Can’t I just knit something for this?

So it’s almost Halloween, and that disturbing thing is happening again. Ordinary women, who would normally laugh in your face and lie down on the floor of The Gap and giggle madly, spilling their custom Starbucks coffee all over themselves if you merely suggested that they make their children’s clothing are responding to some deep human instinct and are being dragged helplessly by a psychotic maternal urge to make capes and hats and clown costumes to prove their love. They are in line at Fabricland and they all look a little dazed. They aren’t sure what’s happening to them. After all, they aren’t sewing mothers, they haven’t sewn anything since last Halloween when they finished that elf thing at three in the morning, and that’s really sort of hazy. There may have been rick-rack or interfacing or something where you had to clip the curves. Who knows. All they know is that not only are they at a Fabricland (oh…the humanity) but they are caring a lot about finding a princess pattern that doesn’t have poofy sleeves (because they are *so* Disney..and we’re aiming for a more Lord of the Rings sort of princess) and that they suddenly are feeling sort of pissy that ribbon doesn’t come in more shades of pink.
How do I know?
Shoot me. For the love of wool. Shoot me.
There are so many ways out of this sewing nightmare. I can think of lots of things that wouldn’t take any more than a hot glue gun, four things out of my recycle bin, 10 minutes and a stapler. What’s wrong with those ideas? I even hear tell of parents who (get this…) BUY costumes, ready made. Freaky eh? It’s not like I don’t try to avoid this either, why just this year my two greatest no-sew costumes of all time were rejected again. (You may steal these. Someone should have some satisfaction. I’ve been trying to get one of my kids to do this for 15 years.)
1. A highway. The child wears all black or gray clothing, then yellow and white reflective tape is applied to their body in the pattern of a road. The arms and legs are ramps. Hot glue gun toy cars onto the road.
2. The child wears various half knitted objects. Sleeves for leg warmers, swatches in various states of unravel pinned to them… odd balls and skeins of yarn are stuck to them with hot glue. When someone asks what they are, they reply….Stash.
The baby hat is done. The cat is still completely uncooperative. I didn’t even try to put it on her head. (Ignore the black fur stuck to the side of the hat).
I’m trying to resist the urge to knit bootees. I expect to fail.
Kristin wanted to see how the decreases on the top look….
I oblige. I changed my basic recipe a little for this, (Can you believe that I can’t even knit my own pattern without changing it? It’s a disease.) instead of just gathering up the stitches, I worked a little I-cord at the top. I think it looks like a little stem. This amuses me to no end, mind you…I’m still a little shocky from the whole Fabricland thing. I’ll be looking for my pincushion, if anybody needs me.

95 thoughts on “Can’t I just knit something for this?

  1. Can I confess? Even on the projects I design for someone, mag or whatever, I never quite knit the actual sample the same way I write the pattern. It’s not a disease, it’s a genetic variation, Like albinism, and I carry it too.

  2. How I wish I lived in Toronto . . . don’t think I’ve EVER said that before! But if I lived there I could have been making costumes for your kids – if sewing were as portable as knitting, my whole family would have oodles of clothes instead of just socks, hats, and mittens! My kids wanted rather dull Hallowe’en costumes this year – bunnies and a ghost, not the most challenging sewing I’ve ever done, oh well. You’re a bit short on time – do you have any old bridesmaid dresses you could alter?

  3. Our costumes are done, complete with clipped curves (we’re talking full length princess seams here). But, really, I love those glue gun type costumes so much more than these handsewn ones. My favorite quicky costume — dress in pink, stick a large shoe on your head. If asked, you are a wad of gum stuck to the bottom of a shoe.
    BTW, did you catch that the rick-rack picture had a headline of “share the excitement”? Somehow I’ve never associated “excitement” and “rick-rack” before. What have I been missing?

  4. Once upon a time, long ago, in another life. I knit my daughter a black dress, added a tail and ears, she was a kitten. She wore the dress for years, minus the tail and ears 🙂
    Know I only get to sew prom dress and various other formals. I miss making costumes.

  5. I drafted my mother to make the kids’ costumes. I’m on my own, however, for my own. You’ll get a kick out of it, I assure you.

  6. Very well. For the sake of the little knot on the end of that I-cord, I forgive you for subjecting me and views-inaccurately-represented-as-mine to the derision of the entire blogosphere (except lizzy.) This is the dearest little buggins I’ve ever seen — a vestigal antenna, or the knob at the end of a lily stamen…I loathe pompoms. Why the hell didn’t I think of this?
    Besides, it would look great on the cat.
    One of the cafe girls here was wondering how to make a necklace of fake ice cubes to go with her furry ear-flapped cap when she goes out as a White Russian. And my bank teller was debating the wisdom of wearing a lampshade on her head, a box with armholes, a drawer drawn on the front cum real knob, a paperback glued to her boxtop shoulder and the sign on her back “I’m a One Nightstand.”

  7. Sewing is a four letter word. You are ambitious to try and that pattern looks very complicated. Knowing you, as a goddess, you will do well and be able to use every �technical term� you know to help you along.
    That hat will be darling on any baby!

  8. Other no-sew costumes:
    A bunch of grapes (ToTer is to wear all green – the stem – and then has purple balloons taped all over them
    A shower – this is great because they can wear anything they way, as long as they have the hula hoop with a shower curtain suspended above their head. In warmer areas, the hula hoop can be hung lower and they can wear beachy stuff
    Garbage – Wear all black, cut holes in a giant black trash bag and stuff with paper
    Of course, I have a 12-year old, and he’s way too cool for any of these…
    My parents dressed my brother and I up as Luke Skywalker and R2D2 when we were kids. David wore his karate gi, and I (being around 2) was put in a cardboard box with a metal collander on my head. Honest. We have photos.

  9. Is Erika me??? I do lots and lots of knitting, which I do love, but I would do less if I could stuff my sewing machine and half finished skirt in my purse the way I can a baby sweater or sock… My only other interest this portable is books. So my piles and piles of fabric and garments that only need to be hemmed and ironed remain heaped in a bin and on my ironing board.

  10. I spent a month making a lion costume for my first son when he was two. I made him wear the damn thing for two years. Then I made his brother wear it for two years. I still don’t think I’ve recovered. Since they they’ve both wanted to be Superman and I was so happy to just buy the pajamas at Target and call it done. Shameful, I know…

  11. One of the many reasons I love my husband is that several years ago, as we approached my first Halloween as a mother and that strange MUSTMAKEACOSTUME thing came over me, he looked me square in the eye and told me he forbid me to sew Halloween costumes. (Keep in mind this is a man who knows perfectly well the futility of uttering the word “forbid” when I am not delusional.) You’re not getting into this, he said. Buy the costume. And so I did, my prior theatrical costume design experience reeling at the unholy act. Then my kid won best costume at the Halloween party.
    Yep. Works for me.

  12. Here’s another quickie costume:
    Dress all in white, take an old stocking cap and stitch or glue batting all around it, cover an old pair of shoes with batting and you are done… A Q-tip!

  13. No sew costume suggestion:
    one old quilted mattress cover with head sized hole cut out of the center.
    One yellow hard hat (or styrofoam pith helmet spray-painted yellow)
    Wear mattress cover as a poncho and hat in the traditional way.
    You’re a fried egg
    Gosh that’s a cute little hat!

  14. Two more easy costume ideas (which I’ve used with great success as last minute oh-my-god-I -need-a-costume-RIGHT-NOW events):
    1. Rain cloud. Dress all in grey (grey sweats work great). Pile hair on top of head. Sprinkle with flour (turns most hair grey). Carry a water gun to occasionally spritz people.
    2. Night: Dress all in black (black sweats work great. Can you tell I like sweats?). Buy a package of gold stars and plaster them liberally everywhere, including on hair, face, hands, etc.

  15. I’m new to the knitting blog world (though I’ve blogged about a variety of other things for a while) and have been lurking in the shadows reading about your adventures for a while now. Just a quick note to let you know that I love reading your ‘blog (and many of the blogs you link to), and I’ve quoted your various mitten syndromes in my first entry, with a link to the relevant entries of yours. I hope to join the knitting webrings sometime soon, but I’m in a bit of a rush to get to class at the moment. Thanks for sharing your thoughts with the digital world! If you’d like to take a look at my references to you, check out my livejournal.

  16. I some how avoided the last minute sewn costume this year-I actually finished it Monday-all pressed and ready to go. Of course I started it sometime in September….anyhow, my darling daughter will make a beautiful “Dorothy”, ruby slippers and all. Of course a whole new problem developed: six-year-old who changes her mind 25 times on what she wants to be as mom struggles with the rick-rack that I should not even bother with because nobody will notice, then cries when mom says “you WILL be Dorothy”, then feel horrible for fighting over a Halloween costume of all things, then relent and let child decide what she would like to be, only to have her choose the original hand-made costume 5 days before Halloween, restart sewing on the costume while muttering under breath that this is the last homemade costume until daughter learns to sew herself, began swearing when the sleeves do not “pouf” the way they do on the package, re-gather until they do, tell others who admire costume that it “was no trouble at all”, then do not know whether to laugh or cry when daughter suggests that dad can be the Tin Man and mom can be the witch. The Wicked Witch. Where am I going with this-who knows, but if you can knit a gorgeous sweater like Rhinebeck in 14 days, this should be a piece of cake. Maybe. I better go before a house falls on me too.

  17. I’ve been lurking around here for awhile, but this is my first comment, ever! I must confess, my husband has dressed as a highway (exactly as described) for Halloween two years ago. I was a highway construction worker, complete with hard hat and retro-reflective stripes. I’m thinking “paper bag princess” would be a good one this year, just cut some armholes in one of those big paper bags for yard waste, and voila!

  18. I love sewing costumes! They are all I sew these days, admittedly. I was not one of those dazed Moms you saw at Fabricland. ( I was dazed at Value Village) Kids NEVER want to wear what you’d like to make. I have been trying to do the Full Enchilada Queen/Gown Extravaganza for years to no avail. I would have traded you sewing costumes if I’d known ( too late now! ) A non-poofy princess is a no brainer compared to the beauty I had to produce one year for my son – a Pokemon character that was , in effect, a purple ball of gas. Yes, you read that right.

  19. The Nightmare Continues! The kids grow up and the nest is empty. You might find yourself reading about someone else’s Halloween Sewing Nightmare and feeling nostalgic about it.

  20. My no sew solution: have husband and mother in law (expert seamstress) make costumes. Provide plenty of moral support.
    Worked great this year. The kids look cute and I did not spill my latte.

  21. LOTR? Why not knit a cloak? Didn’t the elvish princesses need to keep warm? Just a thought.
    Here’s another – hot glue, carefully placed, with render your sewing machine inoperable for awhile. Peel it off later…

  22. If only I could have made it home from Fabricland with fabric! My son screamed me out of the store. Twice. These are the only 2 times in his 14 months of life that he has caused other customers to look at me as if to say “Can’t you control your child?!” A normally angelic little boy turned nasty. The original idea was a bat (he loves to be hung upside down by the ankles) but now I’m thinking little devil is more in order. Any bets on wether or not I can get this thing done in one night? Yeah. I didn’t really think so either.
    Great hat by the way!

  23. It could be worse. My mother found herself making a garlic costume for my brother one Halloween.
    Yes, I did say “garlic.”

  24. I was a book one year for Halloween. It’ll be great for you, since you won’t have to make anything, it’s cheap, and it’ll keep your kids busy for hours as they recreate the covers to their favorite books on large pieces of posterboard.
    However, if you absolutely must make a costume, fortify yourself with plenty of Halloween candy, preferably chocolate. Even better if you can delay gratification until Monday, when all candy is half-price.

  25. Wear garbage bag with white-type stuff stuck to it – used paper plates, wadded up paper towels and kleenex, styrofoam cups, etc – and go as White Trash –
    My youngest son has a long winding ragged scar around his middle (from stomach to back; operation when 24 hours old) – for two years he wore an old shirt stratigically ripped to display the scar and with fake blood liberally applied – went as Victim of Shark Attack the first time and as Victim of Barracuda Attack the second time – this was high school, you understand –
    Use what you have … .

  26. Ah, costumes. Tomorrow is the Cell-a-bration(get it?) in six grade science and my son is going as a green Golgi Body.

  27. I have been lurking for about a year now… You are too much!
    Guilty as charged! Diva is a ghost this year and I made the costume, complete with balaclava, hood and mittens…. And I don’t have my own sewing machine. (I don’t think DH wants one near me.)
    Let’s just say, Grandma (the REAL seamstress) got a kick watching Mommy sew…. 😉

  28. Ah… another person who has a pile of fabric sitting on the table… waiting. I think I’m making a cat costume tonight. Maybe. Last year I made Link (a video game character.) Before that I took years off after making a Dinosaur. Cutest dino you ever saw… but it took days to make.
    Just a quick cat costume this year. Really.

  29. After spending last Saturday night making EIGHT princess skirts for my daughter’s 4th birthday party, let me assure you that I feel your pain. (And I, too, dealt with the pain by blogging about it. So therapeutic. Well, okay, maybe I had a glass of wine, too.)
    My skirts were much simpler. And the Halloween costume is a hand-me-down. Thank goodness.

  30. I even skip the hot glue and go straight for safety pins. Wear jeans and shirt, pin small items of clothing and dryer sheets all over yourself, you are … Static Cling! (added bonus is not having to tame hair)

  31. Sewing? I feel your pain, my sister…
    I’m normally one of those Sewing Moms, but Halloween sewing seems to be a little different – as in not as much fun as regular sewing. I do have my daughter’s costume almost ready – she’s going to be a pirate, so we can use some of the things that she didn’t wear last year.
    Super Glue/hot glue guns are your friend in the Halloween madness. Don’t let anyone tell you different.

  32. Four kids. Three off and away. I always looked in amazement and a little envy at those weirdo moms, especially the one with five kids who did the entire family as a theme, every single year: they were all Oz characters one year, the Mom and Dad included, Star Wars another, with costumes well enough done you could have put them all right in the movie. Always something new, and she did it every year. Could I borrow an old…? Not on your life! I think she was saving them for a future family museum. She’d earned it.
    Watching her did me in. I never succumbed. Not one sewn costume. Ever. Now where were all these other great no-sew ideas listed here in your comments back when I needed them!

  33. I had such fun reading your readers’ comments on this one, and some of the ideas are precious. My favorite one: Raincloud. It is true what some have said — and I’ll say it now — when they’ve grown and gone away, you’ll look back on it with nostalgia. I do. I am lousy with a sewing machine and a needle and thread, but I always loved putting out something for Abigail for Halloween. The good thing was, the imperfections were excusable because it WAS for Halloween. Definitely, though, a Lord of the Rings princess needs cables – a cabled hood in soft grey, maybe. You must, and we all know you CAN!

  34. I must confess that once I sewed constantly and I sewed a lot of costumes. And the ones which took the most effort actually got a lot of use.
    The tie-on pumpkin costume from bright orange polar fleece fit my son for two years and since then has been circulating among the small children in the neighborhood. The jester outfit I made for my daughter, complete with matching mat and velour cape has been loaned out piecemeal several times — the cape served as a Queen’s cloak one year! Several kids have worn the clown suit with the BIG multi-color polka dots, but I think that they borrow that one because the multi-color wig is so much fun. The red silk lined cape that I made for Dracula one year worked well for a witch the next year and now lives in my office at school where colleagues come in to borrow it to wear to class for Hallowe’en.
    Now I will admit that the very labor-intensive blue power ranger outfit never appeared again after its big night. And the bright yellow duck outfit (complete with beak and yellow hood) has disappeared though I still cherish the pictures we took of my then-five-year-old daughter trying to twist around so she could see the tail. Her beak kept blocking her vision and the circling effect made her look like a small yellow dog chasing its tail.
    Take heart! Making a Hallowe’en costume can be the gift that keeps on giving to all the later moms who call you in a panic near hallowe’en!!

  35. Steph you are too funny. I now find that I can no longer wait till I get home from work to see what you have posted…I start checking at lunchtime and continue all aftenoon until I get the day’s news. Never fails to make me smile…
    Add this to the no-sew ideas…orange (or brown) sweatpants and matching shirt, hot glue fabric leaves didmembered from the cheap-o branches on mega sale now because everyone knows it is time to prepare for Christmas. You have a leaf pile. Carry a rake in case your friends might not get it.
    Happy Halloween everyone!

  36. One hat done, and one on the go. What a nice, easy, quick (kind of) pattern. Thank you for sharing it!!!
    I had a costume made for my daughter. She so badly wanted to be a horse. I got her to settle for cat. Took a black body suit and added a tail.
    Went grocery shopping today, and found a horse costume on sale for 1/2 price!!! Needless to say, it came home with me. She’ll wear it to school, out trick or treating, and if I know her, playing around the house too. Well worth it.

  37. MY Mum is “EXACTLY” like that, she was cursing the whole sewing thing this morning while we were shopping for cloth in Wal-mart! I brought her down here to show her in triumph that she was “not” the only mother who sews things for their children, even if they can’t really sew.
    Is the princess lord of the rings outfit for Megan?

  38. I sewed Em’s costume this year. She’s Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz. I didn’t even use a pattern. It does need hemmed a little shorter, but I’m rather proud of it. There’s a pic of her on my blog in it. Red sparkly shoes and all.

  39. Oooooh, thanks for the memories…I once stayed up all night sewing a dinosaur costume…(I am still proud of that)…I finally lay down in bed about 1/2 hour before my 4 year old son got up…he asked me about his costume and I told him it was on the couch downstairs…
    I heard him pad downstairs and then a big gasp…2 minutes later he was upstairs with it on, and all four paws on…he was ecstatic…
    one of my best memories as a mom…really…
    and you brought it back to me today…thanks….
    Good luck with the princess of Middle Earth look!

  40. What a good little mommy you are! I will spend hours upon hours making Halloween theme sugar cookies from scratch without complaint. The really big, soft, thick ones. Today in fact, I’m going to be making many spiders and their accompanying webs out of cookie dough for the decorating table in class tomorrow. But I have yet to make a costume, or even want to, for my children. Store bought, all of them. And if they’re under 2, they don’t even GET a costume! How’s THAT?

  41. Oooh, a guy I went to college did the one night stand thing, but I think there was a bra and condoms involved…
    2 more easy ones: A sandwich board with a Boston Herald front page attached- Yesterday’s News.
    The GReen Monster (in Boston’s Fenway Park)green sandwich board with a score board, etc.

  42. I confess, at one time, I tried to do my daughter’s Halloween outfits. I practiced costume making on those evil little Barbies that her female relatives would sneak into my home. And see, that’s why I was never allowed to make a costume for my daughter.
    She saw a couple limbs a bit, urm, misshapen from my being too intent on getting those “sequins just right around the elbows.”
    Then there was the Barbie that I accidently (I swear) gave flippers to when the glue was so hot that it melted the shoes & the feet in them – but they were glittered!
    When I offered to use the stapler as an alternative to making the costume, I heard her on the phone pleading with her grandmother to take her costume shopping.

  43. Bang, bang! (Claudia can get me out of this one. I hope.)
    This isn’t for the daughter who’s planning to elope with the Lord of the Dings, is it? It’s looking too “Bridezilla” for comfort . . .

  44. LOL, This is so true about the costumes! I KNOW how to sew and have finished my child (and godchild’s) costumes. A few other Mom’s who, unfortunately, know my little secret sewing habit have asked me to hem, alter or make accessories for store bought costumes. One Mom was aghast when I suggested using masking tape to hem her Snow White costume that she apparently paid a pretty penny for ;-).

  45. Today’s entry, plus all the above comments have caused me enormous misgivings. I have always known that I have the most wonderful daughter-in-law ever. Not only has she given me two adorable grandsons, but I know she has impeccable taste in men.
    Having read about all of you making special costumes, I wonder if my DIL will now need to be down-graded, in my estimation?
    One dinosaur, and one Spiderman.
    Does it count that she just returned from a week-long conference, (she’s a CA,) and has today flown to Dallas for another client conference?
    I think I’ll keep loving her, anyway.

  46. I just called my 13yo to give her the web address so she could read your comments today and maybe get some ideas. I’m a Halloween sloth and I’m not apologizing. There are some really great ideas here, though, and among my favorites is the Q-tip — maybe with inside-out thrummed hat and socks in place of the batting. Huh? Maybe one CAN “knit something for that”!

  47. As for the temptation to do baby booties…you can do little socks instead. They go so quick and you can use up those left over bits of sock yarn! Cast on 34 stitches, do a little 1×1 rib for however long you like (longer if you want a cuff). The heel is 1.25 to 1.5 inches long (yes, goofy American).
    I’ve actually started doing all my baby things out of sock yarn because it is so pretty, usually the right weight, and it is washable!

  48. Oooh, my baby was a pumpkin one year and a tiger later. Made out of flannel. Almost melted in the Texas Indian summer.
    And then there’s the Gay Pride Halloween take on things… my favorite was a guy all in brown (probably NOT sweats 🙂 with condoms stuck everywhere…. a rubber tree….
    Your baby hat is cuter than I think my tea cozy could possibly be.

  49. Stephanie,
    It is just the season. Two days ago, I was accosted by the owner of the restaurant where I eat breakfast sometimes. She threw down one cut out, very messed up sleeve that had been sewn together and ripped apart several times . She screamed “Help!!! Fix that!” and was off to wait on other customers. Later she admitted that she hadn’t sewn in 20 years. I looked at the one instruction sheet that she was following and discovered that the instructions were absolutely wrong and completely backwards for the sleeve! No wonder once a year sewers have problems! Simplicity patterns are the worst. Just remember to keep telling yourself….”It’s not me. The instructions are wrong.” You’ll be just fine. It will all be over on Monday! Don’t answer this. Go back to sewing! Good Luck!

  50. My 13yo daughter and 4 of her friends were trying to figure out what to be for Halloween when I jokingly said “wear boxes painted to look like dice and you can all yell Yahtzee instead of trick or treat”. Expecting “yeah, right Mom” I was surprised to hear instead a moment of stunned silence. Today, my daughter and I picked up packing boxes from my friend’s pottery store. Tomorrow is the painting party. (I still have to make my 10yo’s black cloak, tho I’m using polar fleece to elimimate hems. My 4yo is wearing a chicken costume I found on clearance at Old Navy. I don’t think I want to know what my college age daughters are wearing!)

  51. Years ago for Halloween my male hairdresser was wearing a yellow tights and a baggy sack/tunic type thing made of egg yolk yellow cotton jersey. Inside the tunic thing was a bunch of blown-up balloons and a logo hand printed on the chest and back. What was he? A bag of M&Ms.

  52. Years ago for Halloween my male hairdresser wore yellow tights and a longer than knee-length baggy sack/tunic type thing made of egg yolk yellow cotton jersey. On the chest and back were hand lettered a famous logo; inflated balloons of various colors were stuffed inside the sack. What was he? A bag of M&Ms.

  53. Well, I had to laugh at that one. You see, I AM a sewing Mom, making most of my childrens’ clothing, sometimes even bathing suits and definitely all sleepwear. I was at my local Fabricland just last night and saw many of the non-sewing crowd milling about. However, most of the ones last night were college girls from Fanshawe college down the road. All asking the poor maligned sales staff (who are all experienced sewers) all manner of inane questions. These sales women have a ton of patience! I just quietly went by and got the supplies for one dracula cape and one cape thingy because we don’t know what else to do to look like Cruella de Vil. (besides the black and white hair, that is). I love the sewn costumes I’ve made over the years (humpty dumpty, tigger, spider man, a dinosaur, ice maiden, fairy princess…..). They last for years, so they turn into dress up clothes, instead of falling apart like the plasticky ones buy for $19.99. Usually they fall apart during the kindergarten dress up day before Hallowe’en! I’m actually a little disappointed I’m only doing some simple capes for mine this year, but feel satisfied since I made a really cool spider costume for a 5 year-old – it was complete with the 4 ‘extra’ legs he’d need to make 8, and also had 8 ‘eyes’ on the hood.

  54. Too add to the nightmare, my daughter came home after I had taken all morning to do a lined contrasting bodice and flounce sleeves to scream that she didn’t like it and wanted me to change it. I pray that there is a vaccine to innoculate me against this virus next year. I hear Kmart has some cute costumes…any liquour???

  55. Well I have the opposite problem. I voluntarily make elaborate costumes for my godchildren and they reject them in favor of their Target gear. I hear tell the flower fairy will make an appearance this year…

  56. My easiest costume was the year where I dressed normally and attached a sign saying “cleverly disguised as a responsible adult”.
    Not the most fun, but the easiest. 😉

  57. Sorry… I pulled the sewing machine out ONE time for Halloween. That was enough. My kids rummage through the dress up box (second hand store finds, old bridesmaid’s dresses and the like) or I head out to Value Village! Or, if I am realllllly lucky, they will choose to wear a ‘used’ handmade with love costume made by my Martha Stewart-like sister..
    Love the hat!

  58. My mom had a strict no-bought costumes rule. But she didn’t sew, so it forced us to be really creative. Now I don’t want to buy costumes for my son, but I don’t sew either so I live in fear every Halloween that I’ll have to learn how to sew or have to spend hours and hours making his costume. This year the boy told me he wanted to be Shaggy from Scooby-Doo. Big green t-shirt, baggy brown pants and black shoes. All done. God bless him.

  59. One more: dress all in yellow and glue or sew plastic house flies all over: flypaper. My cousin told me that one and I stole it and wore it to work one year.
    Now I work part time in a party store (right now it’s a Hallowe’en store) and I sell those prefab costumes. That stuff is crapola, and it’s not cheap. And surely your kids don’t want to look like all the other kids; I know there will be about a thousand Freddy Kruegers at my door this year and I probably dressed half of them.

  60. Harlot –
    I can’t believe you would waste good yarn and swatches by hot glue gunning them to a child… this sounds completely unlike you. What sounds more, is the idea that somehow pinning unfinished sweaters (*cough* entrelac socks) to someone would mean you wouldn’t have to finish ’em.
    You can’t fool me!

  61. When I was little, my mother used to do the family theme costumes. One year, I was Dorothy, she was the Cowardly Lion, my brother was the Scarecrow, and my dad was the Tin Man. My dad made his costume himself; it had sheet tin legs, a silver-painted trash can, and all sorts of other cool things. Unfortunately, we went to the Maryland Science Center Halloween party around then, and he couldn’t sit to watch the IMAX show. Instead, he stood in the aisle as the ushers nervously whispered about how he was a violation of the fire code– he couldn’t get down the stairs with any speed and was taking up a good bit of room wearing a trash can. We’ve gotten a lot of wear out of the lion costume too.
    Another year, we were Maid Marian, Friar Tuck, Little John, and Robin Hood. Then my brother started getting ambitious, and I got into historical clothes.
    For seventh grade, I was Melanie Wilkes from Gone With the Wind, complete with hoopskirt (borrowed from our choir director). I wore that costume every year in high school as well, even using the skirt to demonstrate torque in Physics.
    This year, I have two costumes: a regency woman for my teaching job and Manet’s Nana for a Halloween party. The regency dress, shift, and corset are all entirely handsewn; this was the big project I did over the summer to keep myself from going mad with worry over being unemployed. The other costume, since it’s late Victorian, I’m letting myself use the sewing machine on. There’s still a lot of handwork on it, though; I’m handmaking the eyelets on the corset and need to hem the chemise. (Yes, I’m still underemployed; how did you guess?)
    There’s more about the costumes on my sewing blog:

  62. I would like to add, though, that the dress you’re making is more complicated than either of my costumes was, and I bow to your bravery in doing it; I hate setting in sleeves, especially ones as slim and beautiful as those. This looks like it will be stunning.
    (And don’t elf princesses need to wear thrummed mittens?)

  63. My days of trying to figure out what costume to make or buy for my son are over. WooHoo! He’s 22. I really do miss dressing up with him and getting my own candy. I’m a candy NUT!!! Happy Halloween! BOO!

  64. My husband, who has a weird sense of humor for a 54 year old guy, says the highway idea is great, but you need to improve it for kids. He suggests accidents, smashed cars, an ambulance with flashing lights, dead bodies with ghosts coming out of them, blood all over. I suppose you could add some road kill as well. Some poor dead skunk on the road. And little trees and shrubs on the side of the road. Oh, I think its a wonderful idea! If I ever get forced into a Halloween party, I’ll use it. (I gave Jim’s url instead of mine, it will give you a lot of insight into his strange mind.)

  65. How about this one:
    Wear a slip, and a sign that says “Freud”, and go as – wait for it – a Freudian Slip. Grooaaan.

  66. My son has been making his costume Judge Dredd for weeks, I am refusing to help this year as he is such a perfectionist. So after weeks of papier mache (helmet)and cardboard (shoulderpads) he has decided its not good enough and is going to start something new. I am still keeping out of it,he has his own sewing machine, though I did supervise the raiding of the fabric stash, the fact there is a lot does not mean anyone can use it!
    I would love to be making a princess dress and that is a very cute baby hat.

  67. Steph,
    For the easy LOTR princess look–go to the thrift store, find a stretchy velour dress with princess seams (the ones that run down the frontsides), and the largest women’s sparkly, satin, or silk blouse you can find. Cut off the sleeves of the blouse, turn them upside-down (caps are now cuffs) and glue them partway up the sleeves of the dress. (you may need to cut off part of the dress sleeve). Cut out the middle panel of the dress, and use the panel as a guide to make a new panel out of the blouse fabric. If the back of the blouse has a yoke with a pleat, that will look great. You may need to piece together with another part of the blouse. You might want to make the new center panel wider than the original panel too. Buy yards and yards (and yards) of trim and glue it over the seams, and sleeve cuffs. Stand back and blush modestly when your daughter wins a prize at a costume contest. And USE A GLUE GUN!
    Have made many costumes, hardest was Sonic the Hedgehog(yet another video game character), easiest was Super Mario (the king of all video game characters, according to my son).
    This year, I’ve been out of town the last 11 days, so haven’t been able to work on any costumes yet. But found out my old box of costumes traveled to my middle daughter’s play practice, and some will be making their stage debut tonight!
    Just bought the ultimate glue gun at jo-ann’s fabrics, and am trying to figure out how to turn a pale blue size 8 women’t bridesmaid dress into the personification of Winter for my short stick-thin 11 year old. Or maybe I should just do the wash that’s accumulated over the last 11 days….
    Thanks for the laughs Stephanie, your blog has been of great cheer, and Rheinbeck sweater, like the Red Sox–RULE!

  68. several ideas (some of them not mine unfortunately)
    1. take a bunch of brown acryllic yarn and make a gigantic pom pom that goes all the way to the floor and tack it onto a stocking cap. you are now Cousin It. (my most envious moment when I knew my best friend had the best costume in 3rd grade)
    2. take a posterboard and stick letters and make yourself a library overdue card (saw that one on a library website I frequent. She even made it out to “Jerry Seinfeld” like the overdue episode)
    3. this one is mine: wear your girl scout or girl guide uniform. Also works for band uniforms.
    4. Borrow your father’s tux and wear it with a red tie = pee wee herman (college costume for me)
    5. wear silk pajamas and carry a teddy bear. also put hair in pigtails. (also college costume with the added benefit of not having to get up early to get ready for class)
    I think the dress you made is beautiful. and the sheepy mug is just like mine!! I drink out of it every morning. Amy Boogie’s stuff is the best.

  69. you clever harlot. I like the road idea. boys would totally go for that. I have a girl who shuns the sewn costume and wanted the 35 yes that was thirty-five dollar barbie princess and the pauper ren fest dress. we bought it with half her money and half mine.
    My auntie for YEARS begged all 4 of us to be a PICKLE…no one quite understood how the said pickle would be constructed I think we were all a bit afraid of her halloween spirit. Not one of us for over 20 years has accepted her offer. Now she’s got a whole new crop..the grandniece and the grandkids…someone is bound to come out green.
    A pickle. I probably would go as one now just to satisfy the old girl.

  70. I am Heather’s sister (the one who was mercilessly pressured to be a PICKLE)… and she’s right. Every single year, we were all pressured, promised bribes, etc. if just one of us would dress as a pickle just once. I’m happy to report that NONE of us ever went as a pickle.
    I must tell you, Harlot, that I started my son’s wizard costume LAST YEAR. It was my first sewing project, ever. I gave up half way through because of my failure to figure out the “Sewing pattern for Dummies.” We broke down & bought a costume for him. I pulled it out again this year to finish it. I enlisted help from a friend only to have her inform me that the pattern was printed incorrectly! Luckily, I had cut the size way too big for him last year, so it fits my sweet almost-two-year-old this year.

  71. Years ago for Halloween I cut the word “DAY” out of red construction paper and pinned it on my shirt. I was a “Red Letter Day”. Have to admit that I got a bit tired of explaining what my costume meant.

  72. Not only will you get to make Halloween costumes for your kids, but when they get into the high shcool plays, you can make costumes for cast members. Just finished a 12 piece fitted jacket with notched collar, made up from 4 different patterns. Don’t ask if it fit! What fun.

  73. One year my husband & I went as Mulder & Scully. He wore a suit, I wore a black pants suit, and we printed out FBI badges from the web and clipped them to our clothes. I did dye my hair red, and we carried huge flashlights to shine around (although, alas, they were not the 10,000 watt flashlights that M&S always seemed to have on the X-Files).
    Other ideas:
    The tried and true flower: cut a flower shape out of foam board with a hole in the middle for your face. Attach ribbon to either side of the hole and tie behind your head. Paint your face yellow (for a daisy) or brown (brown-eyed Susan), etc. Dress in green.
    Take a latex glove (or a kitchen glove) and inflate it. Tie off the wrist end, so it’s like a balloon. Tie the thumb to a headband and put it on your head (so there are 4 fingers sticking out sideways, and you are at the bottom). Dress in green. You are – a green thumb. Carry a plant.
    Or go whole hog and sew yourself a costume. That’s what I did this year- and it doubled as a Renaissance Festival costume. For this year and years to come, hopefully. I also wound up with pieces left over… something about a stabilizer. Luckily, the costume seemed plenty stable to me.

  74. Okay, another no so (or very little sew) costume – one of my all time favorites.
    Gray top and pants – preferrably a slightly oversized type in a dark gray. Take miniature trees, plastic farm animals, toy cars, and attach securly to top with a 2 to 4 inch length of thread at random intervals. Tease hair for wildness – add leaves for windblown look if desired. When asked about costume – twirl around – you’re a tornado!

  75. White tee shirt with the letter “P” on it in. Use eye liner to paint one eye black. What are you?
    A black eyed pea.
    Friend just won a contest with that one.

  76. No sew prize winner: wear green and the cut out letters “n” and “v”. Do I have to spell it out?
    Kendra, kwim

  77. I knit a ladybug hat (from a Zoe Mellor book) for my 3yo daughter and found ladybug wings at Old Navy, add black turtleneck and tights. My son wore tiger jam jams and I knit him (also Zoe Mellor) a tiger hat.
    My favorite as a adult is to wrap myself in aluminum foil and go as a leftover.

  78. The last time I dressed up, I wore a black turtleneck, a long black skirt, Thai silk scarf, a large “ethnic” print shawl, and very large earrings. Slathered on the black eyeliner and spiked up my short hair: community college art instructor. People at the party would ask and when I told, many recalled an art instructor from their past who dressed that way.

  79. i’ve been lurking for some time, and i had to chime in…
    i’m 22 & i wanted my husband & i to go as a “dysfunctional 1950s married couple,” but he diverged & became the “coke-addicted math professor,” complete with bag of flour & folded up sports page. here i am in a long herringbone skirt, pearl earrings, and a cardigan. what do i, with a b.a. in english tell people i am? sylvia plath. when they ask “who?” because they are frightfully undereducated in the realm of original chick lit, i say “your mom.” it goes over well.

  80. All you non-sewers—think FELT. No hemming. Glues easily. Bright colours. Folds in nifty ways.

  81. As a mom of five boys, I’ve made tons of costumes (including a stegosaurus, complete with four pounds of fiberfil in in the spines – that costume won a lot of prizes!) However, they are in the 18-28 year old range now, so it has been a while, and I really miss it. Yes, I miss the ungodly hours, the sewing marathons, the cursing, pins in my fingers, tears (mine!), kids changing their minds a dozen times in two weeks, all of it. I guess I need grandchildren now!

  82. My daughter is in college and I miss having to make her costumes. Here are some of my favorites:
    potted plant (idea from the Detroit Free Press): very large faux terra-cotta plastic pot, bottom cut out; green ribbon for straps, attached through holes punched in front and back edges of pot; green turtleneck and if you’re lucky, green tights; felt leaves and flowers tacked to shoulders
    M&M: giant posterboard circle covered in felt with white letters glued on; attached with pins or straps or whatever you like
    self-portrait: buy a cheap medium-size frame and staple or tack a piece of cardboard to its back; examine child’s face and draw slightly larger than life-size corresponding shape on cardboard; cut out shape; insert child’s face in face hole; attach elastic a la mask; child can draw/color neck and shoulders below face hole

  83. I *just* remembered this, but one year my mom knit my sister and I sweaters that matched the butterfly costumes she made us. She sewed us very simple tunics, made wings, and then we each had a little coordinating wool pullover so we could stay warm, without wearing our coats underneath our butterfly tunic/bodies. I hope she still has them tucked away.

  84. I didn’t read all 87 preceding comments, so this might already suggested, is so, sorry.
    When my daughter was small I used one-piece flannel pjs for the basis of her Halloween costumes. All I had to add were the distinguishing features to a little hood-shaped cap, add whiskers with eyeliner, etc. She was a cute pink kitten one year, the tail stayed on the pjs afterward and she was a kitten every few days for a while. The hood, made from matching felt, had little pink ears. The next year she was a devil…red pjs, red felt hood with pointy ears, a forked tail, and a slip-covered yard stick as a kid-sized fork. Easy, warm, easy for the kid to walk, nothing much obscuring the vision.

  85. I did knit my costume this year. I crocheted a skull cap and then picked up 4 stitches at a time and knit I cord for anywhere between 10-12 inches. I then put a wire through the I cord and posed each one to look like a writhing snake. I added some iridescent beads for eyes and voila, I was Medusa. I ended up with 20 or more snakes on my head and each snake had it’s own expression, depending on where the eyes were placed. I just wore a black dress with a whitened face and the hat. I actually have worn the hat a few different places leading up to Halloween. I suppose I should put it away now, at least until the family Christmas celebration!

  86. hello
    the baby hat is so cute and the colours like a rainbow very nice..
    the patter of the hat that you given below is it
    the baby hat?
    sorry by that just my english sometime i do not understand all..
    see you

  87. I admit to being horribly politically incorrect this year. I wore a salwar kameez that a friend had brought back from India, and when anyone in my IT department asked what I was, I said “Outsourced”. However, it seemed to amuse everyone, including all my Indian co-workers. Might have to borrow the One Nightstand idea for next year… got to get away from the IT geek humor. (Last year I got a fishing net, stapled colored dots to it, and went as ‘.NET’. Only geeks would get that one. Never even got a thanks from Microsoft!)

  88. I am SO late on the comment bandwagon but I wanted to let you know that I had to get a child ready in a very easy no sew costume. He went as a trashbag. We cut armholes and headholes into a trashbag and glued actual trash onto him. Done.
    BTW the dress turned out great.

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