Belated Halloween Post.

I have always had a soft spot for Halloween, the holiday celebrating the date of my birth, but now that I have costume-aged children I like it even more, and the fact that it is my birthday feels almost incidental, the cherry on top of an already delicious sundae. (I would really like a sundae now, incidentally. Note to self: choose less appealing metaphors.)

Simone talked about being a clown for Halloween for actual MONTHS, never wavering in her choice. Clowns depressed and embarrassed me terribly as a child, and I am glad Simone is a less whatever child than I was, and is able to find clowns simply funny, as their clown college no-doubt intended.

I think she turned out to be the best, clowniest clown ever.

My Halloween costume strategy (apparently I have a Halloween costume strategy), employed to great effect last year as well, is to buy a few cheap accessories and assemble the rest of the costume out of either a) clothes we already own OR, more usually, b) clothes that can be incorporated into a daily wardrobe. I have found this VERY satisfying: there is little or no costume construction time, yet it is gives a pleasing homemade/creative feel, also it is a way to combine two necessary tasks, i.e. Halloween costuming and buying new, warmer things. Last year, when Simone was a pirate, I bought a cheap hat and eyepatch at Target, along with a belt, boots, and a coat. The belt and hat were incorporated into general dress up play, while the boots became Simone’s winter boots (until the zipper broke). She wore pants and a striped shirt she already had. The coat was the one failure, as it was bought to serve double duty as pirate coat and general fall coat, but was later deemed unbearably itchy. Here she is last year, in case you have forgotten.

This year, I bought a wig, clown nose, clown shoes, and a package of cheap Halloween makeup–altogether less than $20 on Amazon (and the wig, like the pirate hat, will surely get plenty of play use–you will recall that Simone had requested one), and then added a cardigan, turtleneck, gloves, and tights that filled holes in Simone’s fall wardrobe and that she will now be able to wear to school, along with a dress that she will also be able to wear to school, though it was not really NEEDED in the way the other things were (but Hanna Andersson sale, you know how it is).

As I type this all out it is starting to sound faintly ridiculous, in that I could certainly spend much less money by simply buying a pre-made costume–or making one, for that matter. But my way is so much fun, and if it is not ACTUALLY thrifty it certainly gives a pleasant illusion of thrift. Similarly, if it is not ACTUALLY homemade I do still get to think up and plan the costume (no small feat, given Simone’s exceedingly demanding specifications). And there is something very annoying to me about buying a costume Simone will only wear once versus a turtleneck, etc. that she will probably wear a whole bunch of times and then pass down to Twyla.

Twyla, by the way, was a fox. Hers WAS a pre-made Halloween costume ($15 on sale at Carter’s!) but she has been wearing the fleecy pants as regular pants, and the fox hoodie will make a cozy fall/spring coat, so there you are.

The best part of the day pre-Trick-or-Treating was volunteering in Simone’s classroom. There were several centers set up for the children to rotate through, and I manned one of the math tables, leading small groups in a review of patterns. Amusingly, Simone had told seemingly everyone that it was my birthday, and each time I was introduced to a new child as Simone’s Mom, I got an excited “OH! TODAY IS YOUR BIRTHDAY!” (In fact, when I signed in at the office one of the assistants wished me a happy birthday as well, so Simone obviously spread the news quite generously throughout the school.)

Also exciting was the fact that Simone had lost her first tooth the day before.

When I say she lost it I mean this quite literally: the tooth had been hanging gruesomely by a thread for ages and then it must have fallen out at recess. Simone couldn’t find it and there was much sturm und drang until her lovely teacher assured her that such things happen all the time and helped write an explanatory note to the Tooth Fairy, which Simone dutifully put under her pillow that evening. Imagine my surprise when Simone woke in the morning to find money and return correspondence (actually, she woke at 1:15 a.m., waving the Tooth Fairy’s letter and whispering wildly at me, but I told her to go back to sleep and we’d read it later). She didn’t doubt the letter’s veracity (I disguised my handwriting, you see), but has had questions about what the Tooth Fairy does with all those teeth. I told her that nobody really knows, though some speculate that she makes them into jewelry, or perhaps uses them for tooth-related research, as they give her access to a vast and diverse population of pediatric teeth.

Lastly, here are two brief videos, included because I truly think it is necessary to see the tail (Twyla) and shoes (Simone) in action.

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  1. Sonya says:

    That totally counts as home-made costumes. I love them. Well, actually, clowns terrify me but I can just about manage to watch online, given the cuteness of the shoes. I can’t believe how well Twyla is walking and how grown-up big girl Simone is.

  2. Emily says:

    That is a fabulous clown costume! And Twyla is a perfectly adorable fox.

    We have a similar philosophy with costumes at our house. My Middle was Madeline this year which was perfect for such a costume. We already had the blue coat, I bought her a white blouse and blue school uniform jumper (cheap on ebay!) that she will be able to wear as her actual school uniform next year. She needed a nice black pair of Mary Jane’s for winter shoes anyway and then we bought a straw hat, tied a red bow around it and called it done. She was very cute and it was also very comfortable for her to walk around in.

    When she was a 1 year old she had a tiger costume from Carter’s which looks a lot like the fox costume of Twyla’s. I had her were the orange and black striped fleecy pants from that costume all winter long as “regular” pants (much to my husband’s chagrin as he thought they were way to tacky for everyday wear).

  3. tree town gal says:

    OK, to see these healthy, hilariously happy beautiful girls… I am just so delighted you are still sharing them with your adoring fans who have been around through the tears… thank you…
    Fabulous costuming, by the way.

  4. jenni says:

    Ha! the Tail! the Shoes! those are just adorable! videos! Perfect film angle.

    My daughter is nine and found two small teeth in my nightstand this past week… she must have pulled the drawer out with some gusto and the wee bitty teeth slide from their hiding place at the very back. I feigned horror and surprise at TEETH in my drawer and did such a good job, she never once even mentioned the Tooth Fairy and her perhaps lack of existence. I am not ready for this part of childhood to end and love the willing suspension of disbelief they have now.

    Your girls are so sweet, I love the clown suit and your crafty/thrifty costumes. Clowns always creeped me out, but Simone pulls it off the way a clown SHOULD look!

  5. Jackie says:

    Ah, I think I need to copy this Hallow-strategy. Mine is to buy whatever pre-made thingy my four year old asks for (Disney princess) and then slap on some tights, depending on the weather. The thriftiness comes in when I resell the monstrosity on eBay, continuing the cycle of life. It’s like an Internet book swap, for Rapunzel wigs.

  6. HereWeGoAJen says:

    These are some of the best costumes ever.

    I’ve heard that the tooth fairy uses the teeth to build her castle. Which is gross when you think about it as an adult but sounds lovely and sparkly as a child.

  7. LL says:

    I saw your Tweet about Simone wanting a uke for Christmas (I’m not on Twitter so can’t reply there)- my daughter got a uke for her birthday this spring, and is taking lessons at school. She’s not the least bit fazed by other kids asking how she shrunk her guitar, and is currently learning the James Bond theme. I guess they are early quite easy to learn, at least as easy as a recorder.

    There’s really nothing like a small Muppet serenading the household with a ukulele.

  8. Brooke says:

    I do the same things with costumes! I hate, hate, hate those cheap premade things (though once my MIL bought my boys, who love dress up, about 100 (not exaggerating) costumes at a Kmart 90% off after Halloween sale. It was their Christmas gift that year and was literally wrapped in giant trash bags. If you ask them, that was their best Christmas ever) so I try to incorporate real clothes as costumes. One year the twins were Indiana Jones and Mutt Williams from the last Indiana Jones movie. It was epic! Skinny jeans, white T shirt, awesome leather jacket off eBay, that was worn for almost 3 years. Indiana was khaki pants and a button up shirt that I dyed with tea to get that good dirt look, lol, and a brown leather jacket. Those costumes were my favorite ever and got SO much use :)

  9. Jennifer says:

    I have a similar approach to costuming. Although the elements of our costumes aren’t always able to be used into everyday wear, I tend to have ‘home made’ costumes rather than ‘store bought’. Maybe its a Minnesota trait? Actually, my costume designs have more to do with “it must be able to be worn with warm clothes under it and not mar the idea behind the costume” because, well, you know, Minnesota can have snow on Halloween. So we have been a red angry bird, Perry the Platypus, Peter rabbit (since my sons name is Peter and he was 3 at the time). This year my 8 year old wanted to be a NASCAR driver (where he got this from is beyond me as me and my husband are not into NASCAR … but there you go). we bought one of those obnoxious NASCAR shirts, and used his own clothes under it, and pants. And a baseball hat that says ‘chevy racing’. My husband did make a steering wheel as a prop but hes good at that. and it was an awesome costume.
    Your costumes rock! Love them. :-)

  10. Jill says:

    I forgot to mention Dexter. That was little Caligula and Elizabeth Bathory’s (my special snowflakes) favorite TV show. They called him “the silly man,” and were very sorry to see the series end.
    “No more silly man wrapping people in plastic and cutting them up?” They sobbed piteously. I said no, the silly man show was all over.
    Caligula said, “When I grow up, I want to be a silly man, just like Dexter.”
    “And I’m gonna be a silly lady,” Elizabeth Battery chimed in.
    They’re such little sweeties!

  11. I don’t know if I’ve ever loved anything more than that little fox tail, wagging back and forth. Although Simone The Clown certainly comes in a tight second. She looks so LUMINOUS and so very happy. As clowns should (rather than being creepy, as they are wont to do).

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