The Nightmare before Halloween

*Post Edit: Nothing I do is original. Everything you see here is either copied from my sister...sister-in-laws...friends, neighbors etc. I am undeserving of your praise.

'Twas the night before the school Halloween party
and all through the house
Mother was up late sewing without kids or a spouse.
The little ones were snoring away in their beds;
With visions of cool store-bought costumes dancing in their heads.

"In your dreams kids...
sorry, mommy has decided to make your costumes again this year."

yep, I'm a Halloween freak;
I blame it all on my right brained mother....again.
See the picture below? It's one of my mom's Halloween creations that she made for my brother Wes.
No mask. just cotton batting, makeup, and paper mache.

(You would'nt see this now-a-days at the school Halloween parade. 10 yr old Wes back in the mid 80's.)

Growing up, and before the invention of Wal-Mart - my mom had a big, wonderful Halloween box. (She was a drama major 'ya know) We would open up the box and we would all start scrambling for the best vampire cape, wig or gypsy earrings (which were mason jar rings). I never wore a store bought costume, although I really was jealous of my cousin's Casper the friendly Ghost get-up. Mask and all.

I have a long-standing embargo on those mass-produced store-bought Halloween costumes. I guess I've just thought of them as a luxury I just couldn't afford...
you know, like triple ply toilet paper.

I do love to dress up my kids one by one;
(Brett and Lauren in 1999)
(Wade as Frank in 2005) 
(Brett as a mad scientist)
(Lauren as Medusa in 2008)
(River as Cotton Candy in 2004)

I also love to dress myself up.
Here I am dressed up as a basketball player
 (my pregnant basketball belly was actually baby River due a few weeks later)

Dean is usually a good sport and goes along with my silliness. Most of the time.
(Here Dean is dressed up as a mad scientist sitting on the shoulders of his loyal assistant..
look closely...)  


Sure, I've considered just buying a costume-in-a-bag from time to time,
that's the way my kids would prefer it.
I've even had one or two costumes given to me over the years.
Some of them are really cute and easy...but I always end up saying to myself...

"but what about childhood creativity and originality?"

I tend to see Halloween costumes as a challenge and think;
"meh, I can do better than that."

Here's my usual modus operandi.

1- Get an early start at DI by picking up some
cool thrift store finds.

2- Think about it all month long. Decide on a theme. Gather inspiration.

3- Walk past the Halloween isle at Wal-Mart just to reassure myself that
I really can't afford the ready-to-wear costumes.

4- Put my foot down if the kids complain,
and remind them that Halloween is not always about kids having fun.

5- Realize that the school party is the next day so to Wal-Mart...the dollar store...the fabric store again...spend a fortune...over to Partyland...Roberts Craft...and in a panic, run back to Wal-Mart.

6- Stay up all night, sewing and gluing, and pinning and rubbing my hands together like an evil scientist.

7- And somewhere around 2:00 am, retrieve the sleeping baby from under my sewing table and stand back to admire my handiwork.
(Lauren as "Nurse Pain")

Oh yeah! take that Martha Stewart! woah...I just saved $12.99!! Yeah baby!
But to tell you the truth my hand produced costumes aren't that great.
With the slightest bit of wind, rain or sudden head movements...
they fall apart.
My kids are always envious of their friends sporting better,
less complicated costumes.

Wade said just before he went to bed last night as I was starting in on his costume;
"mom, you make me nervous..."

Maybe it's because Brett hasn't had much luck with costumes.

(Brett and baby Lauren in 1997 as Pooh Bear and a Hunny bee.)

For Brett's costume I laid Brett and the material on the floor and made a cut out of his chubby body and sewed around it.         One leg was longer than the other.
Brett was not happy being dressed up as a rolly polly bear named "pooh"while his two other cousins were dressed as deer hunters with guns and hats.

And then there was that one year when I promised Brett that I would create a work of art for him and he would be the envy of the whole fifth grade.

This is what I came up with;
he was "Alien man."
(a black sheet supported by an umbrella frame
 hooked on to a backpack
with an elaborate alien mask attached at eye level
which kept slipping down below his belly) 

Not my best work.    Brett was    again,   not happy.

But the next year I completly redeemed myself.

with this...

He was thrilled .....  Obviously.

This year Brett assured me with a strange look of relief that dressing up
isn't allowed at the Junior High.
I think he is bluffing, I'm going to check his sources.

So while I may purposely
stay up all night...
make hours and hours of extra work for myself...
Wallow in sleep deprived orneriness
spend way more money than is nessesary...
and neglect the kids and housework...

I still do it every year.


well, it's because Dean said I'm cute when I'm "chaotic and delusional"   

but it's mostly because I'm a schmuck and I have no real life. 
you pity me don't you.


Platt Lucky 7 said…
I want a book about ALL of your costumes and how you made them. How do you do this? With 7 of my own my brain is just not working enough to come up with such GREAT ideas.
Randi said…
Laughing!! Love it!! You are amazing and you know it!
Katie said…
You crack me up! Your blog is the only good read I get! LOVE your costumes... all of them!
Ali said…
Oh Hil - you have outdone yourself again. You should make a book of all of your years doing Halloween. They are amazing costumes - come on over to my house!!! We need some creativity over here! Cole is a cowboy - pretty much like every other day!
Saffron Grass said…
The Mason Jar lids bring a lump in my throat.
Hil, the year Brett was Pooh Bear, Dallon was a gun and Jake was Peter Pan. There were no hunters involved.
But the main thing I want to say is I can't wait for your costume this year. Its going to be the biggest, the best, the most awesome, the creativist, the bombest! I CANT WAIT. It will blow all other years away!
Aunt Hil,
First of all I don't know what you are talking about. I abolutely loved River's costume! (However, one of the hearts did come off her shoe and she spent the morning trying to talk me into gluing it back on with Elmer's glue...haha) You are SUPER mom, your kids are always darling!
Dan the Man said…
The pencil sticking out of bretts head in mad scientist costume reveals so much about your inner workings :)

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