Monday, November 19, 2012

Made my Kid's Halloween Costume!

Major milestone. I made my son's Halloween costume.

Did it require sewing? No. Was it done out of necessity? Yes.

In September, I asked Leepo what he wanted to be for Halloween. I asked him this because I loved hearing him say "Sammy the Skunk." So cute. So easy to purchase at a costume store. But one day things changed, "I want to be a PILL BUG, Mama." What? "A pill bug, a rolly-polly." Are you sure? Like, really sure? "Oh, yes, Mama. That is what I want to be."

Ugh. Well, you just know you're not going to find a pill bug costume hanging on the rack. (Did I search in vain, anyway? Yes.) And it's true that this blog was forged with the DIY spirit, but when it comes to sewing I'm a total dunce. (I intend to learn, but under less demanding circumstances.) So, not being a seamstress, I went on Facebook and asked around about how to address this situation. My friend Laura clued me into a "mommy trick," it's all about the hoodie.

U Create
(No, this isn't the costume I made. Keep scrollin'.)

Yes, a simple zip-up hoodie can serve as the base for a limitless variety of accouterments, and thus create a custom Halloween costume. So where did I go next? You guessed it. Goodwill. For just a couple of bucks I left with a grey toddler hoodie and I began to feel optimistic.

My next stop was Hobby Lobby for the remainder of the supplies. I learned from another friend, Carin, that if you download the Hobby Lobby app on your phone, you can get a 40% discount on one item, or sometimes your entire purchase. I wasn't exactly sure what I was going to grab, but I knew I had to factor in a few things:

  • Like the mullet, the pill bug magic is all in the back. That's fine, but it's not conducive to sitting in a car seat. I would have to make this part of the costume easily removable.
  • This animal is monochromatic, so I'd have to introduce interest by choosing grey pieces with different hues. 
  • My materials had to be light-weight because I'd be gluing it all together. 
  • We live in the Midwest, this costume better work with a winter coat, too. 

I spent way too much time in that store pondering (enough time to notice the intriguing male customer population there), but ultimately I came home with the following stuff:

Styrofoam for the shells, pipe cleaners for the antennae and legs. 

To make the pill bug armor, I proceeded to cut the styrofoam balls into quarters with a bread knife (this part got a little messy). Once I had them, I took these pieces and wrapped them in felt, which I simply glued into place. I'm sure the type of person who loves the challenge of an awkward shaped Christmas gift to be wrapped would appreciate this, and even have a system for how to do it. I, on the other hand, just tucked and glued where I could.

Since the back of the costume would be seen from all sides, I affixed foam half-circles to the top of each shell with a tab. What you're seeing in this next picture is the backside of a 'shell,' and I'm gluing a pipe cleaner and holding it in place with another piece of felt.

Finally, things were starting to take shape. I used regular glue to attach the shells (with legs) to the large swatch of fleece I purchased, in addition to creating foam pieces in the front. Prior to doing this, I had cut the fleece into an "I" shape so that there'd be tabs at the corners. The idea was to make a smock that could be tied together over the hoodie, and easily removed for when we were traveling in the car from place to place. It goes without saying that I cut out a hole to go over the head.


Once the 'smock' portion of the costume was completed, all I had to do was attach the antennae and googly eyes to the hood. With bated breath, I then performed a dress rehearsal with Leepo. Gladly, I was given the thumbs up sign and we went on to have a spooktacular Halloween with my family.

Leepo on his way to treats with my Aunt Bubu.

This was the first year that my boy got it. He was running door to door yelling sweetly asking "Trick or Treat!?!" and showing great pride in his stash. I have to say, I was also feeling pretty good when people commented on his costume and gave me kudos for being clever about it. If only they knew, it was so easy a doctor could do it!

And it was all worthwhile.

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