Halloween is by far my favorite holiday ever. Most kids grow up loving Christmas and birthdays – and don’t get me wrong, those holidays are awesome too – but there’s something so amazingly appealing about having one day where it’s perfectly okay to pretend to be anything you want, even if that happens to be a zombie cheerleader or a serial killer.
My Memaw was a seamstress who had mad talent and made my wedding dress out of a bad sketch (look, I’m not an artist!) and a pattern she created from a newspaper. I can barely sew on a button. But growing up I had an increasingly interesting array of costumes.
I was a crayon, a clown a nerd, Raggedy Anne (perfect hair for it they said, it will be cute, they said), a naughty school girl (college-aged girls are required by law to wear skanky costumes), Medusa, a cowboy – the list goes on and on. And, for the most part, those costumes were either made by Memaw with love (she even had a tag to sew in the clothes that said that), or just thrown together by something we had in the house. I can’t actually remember ever purchasing a whole Halloween costume for myself. Because what’s the fun in that?
Crafty or not, I got this Halloween thing.
I am not opposed to purchasing a Halloween costume on any sort of principle. I don’t like the fact that all the costumes for females aged three and up make them look like baby hookers, and that all boy costumes are ugly and require them to wear masks, which guarantees that at the end of the evening they are all sweaty and their faces will smell like a gross mixture of chocolate and band aids.
So why not skip the nasty masks and skimpy skirts that cost too much, never fit just right and end up destroyed by the end of the night, frayed like my nerves after an evening of trick-or-treating with my kid?
I won’t give away my idea for my son’s costume this year, but I will say that there are plenty of things you can make yourself with a quick look through your closet or a run into Hobby Lobby – a craft store that’s so unassuming that it doesn’t even make me anxious – which is saying a lot, since I’ve nearly had an anxiety attack in a craft store once. But that’s another tale for another time.
I was Medusa once, and it was so super easy. I cashed in on the fact that I have insane hair that’s so full of curls it might as well be full of snakes. Wind that mess on your head up into messy tendrils, shove some plastic snakes into it (the Dollar Store has tons), and make a Grecian outfit from an old bed sheet. If you’re like me and snobby about sheets, I don’t suggest you destroy your 600+ thread counts on Halloween, but you can run into Goodwill or Big Lots and buy a sheet for next to nothing. Can’t find the color you want? RIT dye. You can buy it anywhere in just about any color. Fancy up your makeup go barefoot (wind a couple of snakes around your wrists or ankles for good form) and you’re good to go.
Goodwill and thrift stores are perfect places to find outfits for costumes, since chances are you’ll be altering them in some way. I’ve seen some amazing costumes come out of those racks for next to nothing.
My son wanted to be Woody from “Toy Story” a couple of years ago. The costume was atrocious. This weird, polyester onesie thing that cost $40. Not happening at all. Went to the store and spent $5 on a cowboy hat, used a plaid shirt and jeans he already had, busted out the Junior Deputy badge he got from the Newton County Sheriff’s Office and spent $15 on a horse that he looked like he was riding but was hooked to him by suspenders. For $20 he looked like a million bucks, and he played with that hat and horse for months afterwards, until the hat died after being stepped on too many times, and the horse got a rip in his foot from being played with so often.
But the thing about DIY Halloween costumes is that you have to start the planning early. People snap up things at the Dollar Store and Goodwill because they want to ruin your life – at least that’s why I assume I can’t find the things I am looking for. So plan ahead a little and grab up your stuff. It gives you plenty of time to perfect your look and then you don’t have to rush around like a crazy person two days before Halloween, fighting people at Target for the last overpriced sexy nurse costume or Spiderman mask. Unless, of course, that’s your thing. If so, then do you, sweetheart.