Halloween Sewing

What have you sewn for Halloween?

Sewing grandmothers–and mothers–are usually busy at their machines in the weeks before this increasingly popular holiday. Until we had grandchildren, I was never one of them.

Both of my children have October  birthdays and every  year they each had a minimum of two parties.  There was one for friends, one for family and some years, one for school classmates. By the time I was done with smocked birthday outfits, dozens of cupcakes, buckets of buttercream frosting, home made age appropriate party favors and accompanying hoopla, I had no creative energy left for Halloween. My children had to rummage around in their closets to come up with their own pathetic costumes.

That was then.  But now I am a card carrying member of the Sisterhood of  October Costume Creators.

Last year at this time, I found myself doing two very different kinds of sewing for my grandchildren’s costumes. I was reminded of Charles Dickens’ opening lines from A Tale of Two Cities, “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity….” Frankly, it sounds to me like he was talking about Halloween and my experiences sewing for it last year.

Robert Wiggle and his mama

Robert’s costume was “the best of times,” a simple outfit which transformed my little guy into one of his heroes, famous Greg of The Wiggles. All Robert needed was a yellow shirt with The Wiggles machine embroidered on the front, a Wiggles badge pinned to the belt on his Wiggle standard black pants and his favorite Wiggles flip flops. It took a little time to get the proper font and letter arrangement for The Wiggles text.  But basically, it was easy peasy, clearly “the best of times.”

Laurel’s costume was “the worst of times.” The good news was that her mother had had the good fortune to find a genuine Disney Snow White costume in perfect condition at a neighborhood garage sale for $1. The bad news was that Snow White’s dress was size 8 and Laurel wore a size 3. How hard could it be, her mother wondered, for me to resize it. For her, it was “the epoch of belief,” and for me, “the epoch of incredulity.”

It probably would have been easier to start from scratch, but I dug my hands into that cheap, tacky fabric and got the job done. With 2″ tucks at the shoulder, darts, darts and more darts allllllllll the way around the bodice, a cut off skirt and cape with a serged edge, she looked just fine by the light of a single, dim Jack-o-lantern. Add the red sequin headband that her mother found at the mall Disney story, and Laurel was, in her own eyes, Snow White herself.

Halloween was a big success for these two little revelers. Even Robert’s constant companion, The Maine Moose, had a good time and the good fortune to make it home with the candy haul.

So what have you sewn for Halloween? What was your most challenging costume? What was most fun? Please share your thoughts and experience. I might need these ideas for next year. Maybe that will be “the epoch of wisdom.”

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