot.
My all-time favorite was when we dressed up as the hosts of the party to which we were invited. My husband messed up his hair to imitate her pixie cut, wore a tight shirt, and drew her tattoos on his arm and leg. I wore Carhartt pants, a baggy t-shirt, and drew a receding hairline on a latex bald cap. I even whipped up a dog costume out of brown fleece for our son to be their Boxer. Watching their confusion slowly turn into the realization of “You’re us!!” was priceless!
—BUT— making costumes was easier when I only had one child. I don’t know how my mom did it year after year because I’m the fifth of six kids. I now have four sons. My oldest told me he wanted to be Jango Fett back in August. I was so relieved when my mom asked me what she could buy for him for his birthday in September. Check that off the list! My second son chose a Harry Potter robe bought a couple of years ago. My third son will be a mummy—a costume I found at TJ Maxx that has been used by his two older brothers. And my youngest is borrowing a neighbor’s Woody costume—also store bought.
Life has been busy with karate, baseball, soccer, scouts, violin, piano, and homework. I hadn’t thought about all our store-bought costumes until I saw the creativity on display at the symphony. It makes me wish I’d been a little more inventive, carved out some time to let our imaginations make something original…but then I looked at the calendar for the next three days—karate, baseball tournament, piano, violin, homework, and Halloween school parties. We’re going store-bought this year.
Are you a costume maker or costume buyer? What are you wearing this Halloween?