04. October 2010 · Comments Off on Halloween 2010: Anything But That Polyester Unitard! · Categories: Uncategorized · Tags: , ,

Halloween is coming! Whoo hoo! I’ve been a bit lazy about the decorations, in part because of the move coming up, in part because I have a couple weeks of work right now and my hours are pretty crazy. Next week I’ll probably put up our ghost decorations…I sold most of our pumpkin stuff at our yard sale. I feel that ghosts need to be my signature Halloween decoration — it keeps me from buying everything I see, that’s for sure!

As usual, in September I ask the boys what they’re interested, and I knew what they were going to suggest: Mario and Luigi! You know, from the Nintendo video games?

And as usual, I rarely end up putting my kids in those commerically available Halloween costumes.  It doesn’t mean I never get them a store-purchased costume, sometimes they want to do something that I couldn’t possibly make on my own.  Last year I bought Jacob the Jengo Fett costume, complete with the battery-operated gun. A few years back I got the Jack Sparrow outfit with which we got lots of use!

However, you can call me elitist, but really it’s that I think part of the fun of Halloween is letting those creative juices flow and scrounging together what you have for a costume.  I enjoy it very much!  I’m very fortunate that my Mom made most of my costumes and did a great job on them!

From 1989.  My Mom made the shirt and skirt.  I wore this in college too!

I have nightmares of those costumes from the 70s and early 80s that were made of plastic and had a picture of what you were representing plastered across your chest.  I think this blog post says it all (I highly encourage clicking on this link, if nothing else…it’s VERY funny!).  Today, you won’t find costumes like that, I think the natives cried foul on wearing Hulk Hogan’s face across your chest.

Halloween 1981 or 1982.  So I was around Jacob’s age here, wow!  I’d rather be a homemade tiger-rabbit hybrid than wear Darth Vader’s face on the front of a plastic costume!

So let’s talk about what’s commercially available for Mario and Luigi, shall we?

Here’s a link to the special Mario and Luigi page at Costume Express, which is a pretty good costume retailer. I usually get coupons in the mail and sometimes the deals get quite good. I don’t mean any disrespect to Costume Express, for sure! They’ve served us well in the past.

But who came up with this?

I’m not a big fan of the polyester unitard at all. Not that they can’t pull off an effective look, but perhaps it’s the principle of the shoddy sewing for the price. Each of those costumes (including the inflatable belly) is retailing for ~$40 + tax. I immediately told myself “I think I can do better than this, for around the same cost!”  After all, Danielle C. of Akron, OH did it last year.

So I mentally inventoried what we’d need:

1. Overalls
2. Red and Green long-sleeved t-shirts
3. Red and Green hats
4. Big bushy moustaches
5. A way to make my boys look fat

Getting #2-4 will be easy. I have the shirts and hats already, and with some felt, I can put the “M” and “L” on the hats. We’re up the street from a huge Halloween costume store, getting bushy moustaches will be no problem either.  If anything, we have plenty of dark brown eyeliner (see the Jack Sparrow picture above).

As for #5, I think some blankets or small pillows will take care of the fat bellies, if we even need to do it.  Maybe not…

So what about the overalls?  Overalls for older boys are rather difficult to come by.  I looked at several kids clothing stores and 5 thrift shops. All. Over. Omaha.

I bid 3 different times on Size 8 overalls on eBay. Was outbid pretty quickly — I didn’t plan to spend more than $15 on a pair of second-hand overalls, but other people were, fine.  On one of the pair I was “sniped” at the last second and lost the bid.

How about new overalls? The most popular model appearing on Google’s shopping application was this fine pair by Carhartt: $48.

How on earth did Danielle C. of Akron, OH just run out to the thrift store and pick up overalls for her kids????

And then a lightbulb went off in my head: HEY! I could SEW their overalls! After all, I can easily get some lightweight denim at $6-8 per yard, get a pattern and some buckles, and be on my way, right?

Not so easy either — I went to Jo-Ann Fabrics, Hancock Fabrics, Hobby Lobby and even Walmart looking for patterns. A web search yielded ONE pattern: Kwik Sew #2427.

No fabric retailers in the area carried this pattern and I found ONE online retailer and I quickly placed an order. I talked to the owner of the retailer and was assured I’d have the pattern by mid-week.  It’s already on its way 🙂

Today at Hobby Lobby I picked up the other materials I needed (with a coupon, of course!). I’m pretty sure I’ve made all the financial investment I need to for this, and my grand total (including the pattern + shipping) stands at about $62.  Much better than the $80 I’d have to pay for polyester unitards.  But less than the $30 Danielle C. of Akron, Ohio claimed to have spent.

I’ll start on this project next week, I’m working for the next 4 days and probably won’t have the pattern ready until Thursday…and the family is taking a camping trip this coming weekend!

I haven’t sewed anything in a while…the last article of clothing I sewed was Jacob’s Mace Windu cape in 2008.  Most of my sewing machine’s workouts have been with sewing patches on Dave and Jacob’s scout uniforms and hemming up/letting down pant legs.

28. October 2009 · 2 comments · Categories: Uncategorized · Tags: , ,

I stole this idea from an NCO I worked with in South Carolina (thanks MSgt B!). She has 5 kids so her 5 pairs of pants across the lawn generated so much buzz last year, it was featured on the front page of the Sumter, SC newspaper Halloween week. I was inspired when I was sorting through the boys “can’t wear it anymore” clothing pile in their closet. Most of the pants are too small, but I happened across two pairs of jeans that were otherwise fine except for the holes in the knees, I knew they couldn’t go anywhere except the trash….


From 2009 10 27 Halloween2009

Anyway, I’ll update this blog a little more later on. There’s lots going on, but nothing earth-shattering.

01. November 2008 · 4 comments · Categories: Uncategorized · Tags: , , , ,

Hello friends…enjoy some pictures from our fun Halloween today. It was a nice balance of fun and not being overwhelmed! Too bad it was in the mid-70s this afternoon and I had purposefully designed all of our costumes for temperatures about 15-25 degrees cooler!

After Jake went off to school, Timmy and I went to the Bellevue Early Childhood Center for a trick or treating experience at their building. Timmy made his debut in his R2D2 costume and it was a big hit…not just with the folks who admired it, but also with Timmy. He seemed comfortable and happy wearing it. Unfortunately, he can’t sit down, but at least it was easy for him to put on and take off…so if he wanted to sit, it wasn’t traumatic for him. Check out Yoda — Yoda’s Mom and I made sure to try to pose the boys together for a cute photo!

From 2008 10 31 Halloween2008

From 2008 10 31 Halloween2008

Timmy and I went to lunch, then the BX and commissary after the trick or treat event…Timmy looked fine in his white sweats, but I still had on my costume and got quite a few comments.

After errands, Timmy went to Alissa’s for about 1 1/2 hours while I went to Jake’s school to see the Halloween parade and help with his class Halloween party. I’m very glad Jake’s school recognizes Halloween and allows the kids to express themselves through their costumes. It was awesome to see the sea of children in their costumes…

From 2008 10 31 Halloween2008

From 2008 10 31 Halloween2008

From 2008 10 31 Halloween2008

Jake is Mace Windu, from Star Wars Episodes I-III (Samuel L. Jackson). Since Mace is bald, Jake and I discussed how to be bald. Our choices: shave his head or come up with a pretend way to be bald, such as a headpiece from a costume store, or else some pantyhose. Jake chose to shave his head…I didn’t shave it all the way, but it was pretty close:

From 2008 10 31 Halloween2008

Jake had a good time at his party, and after school, since it was officially the start of the weekend, I set up the Wii again (it had been put away for a while) and Jake and I knocked out 3 Lego Star Wars chapters this afternoon before dinner! Whoo hoo!

After Dave came home and we had a quick dinner, it was time to suit up again for trick or treating in our neighborhood. It was Dave’s turn to take the boys…and this year, no stroller or wagon! I put my costume back on and stayed home to hand out the candy! I really enjoyed seeing how creative the kids can be…we had so many children come by!

From 2008 10 31 Halloween2008

From 2008 10 31 Halloween2008

From 2008 10 31 Halloween2008

From 2008 10 31 Halloween2008

From 2008 10 31 Halloween2008

Enjoy our pictures and Happy Halloween!

29. October 2008 · Comments Off on The R2D2 Helmet Solution! · Categories: Uncategorized · Tags: , , ,

So we figured out how to keep that wide trashcan lid on Timmy’s head for his R2D2 costume. Thanks to Dave’s Mom (Grammy Vollmer) for the idea:

“As far as Timmy’s helmet–can you take one of his hats, cut off the peak and glue it to the inside of the helmet? Don’t know if this would work or even if it would stay on.”

I searched the house for an old baseball cap that we didn’t mind sacrificing to the hot glue gun, and found a chintzy Las Vegas hat Dave and I won through some geeky hotel promotion.

Instead of cutting off the brim, I simply turned it around and glued it in place. Timmy was thrilled with how comfy his R2 helmet fits him now.

As for pictures, you’ll just have to wait till Halloween 😉

27. October 2008 · 4 comments · Categories: Uncategorized · Tags: , , , ,

So today we just about finished with Timmy’s Halloween costume. You can see the shots of pre-construction from earlier this week here.

Yesterday I painted the top of the trash can chrome-silver and it turned out pretty nice.

From 2008 10 20 R2D2_Costume_Construction

Today ended up VERY windy! Gusts exceeding 50 mph! We ended up having to do the rest of the paint work in the closed garage, and then setting it outside briefly to dry. But the dewpoints were in the single digits today, so it dried in no time at all! Dave took over the masking for the rest of the helmet and he did a really nice job:

From 2008 10 20 R2D2_Costume_Construction
From 2008 10 20 R2D2_Costume_Construction

Meanwhile, I grabbed a pile of multi-colored Sharpies from my craft stash and got to work on the body details. I used this picture of R2D2 as the guide.

From 2008 10 20 R2D2_Costume_Construction

So here’s Timmy modeling what we have so far. I recycled Jacob’s white sweats from his 2006 astronaut costume. The red light on the right side of the helmet is a red safety blinker.

From 2008 10 20 R2D2_Costume_Construction

Help! If anyone knows how I can make Timmy’s helmet look better, please speak now! I’m using a rolled up t-shirt to set it properly on his head, but otherwise it’s just balancing there like a bobble head…

20. October 2008 · Comments Off on A Work in Progress — Timmy’s Halloween Costume! · Categories: Uncategorized · Tags: , , ,

I can’t remember if I’d mentioned it before, but Timmy declared around Labor Day that he wants to be R2-D2 for Halloween.

And of course I agreed.

I already finished Jake’s costume, which is described here. I’m still trying to convince Jake to shave his head like Mace Windu. We’ll see…

After some discussion with Maryann about materials — her son Joey also wanted to be an R2 unit for Halloween, I figured a small bullet trashcan would be our best bet to fit onto Timmy. Maryann investigated those large cylindrical soda receptacles that you see at convenient stores, but ended up going with the bullet garbage can, too.

At our local Home Depot, we came across this Rubbbermaid small bullet can — perfect!

So we’re off! We also picked up some assorted R2-D2 colored spray paints (blue, chrome, white) and here we go!

First things first, Timmy’s going to wear the trash can as a tube, so we had to cut the bottom out of the can.

So first I used a drill to put holes along the sides of the bottom edge.

A close up of the holes.

So with a couple slices with a keyhole saw, the bottom popped right off. But we were left with all this debris. I started with some 100 grit sandpaper, but that was futile…

But a box-cutter was perfect! I was able to shave off the excess plastic, then used the 100 grit sandpaper to fine-tune the edge.

Next task, painting the wastebaskets. We could only find that silver/coppery colored can, so it had to be painted white…

I wanted low humidity and not much wind, but in Nebraska in the fall, forget it! Today is the last dry day for a while, but it was quite breezy so I just made sure to remain upwind of the spray and we did okay.

Presenting, the white-painted trash can! Coming soon, masking and painting R2’s…uh…accoutrements?