Halloween was always one of my favorite times of year to sew. Costumes are a lot of fun because they inspire creativity, and, sometimes, cause me to think outside of the box in order to achieve the kind of look I want.
When I first started letting my children trick or treat, I actually waited a few years. I was in my twenties and living in the Bible Belt. I was conflicted between whether or not I should allow my children to participate or if I should turn off the lights and deny Halloween existed. Finally, I decided that, despite the fact that some churches preach that Halloween is so bad, what it really is, in our current world, is the chance for kids to have fun. They dress up, get candy – it’s an event they look forward to in life. In this day and age, I think it’s important to create great memories. I’m not saying churches may be right or wrong, I’m just stating my view in things going overboard to an extent that nobody is allowed to have any kind of fun in life, and I don’t believe we were created to not have enjoyment.
My dilemma back then was that I didn’t have enough money to even afford costumes. At that time, I use to outfit the kids for approximately $25 a season. I literally made all of their clothes back then. For one of the first Halloweens, I made costumes from scrap fabric my mother had leftover and from scrap fabric bags I bought at a local fabric store for $5.00 a bag. My older two girls probably never knew how little money was available. I literally sewed every day just to clothe them. I even cut up an old prom dress to make one of my girls a costume. I didn’t mind. It wasn’t like I was ever going to a prom again.
My older two daughters with costumes I made from scrap fabric and my old prom dress.
The only trophies I ever received in life were for a fishing contest and costumes. Maybe I missed my calling.
Costume ideas came from different places. My older two would get ideas in their heads about what they wanted to be, and I’d try to find a way to make it happen. Take the year one wanted to be an Egyptian and the other a hippie:
My older two girls in the middle as a wizard and girl in Japanese dress. The girl on the left has been best friends with my daughter since grade school. They are now next door neighbors at college. Oh, and we’re not sure who the ninja is on the right. I’m only saying that to protect his identity.
One year, the younger two girls fell in love with some butterfly wings. I wasn’t quite sure how to make them into the butterflies they requested, but I think they turned out to be some kind of gorgeous butterfly fairies.
My all time favorite costume has to be the birds I made. My two youngest daughters had favorite colors. One loved pink. One loved purple. As you may see with the photos, a few costumes have followed the favorite color theme. Both girls won trophies for these costumes. I thought they were so cute.
A few times, my kids have requested costumes for things that didn’t have patterns (my preference is to use them), and I made do with what I could by using guides and resizing. One year, the younger girls asked to be Pikachu. I couldn’t find a costume pattern looking through the current pattern books, but I looked on ebay and found a pattern for a Pikachu. Unfortunately, it didn’t come in their sizes. I ordered it anyways because it was cheap, and I knew I could use it as a guide. I re-sized every piece to fit them. I laughed so hard when a boy walked by them and yelled, “PICKACHU, I CHOOSE YOU!”
Going through the history of seeing the girls in the costumes and seeing how much they’ve grown up brings tears to my eyes. One day, these moments will be gone. We strive so hard to raise our families right, give them morals and values, and, sometimes, we just need to let the kids have a little fun in life. Hopefully, they look back fondly on times like Halloween, carving pumpkins, picking apples at the local farms, and having good times with their family. When people tell you that you’re kids grow up so fast, they aren’t kidding. With one in college and another in grad school, the moments I have left with the little ones being little ones are fleeting, and I know it.
Even though I wasn’t feeling in the spirit of costume sewing, I know how soon my kids will be gone, and it’s important to me to make moments special. This year, we bought a pattern for 99 cents, and I had to revamp the entire thing to fit the girls. One wanted a cat type of costume. The other wanted a fox. The pattern companies didn’t make fox costumes, so we created our own. Even worse, there wasn’t good fabric for creating a red fox. I used crushed panne for this. It was a bit difficult to work with, but it did work out. I also purchased some fake fur to add to different parts of the costume to make it more…FOXY!
The other one wanted to be a cat except she didn’t want to wear the full costume to school, so I made her the costume to wear for Halloween and then made ears that I attached to a headband for school.
Tonight, we’ll add some face painting to the mix. I have a feeling that next year, I may only have one child left who wants to do something fun for Halloween. So, for now, I’ll appreciate these moments while they let me have them.
I hope you enjoyed the costumes I created. I sure would love to see the ideas others have for Halloween. Happy sewing and creating!