Now let me start by confessing that, although my son wears homemade Halloween costumes every year, I don’t make them. My sister is incredibly talented at whipping up Pinterest-level costumes (like his Scarecrow costume, left, and the Lorax), and I would never even attempt to make the kind of costumes that she does.
But maybe my sister is part of the problem: Are our expectations too high for homemade halloween costumes? Does Pinterest and Etsy deflate parents? Because my son is always the only kid in his neighborhood/school to wear a handmade costume.
And that makes me a little sad.
I guess I’m just being nostalgic for my own childhood — when part of the magic of Halloween was make-shifting costumes with items and clothes around the house, and engineering outfits with a little imagination. Of course there were plenty of store-bought costumes around — and, trust me, I get the appeal of ready-made costumes — but the handmade : store-made ratio was a bit more balanced. Now I’m lucky to see one handmade costume all night.
What happened to using bed sheets and cardboard boxes? When did kids’ Halloween costumes become so elaborate and expensive? Where have all the ordinary homemade costumes gone?
Maybe it’s because the only handmade costumes we see are on blogs or Pinterest boards, with levels of creativity and ingenuity that would make any time-crunched parent cower. Maybe it’s because we equate ordinary homemade costumes with not being able to afford a “real” costume.
But they have so much love in them — even the disastrous messes. (Especially the disastrous messes.) They create bonding moments and family legends, like the time my crepe-paper Cookie Monster costume got rained on and I left a blue trail behind me down the sidewalks. Or the time my mom was cutting out eye-holes in a bed sheet that my little sister was wearing over her head, and she accidentally cut a huge chunk of her hair. Or the numerous costumes that fell apart just as we walked in the door at the end of the night, pumpkin candy buckets filled.
So even if my sister stops making his costumes, I’d hope to keep the tradition going. They won’t be the types of costumes that get ooh‘ed and aaah‘ed over on Facebook — in fact, they might be epic fails.
But we’d have the stories.