When I was a child I desperately wanted to make costumes for myself for Halloween and Purim. We didn’t have a sewing machine and although my mom is very creative, making costumes was not her thing. I remember spending one particularly long October afternoon when I was eight taping paper together to try to make myself a tennis ball costume (I had a pet tennis ball named Shrimp Doc. That should explain it all.). A tall order, for sure, and not one I was able to fulfill.
In the end I was always Little Red Riding Hood for Halloween because I had a red knit capelet that I wore as a coat in the fall. Grab the bread basket for collecting candy and the costume was complete. It was fine, but it wasn't what I imagined it could be.
But now I’m a grown up! And I can sew!
As you can imagine, I spend some portion of my weekends every October sewing Halloween costumes with my kids. We work together, choosing who will be what, collecting and buying supplies, sewing and fitting and sewing some more. I don’t use commercial patterns for their costumes. We wing it. Some parts we buy, some parts we make. It always works.
If you've ever been trick-or-treating you know it's done after dark and involves lots of running and jossling with other kids. The costumes don’t really get seen and kinda get in the way of maximum candy hording. But at our elementary school here in Wellesley, on the morning of Halloween, the kids parade outside, circling the school, marching with their older reading buddies. This parade makes sewing the costumes so worth it.
When they're in costume kids express some aspect of themselves more clearly than they can in their usual clothes. The look on their faces when they parade past, feeling so good in these costumes they’ve come up with, costumes our whole family worked on all month long, it's totally great.
Here’s a look back at the Glassenberg girls’ on Halloween in years past:
In 2009 we had a 4-year-old Pharaoh and a 2-year-old Fairy Princess Ballerina (why choose one when you can be all three?). Roxanne had already become a historian.
Right now if you ask Roxanne to choose a favorite day from her life so far she will pick Halloween 2010. That day she showed up at school as a five-year-old Abraham Lincoln and all her dreams came true.
In 2011 Stella had an imaginary house that she told us about every day at great length. It was her "swamp house" and it was built by a beaver and included ornate concrete fountains. She was the beaver for Halloween.
Right now my studio is full of rubber snakes, pieces of a bed sheet toga, silver lame, and aluminum dryer vent tubing. Medusa, a robot, and a bumblebee will emerge from our house on October 31. Look out!
Do you make costumes for your kids? Have your children dressed as anything unusual, or very expressive of themselves at a particular age? Tell me some good Halloween costume stories.