When my sons were born, one of the first things I thought to myself was that MY kids were not going to wear store-bought costumes! And I stuck to that decision until they outgrew going Trick-or-Treating. Before Halloween rolled around I started collecting unusual fabrics from remnants at the fabric stores to shiny clothing at yard sales. I bought quilt batting, stabilizer, netting, you name it. Anything that I thought might be needed in making homemade costumes. My arm isn’t quite long enough to pat myself on the back, but those costume created quite a buzz at our community costume contests. Both boys always won these contests which included $25 bonds, gift certificates for photos, restaurants, and toy stores.
Once I made a couple of costumes, I also realized that each boy could dress up as anything they liked. I could fashion a pattern from used clothing and the scraps I picked up during the years before. We had a costume box and even the kids added to it. I had swords, rhinestones, ribbons, patches, appliques, and just about anything shiny the kids picked up. Sometimes the kids would invent costumes by picking out all the things they liked from the box and we’d just put them all together. The kids would then name the costume so they could answer the inevitable question, “What are you?”.
Eventually, when I started my own business, my time to work on the costumes was greatly decreased. That’s when I started shopping with the boys and picking out patterns. Most patterns come with several costume design options and they would pick a pattern that I could use several times. Sometimes they’d like 2 or 3 of the options and I wouldn’t buy a pattern for years as they also come in several sizes. We still had and used the costume box but we actually made it from a pattern. We did this together. We pinned the patterns down for cutting, Mom cut the pieces out, the boys would push the pedal on the sewing machine, and we’d all share in the joy of constructing their costumes. This made their costumes far more valuable to them. They would brag that they “made” their costumes.
Later. Halloween stores started popping up with much better quality costumes and I took a walk through some of them. I was astonished at the prices for a costume that would be worn ONCE! I found a Ninja Turtle costume, not nearly as detailed and well-made as my son wore one year, and they had priced it at $35!!! That’s when I realized another benefit of making your own costumes. Saving a LOT of money. Overall, the kids were very proud of their costumes, I saved a lot of money, and we have memories that will last forever. Sure beats going to Walmart and buying a plastic mask and a cheezy cape for $10!