As a child, I put very little forethought into Halloween costume ideas, until a few days before when suddenly the idea of impending free candy struck me as a Very Good Thing. Then, suddenly, a costume was of critical importance. Luckily, my mom had a pretty foolproof plan.
Step 1: Put On Your Pants
When I inevitably came to her in a panic about my costumeless state, she reminded me that I just had to answer one question: bunny or cat? I was a bunny or a cat for Halloween more times than I care to admit. Suffice to say, it was a lot.
The standby costume consisted of store bought ears and a tail, paired with either a white turtleneck & white pants, or black turtleneck and black pants – depending on which animal I chose. My mom would then wield her expertise in face paint and voilà, I was out the door with my Strawberry Shortcake pillowcase to fill with free candy!
That’s me, on the right, looking like a bunny caught in the headlights. On the left is my childhood friend Melissa, who must’ve borrowed the costume I chose not to wear that year. Pants and turtlenecks for everyone!
A Family Tradition
Now that I have a child of my own, I’m really looking forward to making family holiday memories with her. At 15 months, she’s too young to really understand Halloween and costumes (and free candy!), but I didn’t want that to stop us from having fun. So while she’s still young enough to be unable to protest too much, I figured I could pick what I wanted her costume to be. I could’ve bought any myriad of store-bought costumes (this peacock costume is friggin’ ADORABLE!), but I decided to continue the grand tradition of a semi-homemade costume.
Choosing my daughter’s costume was a no-brainer. Among her first words were “dog” and “woof”, and she absolutely loves our dog, Lulu. The question was – where do I start? Here’s our inspiration:
D’awwwww. Cute, right?
A key piece of the puzzle was to make the costume something that my active, rambunctious toddler would actually deign to wear for any length of time. That means nothing too uncomfortable or restricting. Oh, AND it had to be warm, because it’s been pretty darn cold lately.
First, I sketched out my general idea, trying to keep Lulu’s key characteristics in mind: one ear up, grey fuzziness, and a long waggy tail. Obviously, I won’t be auditioning for Project Runway anytime soon, but it gave me something to go on.
After a few quick shopping trips to Target, Michael’s, and a totally crazy, packed and awesome craft store in Arlington Center called Play Time, I set to work.
The base of the costume is a grey hoodie. I approximated a shape for the ears, and hand sewed two pieces of black fur together, then turned them right-side-out. I sewed wire inside the left ear to make it stand up like Lulu’s. I put fur trim around the inside front of the hood, and the arm cuffs. I used a double-length of extra large pipe cleaner to make the tail stick out, and covered it in cream-colored fur (Lulu is tricolored: black, grey, and cream).
Then, following family tradition, I paired it with some sweat pants and some black face paint. Altogether, I’m pretty pleased with the result. Is it an extra replica of Lulu? No, not even close. But the spirit is there, and it certainly doesn’t hurt to have such an adorable subject.
Next year, she may have some ideas of her own about what her Halloween costume should be. But we all know that it’ll involve pants, facepaint, and if she’s lucky – a turtleneck.