Every October, I like to make my life way more difficult than it needs to be by hobbling together at least one (but usually both) of my children’s Halloween costumes. It’s not like I’m some habitual crafter or Pinterest addict, so I’m not entirely sure why I do this, but it keeps happening, year after year.
The first Halloween we celebrated with a child was easy. Our son was only two months old. We bought him an adorable kitty cat onesie, complete with little ears and a tail. Two years later when our second child was five months old, I tried to stuff her into the 0 – 3 month cat onesie. It did not work, so I cut the feet off.
That was the same year that we had commissioned my mother to make a “biker” jacket for our son’s costume. Why was he a biker, you ask? I can’t really remember, but if I had to guess, it was probably just an excuse for us to give our 2 year-old a mohawk.
Since then, I’ve thrown together a vampire costume, a goblin costume, a zombie costume, and a Tinkerbell costume (made from a Tinkerbell bathing suit, white leggings, and a set of fairy wings and a tutu from the dollar store). I have only ever twice bought actual Halloween costumes: Batman and Darth Vader. The only reason I purchased those was because both of them were somehow only $10 each.
On three separate occasions I have purchased pajamas that looked like the characters my children wanted to be (Spider-Man, Elsa, and Anna), only needing to make or purchase the accessories. I’d like to say it’s because I like saving money (which I do), but in all honesty, I probably ended up spending the same as I would have had I bought costumes, if not more. But the fact that my kids wore the pajamas as actual pajamas for at least two years after the fact helps me justify the price.
That brings us to this year. This Halloween, I seem to have lost my mind. I suggested to my daughter that she might want to be Strawberry Shortcake, since that is the only show she has watched for the past eight months. I’m not kidding. She must have watched every episode at least twenty times. Anyway, I made this suggestion before actually checking online to see if there was an
inexpensive Strawberry Shortcake costume somewhere.
There was not.
In fact, I was only able to find one that was for small children, and an upsetting amount that were for grown women. The one for children was $25, and there was no way I was spending that amount of money on some poorly made costume that may or may not make it through Halloween night without getting destroyed.
So off I went to Pinterest where I didn’t expect to find anything, but was pleasantly surprised. I found a relatively easy tutorial for a Strawberry Shortcake costume. Not easy like in those “oh this is easy, but I’m an amazing seamstress so what’s easy for me is impossible for you” types of tutorials, but actually easy.
I mean, the woman did do some crazy stuff like MAKING white pants out of an old T-shirt and then spray painting green stripes on them!!! I, of course, looked high and low for green and white striped leggings so that I could cheat and skip this step. Apparently, such leggings do not exist anywhere, so I ended up just purchasing white leggings at Target and spray painted green stripes on them.
Piece by piece, and store by store, I found everything I needed to make the Strawberry Shortcake costume. And I did it. It took me several weeks, doing a little bit at a time, but I did it. It looks really good in pictures, and it looks good enough in real life for a 6 year-old to go trick-or-treating in the dark. If you were to turn it inside out, you might think it resembles something Frankenstein’s Monster would have worn, if Frankenstein’s Monster wore pink polka-dots. But nevertheless, it’s done.
So if you’re willing to put in a little effort, aren’t too hard on yourself, and are willing to hear your child ask “Did you get all the stuff for my costume yet?” and “Did you work on my costume today?” and “Is it done yet?” from October 1st until you actually get all the stuff for it, work on it, and get it done, I can’t recommend making your child’s Halloween costume enough.
On the other hand, sometimes the crappy $25 costume might just be worth it.