Wednesday, November 9, 2011

The Halloween Experiment

Last year I had a 20-something, childless, non-married woman made a comment about how moms need to 'pick it up' and make costumes for their kids instead of buy them. The comment really, really bothered me but it also made me feel very, very guilty. Last year my 2 yr old wanted to be Thomas the Train. The whole idea of trying to make him a box train, painting it, finding accessories/make-up etc was overwhelming to me. I work on the Run For The Cure committee so the thought of that occupied all of September, then I hosted Thanksgiving for 28 people, hosted the inlaws for a visit, had Halloween, took the kids on a beach vacation and then had DD's birthday party the week after we got back. All of that in the span of 2 months left me feeling pretty overwhelmed and in no shape to make costumes from scratch.

Even though I don't know how to sew, I don't own a sewing machine and have no interest in learning how to sew I felt guilted enough to try and make the kids some costumes this year. Stupid Mommy guilty perpetuated by a non-mommy!!

So I asked the kids what they wanted to be and at first DS said he wanted to be the alien from Toy Story. Yeahhhh, no. That sounds way too hard. Try again kid. So he said he wanted to be Handy Manny. BINGO! How easy is that? Then DS said she wanted to be an angry ghost. SCORE! Project Halloween Costumes was a go and I couldn't be happier by the selections they made.

AND then I started trying to figure it all out. Yeah. It was way harder than I thought it would be. It took me 5 shopping trips to find all the components of DS's costume. I estimate that it cost about $85 for his costume plus 8 hours to make it.  It might have been easier if there had been a pattern to work from but I was going in blind and tried to figure it all out as I went along.

DD's costume, I thought, would be way easier and yet caused me more stress because I didn't want it to cover her head. I bought her face make-up, silver hair spray, and devised we would just make her face look ghostly. Then came the problems of arm holes. I wanted her to be able to use her arms so I cut holes out and then cut and sewed strips onto the arms so she looked like she had 'spooky' sleeves. Then I took the costume and distressed the bottom of it. Her costume cost approximately $50 and took me 5-6 hours to make.

The time might not sound like much but it doesn't count the hours spent shopping for the components to the costumes or the time it took to think/plan it all out. I estimate it took about about 18 hours to do these costumes and copious amounts of stress. Who knew 2 such simple ideas for costumes could cause so much work?

Here's the questions...would I do it again? No, not in the same manner that I did it this year. If I was going to do homemade costumes again I would first make the kids build off things we already had in the house and just look to add a few embellishments. Starting from scratch was difficult, stressful, expensive and time consuming.

In the end I was proud of what I had done but looking at their costumes you really would have NO IDEA of how much time I spent on them. The kids were so very happy but to be honest I don't think they were any happier that I made them than if I would have bought them. Most of all what I learned from this experience is to not have an early 20's,  non-mom, non-married woman guilt me into being what SHE thinks a mom should be.


  1. WOW!! I love the ghost costume!! It looks great. The "child-free" just have no concept of how much time & energy goes into more important parenting, like cooking, cleaning, chauffeuring, nursing, loving, reading, teaching... the fact that you were able to find more than 5 minutes to add SEWING to that list is blowing my mind. And I don't blame you one bit for not wanting to repeat that performance! I hand sewed a costume for my son when he was 2 yrs old. A pumpkin. Complete with a hat. NEVER. AGAIN.

    New follower...

  2. How did I miss this posting?

    You did an awesome job on the costumes! I sew and I have a sewing machine but there's no way I would embark on a project that has a definite deadline... WAY too stressful.

    Also, I agree with Melissa... the child-free haven't a clue about the time-suckage that comes with having children.