Friday, October 25, 2013

Why Handmade: Homemade Halloween Costumes

by Lynn Mohney of Prunella’s Workshop

The Mohney Children go to Davis Farmland; Costumes by Roberta Burkey

The golden full moon hangs high and large in the big dark cloudy sky. Leaves of amber, gold, and rust crunch beneath the tiny pitter-patter of feet. The crisp cool autumn air is filled with excited anticipation for witches, goblins, and sweets. Child-like imaginations are filled with ideas of vampires and zombies.

That’s right. Halloween is back.

Liz of Lush Beads goes trick or treating as a pirate, with a hat and eye patch made by her mother; photo courtesy of Liz Stewart

With Halloween, comes the need for the absolutely perfect costume. It is a night where we can become anything, and be anybody. We can hide behind scary masks, or transform into beauties. Amidst store bought costumes that barely replicate Batman or Cinderella, come the requests from our children for more unusual transformations. Really, the only limit is our own imaginations. Boston Handmade members take their costumes very seriously.

Cristina Hurley is up for any challenge presented by her daughter; photo courtesy of Cristina Hurley

For example, last year, my son could not make up his mind between being a wolf or a ninja. My then one-year-old daughter was going to be Little Red Riding Hood. It was a perfect costume for the cool New England weather, as it came with built in warmth; specifically a hand knit red wool cape. Every part of her attire could be worn after Halloween as well, making it practical too. Finally, he chose to be the Ninja Big Bad Wolf; which actually made my life easier. A ninja mask with wolf ears. A ninja outfit, complete with a tail. The best part? A necklace made of teeth and a bag of big eyeballs.

Clockwise from the top: Tinkerbell from Peter Pan; Max from Where the Wild Things Are; The Big Bad Wolf Ninja; Little Red Riding Hood.  Max was created by Roberta Burkey. All others were created by Lynn Mohney of Prunella's Workshop

I won’t lie. I have purchased mass produced children’s costumes. I have even purchased them after Halloween for an extreme discount to allow the kids the opportunity to play dress up. However, I have found them, in my opinion, to be highly commercial and the quality is not there. I have found more value in the costumes we have made. By moving away from store bought costumes, I have found we can move away from the perception of certain characters and still be identified. One can still be a Cinderella fairy tale princess without subscribing to commercialism, which opens the door to so much more imaginative play.

Cinderella of Prunella's Workshop; Costume by Roberta Burkey

Also consider dressing up your children as their favorite literary characters. You can promote reading books at the same time as providing fun for all. Picture books especially can grant you some wonderful ideas.

Costumes by Sharon of Stray Notions; photo courtesy of Sharon Fisher

Costumes can be simple, or quite detailed. Some of the must ingenuous costumes are made from very little and do not require any sewing or artistic ability. For example, one year, as an adult, I wanted to be Tinky Winky from a children’s television show, Teletubbies. I donned a purple velour dress, purple high-top sneakers, an upside down purple hanger on a headband, and a red purse, and I was ready to go. The only thing I purchased was the headband; everything else was in my closet, including the purple hanger. Others in Boston Handmade have gone as broccoli and spinach – green taffeta petticoats, tights, and body suit, green pants and shirt, green face paint and hair spray, organic stickers, and they were ready to go!

Laurie Lynn of Beryllina and her husband are ready for a night on the town; photo courtesy of Laurie Lynn Berezin

What are you going to be for Halloween?

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