01 November 2009

Homemade Halloween

There are many reasons having a kid rules (and a few why it, uh, doesn't) but the reinvigorating of holidays and traditions is a huge plus. This was the first year that Simone could even vaguely grasp the concept of Halloween and I had not one, but two, costumes to make. Double the fun! Somewhere along the way, it became really important to me to make the costumes. My Mom always did. We never had those store bought creepy masks and vinyl capes - I always felt sorry for those kids. But at a further point along the Costume Trail, it also became important that it encompass a few of my other favourite values - cheapness and reusing material. Here's how it shook down:

For her daycare party, I knew she would have to schlep around in it all day and that it would get covered in pizza and melted chocolate. The wings were the genesis of the costume, a gift from her cousin's wedding. The dress was an almost outgrown gift from Auntie Elena, on its last legs with zippers parting etc.  So based on the wings and the colors, she became the hitherto unknown variety of fairy called The Autumn Fairy:


I found some dowling around the house and made her wand by winding it in ribbon and attaching jingle bells and fake mums. The same fake mums went on her shoes. Down at the Scrap Exchange, I got a grab bag of snippets of upholstery trim, piping and tassels and the like in autumnal colors for $3.00. I used these to make her crown (never worn, I might add) and to trim her dress. She was cute and jingly and most important, comfortable. 
Watch the Autumn Fairy take on Spiderman here:

Fairy vs. Spiderman from Kyla Sweet on Vimeo.

But the Fairy was just an easy-peasy costume warm up-event. For weeks I had been working feverishly on her Real Costume - sock monkey! This is where the idea of cheap and reusing materials really came to the fore, because I had found a sock monkey costume tutorial online, and it involved cutting up a pack of 6 pairs of Rockford Red Heel socks. I looked for them everywhere in town, finally gave up, and my finger was literally hovering over an internet order form for the socks and the $30 charge plus shipping - when my head cleared. I was not going to pay good money for perfectly good socks just to cut them up for a one night costume. No way. 
So here's what I did instead:

I cut up some old grey sweatpants that were destined for the thrift store  in a vaguely overall-ish pattern. I am no accomplished sewer and did it all by hand (as you can see!). I traced a pair of her overalls on paper and used that to make my rough pattern. I left a gap at the crotch so we could change her diaper easily - very important! Odd socks were the other backbone of this costume. I can't bear to dispose of odd socks, somehow thinking they'll reappear I guess, but in this case my stash came in handy. I cut the ribbed tops off to make the white wristlets and then knitted little red bands to sew on. The same red bands were attached to the foot socks (these I bought, for $1, as I needed extra long socks). The hat was sewn over an old baby cap and I used another odd sock for the face. The red lips came from an actual pair of red heel socks I found at Kohl's for $1.99 and the buttons from an old overcoat and I knit the cap. The tail was more sweatpant material stuffed with the sewing and knitting scraps, capped with a tiny solo baby sock sewn around with another knitted red band. I attached the tail by cutting up an old stained onesie for the snaps and sewing one side of the snaps to the inside of the overalls and the other to the tail. Voila - snap-on tail! 

After all this work, I was worried that Simone wouldn't wear it. She hates wearing things on her head (see Fairy Crown above) and the hat was so important for the costume, that I was sure no one would get it if she didn't wear it. But on the day itself, Simone was a total trooper. Here she is on our front stoop:

And to see that tail in action, check out this little snippet of Simone motoring her way down to the costume parade. Man, it's cute. 

Sock Monkey Halloween I from Kyla Sweet on Vimeo.

So her costumes were crooked and harried and safety-pinned - but it was so much fun making them, sneaking time away from homework to make something for my kid. Even when people called her a kitten or a mouse or a sock puppet - sigh - I still felt mighty proud.  

Total cost: For socks and trimmings for both costumes - $5.99