Sunday, October 25, 2009

Newspaper column: Yearly hunt for Halloween costumes is a nightmare

When I was growing up, store-bought Halloween costumes were unheard of in my house.

Not only can my grandmother sew with her eyes closed, my mother is a drama director and has unlimited access to a huge storage room overflowing with wigs, makeup and clothing in all shapes and sizes.

My brother and I simply had to use our imaginations, and our ideas could easily come to life.

A few stand out in my mind over the years like the flower-power hippy costume I devised complete with actual clothing from the ’60s or transforming into the Chiquita banana lady by hot-gluing a pile of plastic fruit together to form a hat.

But my favorite by far was when my neighbor and I decided to dress up as conjoined twins. We sewed matching sweatpants and sweatshirts together so it looked like we had three legs and two arms.

Even though having to walk in tandem seriously impeded our ability to trick-or-treat as fast as our friends, we had a blast.
The nostalgia of those memories always creep into my head this time of year. And now that I’m responsible for getting a costume for my daughter, I want her to have the same experience I did growing up.

But even though I own a sewing machine and have adequate skills to accompany it, I can’t ever seem to find the time. The start of every October has me brainstorming ideas and perusing craft stores, but the end of October has me running around in hopes of finding something to toss over her head.

This year, I gave up early after realizing that the cupcake costume I had planned to make by using a lampshade as the base wouldn’t allow her to sit down.

So I tried to find a happy medium by purchasing a costume at an online craft site that someone else made. Plus, I loved the idea of supporting another mom who is trying to make a little extra money with her talents.

The only problem is that the beautiful homemade butterfly wings and matching tutu haven’t arrived yet. I want to be mad, but I picture that other mom locked in her sewing room frantically trying to put together costumes for other people’s children.
I think I’d be suicidal.

Even worse, my daughter has two costume parties this weekend — one at a friend’s house and another at church. So despite my best efforts, I found myself at a store Friday night combing through the racks for something suitable.

Translation: Anything that would fit her.

It was miserable. I had to fight all the other parents who waited until the last-minute just to get close enough to see the options. Once I did, I found two that were the right size and settled on a boy’s gorilla costume because my daughter loves monkeys.

Then, on my way to the registers, still feeling completely defeated, I spotted a dog costume for our terrier in the shape of a banana.


A monkey and a banana.

I guess store-bought costumes aren’t all bad.

And the bonus of waiting until less than a week before Halloween?

A headache-relieving 40 percent off.


Timberly said...

Can't wait to see the pics of those two. I was making pom-poms for Ainsley this afternoon.

Jessica said...

Hope they looked good. :) We had similarly-sewn costumes when I was growing up (Smurfette when I was a toddler) and my dad (very artistic) always did our elaborate face paint. When I was an older teenager, I got lazy and wore my mom's hospital scrubs for a few Halloweens. :)

Anonymous said...

Sounds adorable and it's genius. Teme

the_plainsman said...

Its great when stuff "falls together": a monkey and her top banana! Most all my years had great mom-made costumes, too - think there are one or two in the old trunk upstairs. Later with the experience of a grizzled veteran of candy harvesting on rainy, cold Halloweens, I developed the effective and "convertible" Canadian fur trapper costume.

Anonymous said...

yay!!! jax is a monkey too!

Ray said...

A monkey and a banana?! OMG, that is too cool! You must post photos! And hey you can still work on Allison's cupcake costume for next year (that way you'll be ahead of all the other mothers). Hehe. =P

I wish I celebrated Halloween. I haven't since early childhood. Boo!

Jennifer Suarez said...

LOVE it! Can't wait to see the pictures