[ back ]
It Takes A Village: Homemade costumes and the magic of Halloween
Halloween is my favorite holiday. There is something magical about dressing up like your favorite character from a novel, movie or something conventional like a witch or ghost.
I remember desperately wanting a plastic costume with the plastic masks instead of the lovingly crafted costumes my mom made from scratch. In hindsight, what a unique treasure those costumes were, so much better than store bought costumes.
My parents combed the area to track down straw for my brother’s scarecrow costume, inspired by the 1981 horror film, “Dark Night of the Scarecrow.”
One of my favorite costumes was Mrs. Beasley, a doll from the 1970s television show, “Family Affair,” complete with blue and white polka dotted fabric and a crocheted yellow hat to represent her yellow hair.
My own children are fortunate Halloween stores carry everything from Katy Perry to Alice in Wonderland’s Mad Hatter, because their mom doesn’t have an ounce of sewing talent. Long gone are the days of plastic Halloween costumes.
I had an opportunity to be creative when my son, Kyle, wanted to be the Super Mario Brothers’ character, Bowser. I created a turtle shell out of a green toilet seat cover with orange felt cones and Velcro straps.
Now the girls are older and I miss the days of watching them dress like Disney princesses. My mother-in-law made my oldest daughter a Snow White costume. We used black hair spray on her dishwater blonde hair to complete the costume.
As a child, my dad took my brother and I trick-or-treating while mom passed out candy, often meeting up with a group of neighbors to help pass the time.
We are fortunate to live in a safe neighborhood. Since we started trick-or-treating, we’ve gathered neighbors in Gahanna to collect candy as a group. Sometimes we have as many as 10 children and their parents.
Trick-or-treating with such a large group of kids has the benefit of providing extra eyes and ears to keep children safe. There are usually parents walking in the middle of the group and a few bringing up the rear to watch out for stragglers.
My oldest is in sixth grade now and I fully expect a request to run around with her friends and no parents this year. As safe as our neighborhood is, I’m not quite comfortable allowing her that much freedom on a dark night full of strangers with masks.
Another priority is been making sure we have enough light to keep track of the kids. You can buy a container of glow-in-the-dark bracelets or necklaces for $1 at your local dollar store.
One thing that has changed over the years is awareness of processed sugar. I don’t remember being rationed candy, but that is important for our family. The children are allowed a couple pieces a day until their supply runs out or they forget about the candy until the next holiday.
I want them to remember Halloween as a time of magic and creativity, when they are free to be anything their little heart’s desire. In the mean time, I’ll go look through my draw of costumes. Maybe I’ll be a pirate this year.
“Arrgghh, walk the plank.”
[ back ]