‘Twas the Night Before Halloween…Vampire Hunter in the House

Tomorrow is the big night – and with the crazy weather around Hurricane Sandy, there’s been much wringing of little hands and worry about what the weather will be like for trick or treating and whether (gasp!) Halloween might be CANCELLED!  We’ve assured our guys that the worst has passed and that the worst case scenario is cold, wet weather which WILL NOT STOP US!

The weather has, however, dampened the fun of decorating the porch and tiny front yard – so tonight we’ll be carving some last minute Jack o’ Lanterns and putting the finishing touches on my big guy’s Vampire Hunter costume.

Vampire Hunter

I followed my own advice to the letter for spreading the work and fun of putting together a great Halloween costume over a reasonable time without stress.  Big Kid (11) decided to deviate from his usual theme of always being something terrifying or gruesome and instead decided to be a vampire hunter.  He had a specific vision which combined some elements of graphic novel characters and others like Van Helsing.

Our trip to Value Village was extraordinarily productive – we found amazing base items for the costume – a ladies suede trenchcoat, soft leather gloves that fit him perfectly and black suede boots which look like they are right out of the 3 musketeers!  They all fit just right and no extra alterations were needed.  This costume is mainly about the props and most of our efforts were on prop building.

Vampire Stakes

Big Kid gathered some dead gnarly branches from a local park which we cut into stake lengths with a jigsaw.  He then made a special trip after school by himself to our friend’s workshop, where he was helped to sharpen and sand the points.  It was great that he got to do all the sanding on the belt sander himself – it’s important for kids to get a chance to learn to use power tools safely so that they can benefit from the great feeling of independence and the satisfaction of making something themselves.

Sewing by himself

Next we sewed what Big Kid calls his ‘bullet chain’ – to hold the littler stakes. I allowed him to sew the straight seems himself, which he found very exciting.  This was made from a scrap of upholstry vinyl and elastic.  He found a leather carpenters tool belt to fit the largest stakes and attached it to the big belt we used for his Executioner costume last year.

The other props he insisted on add important and creative detail to his costume and were all easy to come up with.  A bottle of ‘holy’ water, a string of garlic, cool sunglasses, a cross necklace and a string of vampire teeth (his past ‘kills’). Tonight we’ll to the final details (like stringing garlic) and tomorrow I know he’ll be well dressed for the elements! He also plans to spray his blonde hair black and spike it…hopefully the rain won’t make me regret agreeing to that!

Not designed for hurricanes…

Me…on the other hand…I think I’ll be cold in my tights!

Skeleton-Ghost Costume

Phelan’s ‘Skeleton-Ghost’ Costume – Halloween 2012

Usually my little guy chooses a simple, iconic Halloween costume theme (vampire, ghost etcc)  This year he stuck with his theme – except he cranked up the temperature a bit by wanting to be two things at once. Last night we finished his ‘skeleton-ghost’ costume. We googled images of human skeletons and chose which bones we wanted to put on his skeleton. He helped cut the bones from scrap fabric which I stitched to black leggings and jersey. The mask is attached to a headband which he can reverse to put the mask on the back of his head if he is having trouble seeing or feeling sweaty. I also cut out the nose hole and enlarged the mouth holes so he can breathe better. The gauzy fabric is a curtain which I attached to the headband/mask so it won’t slip. It has since been trimmed to just below his knees so he won’t trip. He can flip the front of the gauze over his head (like a veil) if he wants better visibility.

My Little Skeleton

Cost: $2 used mask from Value Village, $4 used curtain from Value Village $8 used leggings and jersey from Value Village – Total cost $14 – Total time 3 hours

With less sewing skills: bones could have been safety pinned or glued to the black clothing, veil could have been pinned or glued to the headband and mask.

With less budget: Use black clothing from home, find something white or sheer from home for the ghostly mantle, use face paint instead of a mask

With less time: Commercial skeleton costumes are readily available at most seasonal costume/Halloween stores




What’s Mama Going to Wear for Halloween?

Jenn Jansen, Bonnie Stewart & Gretel Meyer Odell ready for Costume Party at Blissdom Canada 2012

From Halloween each year there are 3 things I really want.

1. I want my kids to feel joy and excitement about their costumes (the inspiration, creation and debut of) and have the time of their life trick or treating in our little neighbourhood.

2. I want to squirrel away a dozen Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups from my kids treat bags to make me feel better on ‘blah’ afternoons in November. (I’ll totally give this up if all my neighbours take the peanut-free pledge!)

3. And lastly – I want to dress up too!

Number 3 is where it has all broken down for me for many years.  I’m always so busy helping my kids realize their costume dreams, that I usually end up throwing on a wig or dragontail or something else from our family’s Tickle Trunk rather than enjoy the process of putting together my own costume.  I’m delighted to report that this year is different, thanks to the opportunity to create something special to wear to the costume party at Blissdom 2012 (an annual conference for Canadian Bloggers).  Inspired by the chance to share what I enjoy best with lots of amazing writers (mostly women) from across the country, I devised my own unique superhero costume from my new Power Cuff and Coronet designs.  In the photo above meet Jenn Jansen, a long-time blogger who can be found at Simply Elemental and Bonnie Stewart, another seasoned blogger who was a keynote speaker at the conference and currently blogs at theory.cribchronicles.com (she’s was also a high school classmate of mine!).  Below, Ami McKay (another keynote speaker and author of ‘The Virgin Cure’ and ‘The Birth House) enjoys a Magic Circle Cloak and Creature Headband.

Ami McKay, author of ‘The Birth House’ and ‘The Virgin Cure’ gets wild in a Magic Circle Cloak and Creature Headband at Blissdom Canada 2012

Halloween is only 8 days away so give yourself a moment to find a disguise that will make you feel good and step out of yourself.  Your kids will be thrilled to have you participate in Halloween in a way more meaningful to them and you will have fun…I promise!

Halloween is Going to the Dogs…

Don’t forget the dog!

With just under three weeks until Halloween, it’s time to get a little silly.  You don’t have to go all-out on an expensive dog costume – but a simple accessory from your family’s Tickle Trunk can be enough to make a fun costume for a festive walk around the neighbourhood or just for chuckles.

Our friend’s dog, Val was a lovely zebra last year.  Her owner used non-toxic, washable Crayola markers to make the stripes and they washed out easily the next day with no staining on her pure white fur!

If you haven’t started thinking about costumes yet – make this weekend the one to finalize decisions and start gathering the bits you’ll need.