Crash Course in Costume Making

Zoey’s first Halloween was her first holiday. I think she was about 5 weeks old. In our sleep-deprived state of new parent enthusiasm, we of course decided she needed to be dressed up in a Zoe Monster from Sesame Street costume. Yeah, good luck finding one of those. So, of course, I had to make it. We started with an actual 0-3 month costume that was the closest thing I could find on short notice to Zoe’s tutu. Then I made some furry arms, hands, and pants out of orange fleece.

You can see how thrilled Zoey was about this idea.

The “tutu” was actually some kind of fairy-flower dress; I’m not really sure exactly what to call it. We ditched the hat that came with it and made a Zoe face on an orange foam visor to finish the costume.

I think this last picture pretty much sums up how both Zoey and I felt about the costume by the end of it. I spent hours making it and I think she wore it for all of about 10 minutes.

So last year I decided to save my sanity and bought a cute, warm costume I stumbled upon at a local children’s consignment shop.

Zoey LOVED it. She had just learned to walk 2 months earlier and could make a pretty convincing elephant sound. She was pretty darn cute and happy as a clam toddling around in this thing.

This year, I have 2 kids to get into costumes. Zach feels that we need to make their costumes each year rather than buy them. I have to agree with this, despite the pressure it puts on me and the fact that it eats up large chunks of my rare moments of free time. Around here it’s just too cold to wear most store-bought costumes, and boy, they are expensive! I just can’t justify $40 for something my toddler may or may not tolerate wearing for an hour, and which will likely just be hidden under a coat anyway.

Earlier this summer Zoey got to hold a ladybug on her finger for a fleeting moment and she has been talking about it ever since (talk about cheap thrills!). So we decided to make her a ladybug costume. When I tried to talk to her about it, she seemed less than thrilled. That is, until we stumbled upon the Ladybug Girl books at our local library. Suddenly, this costume thing didn’t seem like such a bad idea after all.

After a few Pinterest searches I compiled some ideas for how to make the costume and got started. I got a red size small youth’s t-shirt from Jo-Ann Fabrics and started out by trying to tailor it down to a reasonable size for my scrawny two year old. Apparently I was a bit over-zealous with my tailoring. After traumatizing Zoey by trying to get her into a way-too-tight t-shirt (see previous post about how much Zoey likes being restrained or “stuck”), we discovered it was a much better fit for her little stuffed Zebra. Oops. Upon another trip to Jo-Ann’s we found that they were all out of the size small youth’s t-shirts, which meant I had to start with an even bigger shirt. Which meant even more tailoring. This time around I made the shirt a pretty good size, although the area around the armpits bunches funny. Oh well, good enough.

Add in some dollar stores wings and headband, fabric paint spots, black tights and a red skirt I found at Value Village and “Voila!” We have ourselves a ladybug girl!

Not too shabby if I do say so myself. We had a Halloween costume / birthday party yesterday for Zoey and her friends (who were all born during September and October) and got to do a trial run of the costume. Zoey actually wore the whole costume for almost an hour before pieces started being taken off and abandoned around the living room. I’d call that success.

As for Eleanor, well, she got to wear the original costume that had been part of Zoe Monster.

I started laughing so hard when I put her in it that I nearly cried. Poor kid. I promise to put you in a better costume next year. I can’t promise it won’t just be a third-hand elephant.

Have a happy and safe Halloween everybody!

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