For the full duration of my trick-or-treating years – we’re talking 3-13 – my mother crafted my costumes entirely by hand. They ranged from the truly extraordinary (a hand-stitched cancan dancer costume with multicolored ruffles that required multiple trips to visit a sewing-machine-having family friend in New Jersey) to the slightly phoned-in (a Cher costume that was basically a piece of sparkly fabric and a fright wig), but I cherished them. I cherish them still; many of those old costumes are now parked in my kids’ costume box, and are just as serviceable as they were back in the day.
Things made by hand have a tendency to do that: they last.
Scroll down to check out 8 impossibly unique DIY costumes for kids
I am simultaneously sad about and relieved by the fact that kids these days (“kids these days”!! I’m so old) don’t want homemade Halloween costumes. There was something grand – even heroic – about the fact that despite having no particular interest in crafting and exactly zero time to spare, what with her whole “being a lawyer” thing, my mother just rustled up her reserves and knocked it out of the park, year after year. And even when she didn’t – see: the aforementioned Cher costume – it was still the only costume of its kind out there. It was mine. Made by my mom. I loved that.
I think it’s safe to say that I have a soft spot in my heart for the odd handmade costume. Alas, my son is planted firmly in the “MOOOOMMMM I just want THE OFFICIAL WOLVERINE COSTUME from THE STORE” years…but my daughter simply loves dressing up. As anything. And everything. And sees absolutely no distinction – yet – between a costume that was bought and a costume that was made.
I’m hoping she sees the distinction one of these days. …Because those costumes that were made? They’re just for her.
Which brings me to this:
My daughter wanted to be Lydia Deetz from Beetlejuice for Halloween. This makes me so proud, I cannot even tell you.
“I myself am…strange and unusual.”
Yes. Girl, yes.
If you, too, can convince your child to be Lydia Deetz for Halloween, a) Congratulations, and b) Here’s what you need:
- Black dress (preferably long, but work with what you’ve got)
- Black boots
- Black jacket or shawl (I lent her my own black bolero)
- Wide-brimmed black hat
- White face paint or powder
- Grey or brown eyeshadow
- The Handbook for the Recently Deceased (you can buy one on Amazon, because you can buy everything on Amazon, but I decided to just draw the cover myself, then paste my drawing onto a book we already owned).
To this look, I’d also add black tights and a toy camera – those are on the way for The Big Night.
For best results, just add brother.
More adorable handmade costume ideas below!