Friday Frivolity: Custom Costumes

Journey back with me to October 2005…preparing custom costumes for Halloween:

What’s happened to Halloween?  When I was a kid we made costumes from whatever was around the house.  Oh, there may have been a few “costumes” available for purchase, but mostly kids either painted their faces or put on one of those silly stiff masks.  You know, the ones that you couldn’t keep both eye holes lined up at the same time and the mouth hole got soggy.  Now they’ve got stores that are only open in October.  You can be almost anyone or anything you want, depending on how much you want to spend.

Spend?  Even with my kids I never spent much.  A buck or two maybe for “makeup”, but buy a costume?  NOT.  Once I painted some dots on an old T-shirt of mine, stuffed it with a pillow, and drew an exaggerated white smile on Sheila’s face.  Cost?…Maybe a quarter for the smile.

As for my “older” Dawn, her “maturity” required more sophisticated costuming.  I stuck her in a box, painted her face and told her she was a Jack-in-the-Box…go!   What would you expect from a guy who, more often than not, was a hobo for trick or treat.

Anyway, about the same era that I’m master-crafting oversized clown shoes for Sheila and enhancing Dawn’s borrowed hospital volunteer’s uniform from her grandma, Sue [then a great friend…now my wife] is creating masterpieces for Chris and Kim.  They got costumes made out of cloth and fur, not cardboard.

But, hey, Sue can sew.  My skill level is duct tape, paint and a box-cutter.  Sheila got cardboard butterfly wings.  Kim got a fluffy, loveable leopard, …with whiskers, no less.  And Chris gets adorned in fringed suede skirt & vest as an Indian maiden…complete with custom, Finnie Tribal pattern, beadwork, headband.  Dawn had to settle for being a box of cereal.  KIX, I think.

Now, along come the grandkids.  I told Chelsea I’d paint some chartreuse spots on a pair of dark green tights and she could go as a frog.  Plus, I’d even make some flipper feet for her …out of cardboard of course.  “NO!” came her adamant retort  “I want to be a gypsy.  Grandma’s going to make it for me–thank you very much.”  (hmmm, did I detect an air of snootiness in her voice).

Oh, and Amara wanted to be a butterfly,  ……no, no, no, I think I want to be Tinkerbell.  …or maybe I’ll be the tooth fairy.  …no, I want to be an animal.  Great, the offer is still open for Frog.

“No, Ed, she’s not going to be a frog.” (more snootiness, from Sue this time).  “We’re going to get patterns and material at Wal-Mart.”

Sue was sewing for a week.  Well, she wasn’t exactly sewing all the time.  No less than 10 more trips to stores for materials…3 just to get the right grommets for me to install so Chelsea can lace up a corset.  What the heck does a thirteen year old need a corset for.  Ohhhh, I should have known.  Gypsy’s wore corsets.  Excuuuuuse me!  (my turn for snooty).

Whew, I’m sure glad Amara was willing to settle for a store bought, ready made, tooth fairy costume.  A hundred costumes in the rack priced around ten bucks and I gotta pick out Barbie Fairytopia Dahlia.

I guess you know that such a prestige logo is license to gouge.  However, once Amara got it in her clutches and “really, really liked it”, there was no putting it back.

For this costume there was no need for sewing, no grommets, not even any cardboard for me to cut.  Ahhh, but what’s a tooth fairy without a magic tooth wand.  I think she saw it advertised on TV.  So, I carved a 10 inch molar out of Styrofoam.  Gee, that stuff makes a heck of a mess when you saw on it.  Then Sue sprayed it with glue and tossed on some glitter.

Does anyone know how to get glued glitter off my workbench.

I’m tellin’ ya, these kids better share some of their candy.

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