Wednesday, November 01, 2023

Creating Costumes (and the Fall Festival)

Even though it creates a little more stress for me in October...and September...and sometimes even of my favourite parts about Halloween is helping the kids with their costumes. Sometimes they know what they want to be a year in advance and other times they change their minds over and over again. Typically (at least I tell myself), homemade costumes are cheaper than storebought costumes, but what I really value is the chance to be a bit creative.

The most expensive costume was probably Alexander's costume since we used pages from a printout of my thesis as one of the layers of his papier-mâché hat—what a good use for them!

Here he is getting ready to paint his teapot hat grey:

With a little help from Zoë:

And Phoebe, our little southpaw:

We had things ready just in time for the ward party and took a few pictures before heading out. It was so warm the day before Halloween—with highs in the 80s—and then some wickedly cold winds whipped through Halloween evening and have cooled things off quite rapidly. We were so cold today!

But it was warm enough the day before Halloween that Phoebe didn't wear pants with her dress. Alexander opted to forego his tights, and Benjamin wore short sleeves. Here they are in all their glory:

Benjamin is Wirt, Alexander is Greg, and Phoebe is the frog from Over the Garden Wall. It's a cute—if not bizarre—show about two brothers who go on a Halloween adventure together. Each episode is just spooky enough to have the kids on the edge of their seats, but kooky enough that they don't actually feel too scared. Most of the scary mysteries resolve within 10 minutes or so. 

Alexander made the perfect Greg and Benjamin was a wonderful Wirt. His cape came from the dress up box (my mom made it to go with a Snow White costume multiple of my girls have worn; we just added some golden buttons to it), Miriam sewed his hat from some red felt in our stash, and I crocheted the bluebird—Beatrice—out of remnant bits of yarn. His clothes came from his drawers. 

When Rachel and Miriam decided they wanted to be the March sisters (from Little Women), they tried to persuade Zoë to join them by having her read Little Women and then watching the movie with her. For a while she was on board with being Amy. But then Zoë and her friend Libby decided they would be bunnies together. And then Libby backed out of being a bunny (which, honestly, I thought would be the case), so Zoë was going to be a bunny on her own. And then she decided she'd be an arctic fox instead. But then she thought she should, perhaps, match with Benjamin, Alexander, and Phoebe, so we started planning a Beatrix (bluebird) costume for her. But then she decided she'd rather be a red fox (because she'd recently read Pax by Sara Pennypacker). 

She was so wishy-washy that although I spent plenty of time brainstorming with her about her costume, I was reluctant to begin actually making anything for her! But she assured me that a fox was absolutely her final choice for this year, so I set to work crocheting and made her a cowl and fox tail. Here she is showing off her lovely little tail:

In all honesty, her costume and Phoebe's costumes were probably the most expensive (excluding the cost of my entire degree and thesis, glued to Alexander's head) because I bought some new yarn so I could be sure I had enough of the necessary colour. I actually made Zoë's costume first and when Phoebe was happy wearing her cowl around, I decided to make one for Phoebe's costume as well. 

Phoebe was actually not impressed with her own cowl and refused to wear it until the kids sat her down and explained the concept of trick-or-treating to her. She put together pretty quickly that if she wore that hat someone would give her candy, so she agreed to wear the thing around. And she called herself "Kitty," which was fitting because that was the first name of the frog in Over the Garden Wall. She was a little disappointed to learn that she didn't always get candy every time she put on the costume, but instead had to wait for this special day called "Hammy Hannoweeneenenenenenee," whatever that was.

She was thrilled by the trunk-or-treat at the ward party, let me tell you!

Anyway, here are our little Over the Garden Wall characters together:

And here's Zoë the fox, all on her own:

And here are my little cowled girls together:

Miriam's dress is an old dress of my mother's. I believe it was a bridesmaid dress. I've worn it as a costume a time or two, myself. 

When Zoë decided she wouldn't be Amy March, Miriam took up that role, herself as Amy in her Paris era. She made the fascinator herself and it turned out simply divine:

Rachel, of course, was a natural candidate for Jo. She's wearing a dress from her closet, with a blouse from mine (though she likes it so she'll probably keep it; I bought it for Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, and also thought I would wear it again...but then I remembered that I have a thing called "small children" and wearing a white blouse is rather incompatible with that, so it's been languishing unworn), and a vest we sourced from the Buy Nothing Group. They assigned me the role of Meg (and Miriam knit a snood for me to wear!), but I didn't dress up for the ward party since the girls wouldn't be attending, anyway. 

They were off to a multi-stake dance instead.

Now, if you're a big fan of Little Women, as a few of the girls in my house are (Rachel has read that book at least twenty times, I'm sure), you'll remember there are four March sisters, not three. Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy.

We couldn't leave out Beth! She's the sweetest of the sisters—and musical, too! When Zoë was planning on being Amy, Miriam was planning on being Beth. But, alas, the only way to represent all four March sisters was to kill Beth off!

So I was Meg, Rachel was Jo, Miriam was Amy, and...the girls carried around a tombstone for poor, sweet Beth (who dies young in the book):

Not only was the tombstone eerily hilarious, it was also functional! Miriam put duct-tape over a cereal box and strung some ribbons through it for a handle, making herself a handy little purse to take to the dance (or to hold Halloween candy, depending on what one might have on their calendar any given evening).

Here are all six kids together:

And here's a few shots of the boys alone:

And sweet Phoebe, too:

The Halloween party was fun! We ate some good chili, visited with friends, and the kids had a blast on the bouncy houses before trunk-or-treating:


  1. I bought that dress during Fall Semester 1976, my Freshman year at BYU. Preference dances were still a thing at BYU then, and I bought the dress for that occasion. It was the most expensive dress I had ever bought at that point in time! And actually, I have rarely spent that much on a dress ever again! I am glad it has gotten lots of wear for three generations!

  2. Winter semester!!! Fall semester was 1975. I accidentally typed the wrong semeser.

  3. Great costumes! I love that Beth's tombstone made a nice purse/treat bag for Miriam. Haha.

    Your latest posts didn't load to my Feedly (boo) for some reason. I wondered why you hadn't written in November as planned. Thankfully I decided to check your blog, and HERE THEY ARE!