Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Halloween - Why, oh why?

Will I ever learn? Or is that will I never learn? Any which way, you get the picture. It's Halloween in the States again, (and indeed, everywhere else if I'm not mistaken) which means a flurry of "What shall I be" in the Expat household and one over-worked mother.

It's my fault entirely. I'm a bit of a costume snob and can't abide those cheap, nylon costumes-in-a-bag.
Since the Queenager was a baby, I've hand-made the Halloween costumes. It helps that spookiness doesn't seem to be a required element of Halloween costumes here, so she has been everything from Red Riding Hood, A Medieval Princess, to Marie Antoinette with her head sewn back on, (stitch marks around the neck. Apparently a tad too gruesome for an 8 year old!) Boys are a bit harder as all they want to do is be is a Ninja, Batman or another boring old Superhero. I'm not lowering my sewing machine to attempt that!

Last year we went totally home-made with a cardboard box silver robot called "Recyclobot". We had a dead computer which we picked clean, and the robot had wires and other technical-looking things hanging from every side. The helmet is a plastic plant pot and the silver sleeves were from a previous astronaut costume. My did we get some compliments!! (Note - if you're going to attempt a cardboard box costume for a small child, make sure the bottom of the box doesn't impede leg movement. Poor little sod couldn't even get up one step!!)

This year however, the 8 year old decided he wanted to be some bloke from Star Wars (forgive me but I tend to glaze over when he starts differentiating the cloak-wearers).

"Oh", I said, a little too keenly, "I can make you one", and indeed, I had a pattern from a Man-Child costume (loaned and never recovered) which seemed to satisfy.

And that's when I remembered.

It's neither cheaper nor easier to make your own costumes. The damn thing required almost ten yards of various black fabrics, plus a new needle and a packet of inter-facing. Then, since I don't have a serger, and zig-zagging seemed to make things worse, I'm having to French seam the whole bloody costume as it's fraying so badly. (For anyone who wasn't forced to take Needlework at school, that's sewing each seam, yes, each seam, the wrong way then the right way so that you don't have any ragged, fraying edges.)

And since kids, well mine anyway, grow like weeds, this costume will probably never see the light of day again.

After Halloween I'm thinking of sewing black beads and sequins onto the cloak for any Christmas parties I might be invited to. Could start a whole new trend - Sith Glam!


  1. This sounds lovely! :) I bet your kids feel great having a costume *no one* else will have - though I guess that's not much consolation when you're mid-French seam! Good luck with it all.

  2. Oh, thank God we have such low standards here at Asia Vu! Since I don't really sew much of anything, everything has to be cobbled together with pre-made items or else able to be created with double-sided 'hem tape' (for people like me who can't sew; you've probably never heard of it.) We've still managed some excellent costumes over the years, though; best year was 'Lord of the Rings' Son #1 was Legolas; we got him hair extensions/braids, glue-on elf ears, etc, and created a costume out of fabric and (yep)double-sided tape. Fortunately, he already had the bow and arrow...at 18 he still loves a clever costume, though. This year, he and a Korean friend are going to a party as Captain Kirk and Mr. Sulu from Star Trek. The search is on for the right color long sleeve shirts, but that's it. No sewing!

  3. I'm full of admiration for your talents. How did I not get that family gene?Like Ms Caroline I'm more of a hem- tape (Wunderweb) girl or I buy the cheap nylon outfits. Rory once dressed up as Charlie Bucket from Charlie and the Choc Factory - jeans and a jumper!

  4. I bet his was the best! You are clever but I think that you must enjoy doing such an unusual task or else you wouldn't be able to make it in the first place. A child at heart.
    Maggie X

    Nuts in May

  5. Never mind Halloween, Daughter had to dress up for school to day as a profession she wants to be when 'she grows up'. She is 15 and last night that could have meant anything. We secretly want her to go to law school but that is hard to dress up as.

    She came down this morning dressed as a Hippy to a certain extent. "You want to have bad hair and dress in mis matched colours when you grow up?", I asked.
    "No, I want to be happy. This outfit makes me feel happy." Really, what could I say to that but " What a great costume."

  6. ho hum, the word you're looking for is Sith ;)) yes, indeed, never cheaper, nor easier, and a shedload of hoovering of stray threads. Still, last year's got a lot to live up to. Be afraid.

  7. Wow Mother Hen - we should all dress like that all the time!
    And yes Milla - a shedload of everything. But never fear, I only have the shoulder armour to do now!!!

  8. Thanks so much for popping in to Lady Mondegreen's Secret Garden. Another costumier! I'm guessing you found the Marie Antoinette dress (A Glimpse into Little Mondegreen's Theatre House - 9/26/11). We're purists here too - to the extent of wearing the right underwear for the costumes to look authentic. A French-seamstress - such dedication!

  9. Sith Glam. I like that. Can you make one for me too... ;)

    The best I could do was something vaguely Roman for Roman Day out of an old sheet, some gold craft cord, and a few oversized gold coloured 1990's earrings turned into toga clasps. Or something. Oh, and sandals.

  10. You made that??!! Wow. And he looks so darn proud. Awww.


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