The Agony and Ecstasy of Homemade Halloween Costumes

When I was growing up, I don’t think I ever had a store-bought Halloween costume.  Instead, I would brainstorm with ma mère and we would work on the costume together, sometimes happily, and sometimes frustratingly.

I can remember many of my past Halloween costumes, a ghost, a tiger, a black-legged spider, a magician, a witch…I especially remember the witch costume.  I had a bunch of orange yarn hair, which ma mère had me help her with.  I remember spending an entire evening holding a spool of yarn while she sewed the strands into my witch’s hat.  I loved that costume.

Now, I’m sure that a lot of folks don’t like to sew, or simply never learned, and so I don’t judge them if they want to take the quicker, easier route of buying a store-bought costume for themselves or for their children.  But I could never do that — for me, Halloween costumes are all about the memories.  As I look back on my childhood, even the costumes that went a little awry are special to me now.

When I got older and married, I was fortunate to marry a man who loves Halloween as much as I do.  If anything, I think mon mari has increased my love for this orange and black holiday.

In late summer, we sit together and think of our costumes for the various parties we’re invited to.  It gives us great pleasure (and a good laugh) to think up silly or just plain inappropriate ideas.

The next part is the mad dash to the craft store to get supplies before everyone else buys up the affordable fabrics.  Last year, I felt like we single-handedly sold out the entire stock of green felt for our Green Giant and Sprout costumes.

Then, I spend weeks assembling our costumes.  Last year, that meant sewing hundreds of leaves onto a shift (for him) and a sleeved tunic (for me) so that we could be produce mascots.

This is part of my costume from last year. See all the leaves?!

There are times when making a Halloween costume by hand gets a bit frustrating, but I revel in the creative process, 99% of the time.  I enjoy thinking about how I can create something unique from household objects, scraps of fabric, and elbow grease.  If I make a mistake (which happens a LOT), I just cover it up as quickly as possible.  Let’s put it this way: as long as no one looks too closely at the undersides of my costumes, I’m good.

I tried to show a bit of the underside here...no one even noticed my less-than-stellar hand-sewing because they were too busy laughing at all the leaves!

This year, we are sporting Egyptian-themed costumes for the parties we are attending.  I am going to be Cleopatra, and he will be Horus, the bird-god, and son of Osiris.

I am uncharacteristically behind schedule this year, and I haven’t started any sewing yet.  I haven’t even cut out any hieroglyphics from felt…  So why am I writing this blog post??  I have work to do!!

¤¤  Do you make your own Halloween costumes?  What is your all-time favorite costume (homemade or store-bought)?

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