Since Downtown Dad and Tessie went to Iowa on a genealogical road trip for the weekend, Bear and I decided to go Halloween costume shopping.
There are two "Halloween Headquarters" depots, temporarily housed in the cavernous remains of a couple of failed "big box" stores by the mall. Bear and I, both being huge fans of becoming someone we're not at least once a year, scurried around each store, our eyes wide with amazement at the sheer tonnage of costumes and accessories displayed. But after leaving the second shop, having bought nothing at either one, we both had the same reaction: "Now that we are filled with ideas and inspiration, lets hit the thrift stores and Savers to actually BUY the stuff we need to make our costumes!"
It seems dumb to me, to spend upwards of 30 bucks to purchase an ill-fitting rendition of a pop-cultural icon, made up of mostly petroleum based materials, that you'll wear once, when the chances are that at least 3 or 4 other people are going to show up wearing the exact same thing! Sure, it's easy, just pick up the "pirate-in-a-bag" and voila! You ARE Johnny Depp. Yawn.
To me, the real fun is using your imagination to figure out how to make something work, and then scouting out the odd things you'll need to construct your alter-ego-for-a-day. I can honestly say that I have never purchased a pre-packaged costume - and until about a year or two ago, neither had any of my family. I've made, from scratch, some fabulous creations such as He-Man, a Smurf, a Teenage-Mutant-Ninja-Turtle (Michaelangelo to be specific!), Scarlett O'Hara (picnic dress), Mammy from Gone With The Wind, a ringmaster, a serving wench, a gypsy fortune teller, The Flying Nun, a wizard, several hippies, witches, dead things, and other stuff I can't even remember!
My original motivation was to keep my little ones from wearing vision obstructing masks while trick or treating - but the sheer fun of taking an idea, no matter how absurd, or impossible it sounds, and making it work has become a family tradition for us. Sure, if you add up the yards of material, the fiberfill batting, the velcro, duct tape, dowels, tights, Rit-dye, makeup, foam-core board, papier mache, spray paint and other assorted accessories - I may spend more than 30 some bucks on a costume. But in the end, the coolness factor totally wins out!