Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Industrial Light & Magic on a budget

My children come from a long line of crazy people who feel compelled to make their own Halloween costumes. It would be far easier to think ahead, order costumes online, and be done with it, but where’s the fun and sleep deprivation in that?

For my Works for me Wednesday tip, I’ll share some advice we’ve found useful in the homemade costume department:

Step one (which by the way has never worked for us, but it’s worth a try): Try to talk your kids into dressing up as something easy such as a ghost or an 8-year old child or darkness.

Step two: When children insist that they want to be Hoover Dam, take a deep breath and dive in with all the resourcefulness and duct tape you can muster. These are memories that will last a lifetime.

Step three: Use images in books and the internet to help you design the costumes. This year, my kids decided they wanted an all Star Wars family theme. The internet came in handy for researching critical minutia like whether Yoda has toenails and whether Princess Leia’s hair twists in a clockwise or counterclockwise direction.

Step four: Visit the thrift store, grandma’s house, Walmart, Home Depot, and the thrift store again 2 more times for various costume components.

Step five: Trash the house Turn the house into a creative workshop and stay up the night before Halloween sewing, painting, taping, and trying not to burn yourself with the hot melt glue gun. Enlist help from other crazy people (sisters, mothers, oh-so-talented-with-duct-tape husbands) if at all possible.

Step six: Bask in the glow of your kids’ admiration and gratitude the next morning when they see your handiwork.

Step seven
: Wear your brown dye-stained hands and crusty green cuticles with pride. It will probably wear off by Thanksgiving.

Here are the results from this year’s costume fest. I’ll list the materials we used for each.

Jedi Knight
bathrobe and towel – died brown and sewed into cape and hood, grandpa’s old pants cut and transformed into tunic, funky belt from thrift store, boots covered in tape and spraypaint.

Rebel Fighter

shirt, vest and belt from thrift store, snow boots, motorcycle helmet adapted with cardstock and duct tape.

[Try to ignore the object he holds in his hands since I have vowed never to let the kids own toy guns. Does the fact that it’s a water gun painted black justify things at all? Besides, the ban on guns has certainly not prevented the boys from “shooting” each other with shoes, sticks, rolled up paper, and any Lego construction that remotely resembles a weapon.]

Beige nightdress and brown shirt from thrift store (with a bit of sewing), old tennis shoes covered with theater tape and painted green, Dracula mask de-Draculafied and newly Yodified (cut out scary face…paint green...voilá).

(FYI, Yoda does indeed have toenails).

Princess Leia
White turtleneck, baby bonnet (thrown in batch of brown dye with the cape), a skein of brown yarn and a ton of hot melt glue.

May the force be with you.


Larae said...

Cute ideas! Thanks for sharing, I'll have to keep it in mind for next year=)

meno said...

Those are very cute. I used to make costumes too. We always had a blast with it.

The Lazy Organizer said...

You are too wonderful!!! I can't believe all the work you did and those costumes are perfect!

Kathleen Marie said...

I am super, super impressed and who could resist Princess Leia's gorgeous eyes!

These are great ideas to use for our Christmas program at church!

Radioactive Jam said...

"Help me, Obi-Wan Kenobi!"

Sorry. Probably not quite there yet.

And your opening line? Reminds me of something similar I've "always" wanted to say like, after arriving late for a meeting or something:
"I come from a long line of cars..."

Haven't tried it. Not that I'm perversely punctual or anything; I just figure no one will "get" it and then I'll seem even more weird.

Bernita said...

Well done!
I once made a cardboard coffin ( with face flap in the Eastern style) for one of my kids.

Anonymous said...

Fantastic. Princess Leia is SO cute!

Meg said...

So my son briefly entertained the yoda idea, but I couldn't even go there with how to make the costume. Thankfully that was in August and he changed his mind 6,000 times before settling on Hercules.


Goslyn said...

Those are absolutely the cutest costumes ever. Period. I love princess Leia.

Anonymous said...

Your daughter is an absolute doll baby!