One year my mother made from scratch a matching version of the Felicity Colonial School dress for me and my doll! Full on skirts, lace-up bodice, everything, even a mob cap to go with it. It looked amazing (am trying to locate photo). I must have been 10 or 11. At the time The Pleasant Company published home sewing patterns to go with the dolls and for girls too. I wore the outfit to a Halloween party in my neighborhood and another girl showed up in the store-bought version of my same outfit! (Mine was better!)
In 1992, just before Disney’s Aladdin opened in theaters, my best friend and I decided that we needed to be harem girls for Halloween. Somehow we managed to talk both our mothers into making the required pants and vests — mine in light and dark purple satin, and hers in royal blue and dark pink. We also each got a large piece of chiffon to act as a veil; to this day I don’t envy my mom having to hem that! When the vests were complete, my friend and I decorated them with beads and sequins. We used fabric glue, so while it held up for Halloween, eventually most of the decoration fell off. We went to our middle school Halloween party feeling pretty cool, wearing leotards under our vests and with our heads covered and faces wrapped over the nose and mouth. We ended up in the yearbook, so I guess we weren’t wrong about how great our costumes were!
In high school I was barely 5-feet-tall, wore my blonde hair in a bun and was nicknamed Tinkerbell. So my freshman year I decided to make my own Tinkerbell costume using a dress pattern from a local shop. I altered the hem edges and added green-glitter puffy paint. I purchased cheap white kids ballet flats (since I could fit into a kids size 3) and added gift-wrapping bows to the toes and used my little sister’s princess wand and fairy wings to complete the look. Here is a throwback of my older sister, who was an army girl, and I that Halloween.
My mom made my favorite costume which was a clown costume. I wore that thing until it had to be retired, permanently. I’m not sure why I liked that costume over everything else, I do have fond memories of wearing it. Some other costumes from years past were a punk rocker along with two other friends, the janitor lady from Carol Burnett complete with mop and bucket. I went as a fairy god mother that, ahem, was more like the ladies from Absolutely Fabulous then the saintly Disney version. Probably the most extravagant costume was a Cleopatra inspired gown made by a costume designer at a theater I worked at. It was very tight and I was wrapped from my neck down to my ankles in gold lace fabric. It was intricately wrapped and very hard to walk. The wig maker did my hair, it was all magnificent. Unfortunately, I cannot find the photos for that. This year I’m going as someone who forgot today is Halloween. Next year!
- Jill Case
Halloween is absolutely my favorite time of year. And even better with little kiddos of my own to dress up! My daughter’s first (real) homemade Halloween costume was an ode to our beloved dog who has many nicknames, one of them being Tiger Pig – the source of inspiration that year. The following year – because apparently we had a theme going! – Ruby’s inspiration was Peppa Pig, hence the red fleece dress (with mud), the rain boots, the homemade pig ears and the pink fleece tail (not pictured). The following year, and this year for that matter, we’re all princesses all the time (though this year, Ruby opted for a slightly spooky spin, a la zombie princess – I am overjoyed!). I’m in luck though, as her brother is now old enough to trick or treat and will be going as Bob the Builder (for as long as he’ll actually wear a construction hat). Pictures promised!
Halloween has always been handmade in my family. It began with the sheep costume at age 1, with my mom making my ears. Then my sister and I were lions with tails and yarn wigs. My Annie costume was a hit (with another yarn wig) and I loved the freckles my mom painted on my face. In 6th grade I was Dorothy (with a broken arm), followed by a lady pirate (Butterick 6731), and then Minnie Mouse (lightweight denim skirt with wide elastic waist). I’m missing a few gems, such as a princess costume with lavender satin dress and styrofoam star wand, but these are the highlights! AGH! And then there was the year I was half man/half woman! That was an AWESOME costume!
I’ve kept with tradition and try to make at least one thing that my children wear on Halloween. So far, we’ve had a stegosaurus with handmade fleece tail and hat, twin pumpkins, a triceratops with another handmade tail, and this year we are crafting butterfly wings and yet another dinosaur costume—this time a pteranodon.