Halloween makes me melancholy. I miss those Halloweens when my sons were young. Our costumes were NEVER last minute. We planned for weeks for the occasion. The recipe always started with flour, a balloon and a little paper mache. Add in paint, fabric, and hot glue, and I managed to come up with some unique handmade get ups, many of them inspired by books. Our Halloween decor always included a stack of themed books that were put out the first day of October, only read for the month, and then stored away until the following year.
Mom, can you sew a costume for me?
I’ve decided exactly what I want to be
I’d like to go as a monkey bear
So sew a costume with lots of hair
Or wait, I think I’ll go as Alice
in Wonderland, can you sew a palace?
I just had the best idea
I’m going as a fresh tortilla
No, I’ve changed my mind again
I want to be Goldilocks in a pigpen
That doesn’t make sense, how about
You sew me a costume with a pig snout?
I’ve got it! I’ll go as BatSuperman
You’ve got ten minutes, finish quick as you can
Poem from Kids Activities from Woo! Jr. – A Network of Websites for Kids, Teachers & Parents
The Troll from THE THREE BILLY GOATS GRUFF
We loved THE THREE BILLY GOATS GRUFF, and I would delight in narrating the story using different voices.
“Who’s that crossing my bridge?” growled the troll. “Oh, please don’t eat me!” begged the littlest billy goat.~ from The Three Billy Goats Gruff by Jim Lawrence
Unbeknownest to me, my son had chicken pox that year under all that troll costume. No one was the wiser that he was a walking contagion, including me.
The Dragon from ANIMALIA
Graeme Base’s ANIMALIA inspired the dragon costume and a dragon mural that I eventually painted on a bedroom wall. I was obsessed with this book, and Base’s THE ELEVENTH HOUR. We loved pouring over the gorgeous, detailed illustrations, and words.
“Diabolical dragons daintily devouring delicious delicacies” ~ from Animalia by Graeme Base
Snakes & Snails & Puppy Dog Tails…and Reptiles
We went through a rather long reptile phase, and that inspired the cobra and Jackson’s chameleon costumes. We captured several Jackson’s chameleons while living in Hawaii, kept them to observe, and released them back into the wild, or until they escaped. They are fascinating creatures with their independently rotating eyes and prehensile tail. Trust me when I say that you haven’t lived until you’ve presented a cold blooded creature with a banana slug, and it is snatched from your hands by a tongue that is 1 1/2 times its body length. Now, that’s creepy!
We read every BOOK we could get our hands on about reptiles.
It’s a very good thing that my sons didn’t trip and fall because I see, now, that these costumes were a hazard. Yikes!
Power Rangers were all the rage back then. One year the costumes of choice had to be the Green Ranger and Rita Repulsa, the Mistress of Mayhem. I originally made the Rita costume for myself, but ended up altering it for our young friend. Go, go Power Rangers!! They’re coming to save the world! I think the world could using some saving. Where are you, now, Power Rangers?
Shredder from Ninja Turtles
I can’t forget the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles or their archenemy Shredder. Turtle fans we were! Cow-a-bung-a! The word turtle happened to be my oldest son’s first word he uttered right after he mastered dada and mama. Coincidence? Maybe. We still joke that it was due to the teenaged fictional team.
Pumba from The Lion King
Disney movies were our favorite and The Lion King played a part in this Pumba costume, complete with a mouthful of chubby grub.
Ewok from Star Wars
We were Star Wars fanatics, too! Ewoks had to be the cutest mammaloid pibeds in show biz. At least I thought my little harry pibed was that year.
One of the funniest costumes had to be this one, that was based on the animated series CatDog. The series depicted a conjoined twin hybrid of a cat and a dog. Their antics were bizarre but the idea made for a great costume.
The boys soon began to request video game character costumes, like this one, Crash Bandicoot and I obliged. Their reading material included strategy guides. Reading is reading, right?
Alas, those days are gone. We entered many costume contests and won nearly every one. The winning meant recognition for the creative outlet that I craved. The boys enjoyed their contests’ winnings and never once complained about their awkward costumes. As I look back at the pictures, I am not sure why they did not.
Enjoy the SPOOKTACULAR dress up times with your lil’ ghouls and goblins, because time passes…and oh, how so quickly.