Me: You've stated in the past that Halloween is one of your favorite holidays. Why is that?
Myself: Halloween is one of the most magical holidays. It is the one day of the year the I can wake up, get out of bed, and without digging through the closet, know exactly what I'm going to wear that day. I love to dress up and I love to dress up my kids.
Me: Do you decide on costumes for your children or do they make that choice?
Myself: When they were younger, I always decided. After all, I was the one making the costumes, I have the larger share of the vote. Now as they've gotten older though, I've included them in the creative process.
Me: Many would argue that costumes are available ready-made. Why not just take them to the store and allow them to pick out one of the costumes?
Myself: I think part of that comes from kindergarten. At the time I attended kindergarten the public schools in my area had Halloween parties in the afternoon, which included a costume parade around the building. Parents would come in to help dress their kids and then stay to watch the proceedings. One year a mom smeared oatmeal all over her son so that it looked like bits of skin were falling off his mummified body. The librarian had a scary robe and mask hanging on the wall all season and on Halloween, one of the special ed. teachers wore the robe and mask and stood against the wall in the same position the creature had been hung. As students passed by, suspecting nothing more than a Halloween decoration, she jumped out and terrified them. It was exhilarating.
In kindergarten, in October, we colored paper masks. I'm sure it was part of the core standards about coloring in the lines, small muscle development, and other art forms, but it was essentially coloring a picture and cutting it out. I don't remember my costume that year, but I do remember Shelly's. On Halloween day when everyone else was dressing up in their Halloween finery, Shelly wore the same outfit she wore to school and her paper mask with a string around it to hold it on her head. I know you can't by love and affection, but making their costumes is one of the ways I demonstrate to my children that they are important to me. They have this vision of who they want to portray and I make it come to fruition. Some parents sign their kids up for every sport and lesson available, I empower imagination.
Me: Wow! You sound pretty full of yourself with all that "empowering" and "bringing visions to fruition." Do you really think you are all that?
Myself: No. As a matter of fact, there have been some years that I've not fulfilled my costume-making goals. The year we were rushing to meet the deadline on building our house my mother-in-law very generously stepped in and bought my son an iron man costume. This year he was going to be Harry Potter for the second year in a row, but a month before Halloween, his dad cut off all his long hair and he changed his mind and decided to be Hawkeye, one of the Avengers.
Myself: I looked online and the costumes I found were around $40, so I sat down with him and we worked out a design together. As you can see, the two photos, that of Hawkeye and that of my son are nearly identical.
Me: What are you talking about? They aren't even close. He has no arm support for his shooting arm and his clothing . . .
Myself: One thing you need to realize is that generally I begin working on costumes in July. This year was busy and so it was the end of August before I got started. Then when he switched characters last minute, I had to scramble and made this costume in less than a day.
Me: So tell us about the other costumes.
Myself: My daughter's cheerleader outfit I made from a sheet we were no longer using and a spool of ribbon. We looked at patterns, but I'm too cheap to actually by it so I retrofitted one I already had to make it in to what she wanted. The youngest is enamored with Toy Story and wanted to be Woody. I couldn't find the right fabric for the shirt, so I bought a mustard broadcloth and drew the lines on it. His pattern was also partially made up. His hat was spray painted and then the yarn stitched around the brim. Hawkeye's costume started as a dollar store t-shirt. My son didn't want the maroon colored portion of the costume and I didn't want to spend money on the zippers required for the vest so instead I cut caprisun pouches into strips and stitched them on and added the pleather embellishments.
Myself: Initially I didn't, but then he put it on and recruited his siblings to be Captain America and Black Widow. Add to the costume the quiver made of ABS pipe and the strap from a camp chair bag, and he is as close to being Hawkeye as was Jeremy Renner.
Me: And what about your own costume?
Myself: I had leftover pieces of cow print and the black and white stripes to make the chaps. The hat I made of some fabric I'd had in the cupboard for a long time and never really found a use for. After I made it, even with extra thick interfacing, the brim was pretty weak and I ended up running a strand of wire around the circumference and then stitching it into place with the white yarn Jessie's hat is noted for. I bought a men's dress shirt and used scraps of fabric from the Woody costume and rick-rack to turn it into the western-style Jessie top.
Myself: I know. As a matter of fact I have a story about that:
My parents, in an attempt to be fitting parents, dressed me in a yellow coat one cold snowy Halloween. I know it seems as though common sense prevailed at the time, but what they seemed to overlook a the time was that I was dressed as a princess. My mom had pulled up my hair into a fancy up do, painted my face with make-up and fastened a velvet choker about my throat. I even had a beauty spot.
I grew up in a very rural location (nearest neighbor not across the street was 1/3 mile away) and to go trick-or-treating, my parents let us each pick about three houses and drove us around to each. It had snowed that week and the temperature was probably sub-zero, but princesses don't worry about the weather when it comes time to flaunt their beauty. We ate dinner and then readied ourselves to set out. Over my fluffy, pink, frilly dress, my mother insisted I wear my coat; a yellow coat with red and blue rickrack and a faux-fur lined hood.
Me: Well, it looks like we're out of time and space. Thank you for your time today.
Myself: Thank you, it's been my pleasure.
Wasn't that a great interview? So smooth and structured. I wouldn't be surprised if it is soon one of the stories advertised on the cover of your favorite magazine.