Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Halloween Costumes Through the Years

Celeste's 1st Halloween, 2007

Our family has always enjoyed theme-ing (is that a word?) our costumes for Halloween. Sometime around early September (if I'm lucky) or early October (not so lucky) we decide what we want our theme to be for the year. I then begin the hunt for appropriate items from our own stash, local thrift shops, and with friends and start assembling a "costume pile" for everyone. 

As the time crunch approaches and there are items that I cannot locate it comes down to having to sew, glue, or otherwise finagle them from materials on hand. I thought it might be fun to share a look at how they have come together over the years.

Little Red Riding Hood, 2009
Okay, so that first Halloween I just wanted to make my little girl all pink and pretty. We wanted to do "the Princess and the Pea" and daddy was going to be a mattress and mommy was going to be a pea, but in the end all we had was a princess and a couple of worn-out first Halloween parents.

2009 worked out a bit better with daddy wearing a homemade "wolf suit" (that now does service as an occasional dress up item for "On the night Max wore his wolf suit and made mischief of one kind, and another..." ) and mommy in her "granny" outfit, and a simple, adorable Little Red Riding Hood.

I cannot seem to locate my 2010 photo, our last Halloween together. We were The Wizard of Oz. Daddy had a full Cowardly Lion costume, Celeste was Dorothy of course, Mommy was the Scarecrow, and little Ethan joined us for his first Halloween as To To, complete with black furry costume and was carried around in a picnic basket (since he weighed a hefty 5 lbs at that time), in which he slept the whole time.

The Wizard of Oz, 2011 (plus a friend's ninja)
2011 marked the first Halloween without Andrew. I was really feeling overwhelmed. I wasn't even sure I wanted to do Halloween much less worry about themes. But we had just watched Alice in Wonderland and it was still fresh in our heads as we approached that time. The costumes seemed simple enough and so it was very last minute to throw it all together. Celeste, of course, is Alice. Ethan was the White Rabbit (more out of a need to use materials on hand and keep him warm since he'd been ill, than because of his own choice.)  He even had a little pocket watch. I was the Queen of Hearts of course.

The Incredibles, 2012
In 2010, before Andrew passed, we had decided that we were going to theme as the Incredibles the next year. It was a tough decision to do it without him, particularly since his "fit" as Mr. Incredible was so perfect, but Celeste was still very hung up on the Incredibles and overall I was feeling pretty Elastigirl myself in managing to hold it all together, and Ethan was excited to be "Dash", so in 2012 we went ahead and did the Incredibles.

The next year we were hung up on Dr. Seuss and wanted to do something from his works but I talked it over with Celeste and she didn't really like "The Cat & The Hat" (which would have seemed like a natural fit). Instead she wanted to use her favorite story about the Sneetches. Now trying to make a "sneetch" was probably one of the more difficult costuming challenges I've faced. Not only is it not a super popular story like some of the other Seuss stories, but Sneetches aren't even human! Only those familiar with Dr. Seuss recognized what we were, but we did win accolades at the Homeschool Character costume contest. :) I used 6 yards of bright yellow fabric and these are the first costumes that we've ever done that were 100% homemade.

Star-Bellied Sneetches, 2013
Civil War Re-Enactment, October 2013
These were during the same time period, but were not for Halloween, though admittedly I considered "cheating" and using them for both. It certainly would have been easier considering I was making TWO sets of costumes at the same time! These were our Civil War Reenactment costumes. We go to a 3 day long reenactment about an hour away every fall to watch the battle, learn some history, speak with the actors, and visit a beautiful part of Kentucky along the Mississippi river. Every year I've eyed the other visitor's and actor's costumes and thought "some day I am going to make some of those" and finally just decided this was the year. What initiated it was finding this hideous dark blue 1980's vintage long prom dress at a local thrift shop that week on sale for $3. I could just SEE it reborn as a Civil War era gown! 

Peter Pan with Kent, 2014
In 2014 I was introduced to Kent, my best friend's uncle, at a family barbecue to celebrate her graduation from college in July. Since that time he has become a wonderful part of both mine and my children's lives. That first Halloween together he readily agreed to dress up with us so that we could do a full Peter Pan cast. He was Captain Hook, Celeste was Tinkerbell, Ethan was John Darling, and I was Peter Pan. (Hey, in the early days Peter Pan was always played by a woman!)

Inside Out with Kent, 2015
This year (2015) the movie that stuck with the kids was Inside Out. Celeste just HAD to be Joy, and Anger was a perfect fit for Ethan. Once again Kent joined us as Fear, and I must admit I thoroughly enjoyed being Disgust. The costumes were fairly easy with adaptations to ready-made items except for mine. Apparently they do not make plain green dresses for women. So I used a pattern that I had on hand and actually sewed my own dress from scratch. I was pretty pleased with myself as I HATE sewing clothing from complex patterns, until I went to put it on and the darn thing wouldn't zip! I had to rip out seams and add some additional fabric to get it to go on - oh well... another year down - I wonder what's next?!


  1. Awesome! I might have to do something creative next year :)

  2. Themes are great! I always want to do them, but for some reason it never happens, haha :)

  3. Themes are great! I always want to do them, but for some reason it never happens, haha :)

  4. So many adorable costumes and ideas! I love that you do it as a family!

  5. Your costumes are great! I wish I could sew like you do! But then I would have to buy your things on Etsy, so that's ok!