Dress Up Fun For All Ages
What is the point of Halloween if not to be able to dress up in whatever wild costume suits our fancy, at whatever age? I was looking forward to spending the weekend making costumes but on Friday, I got both a flu shot and the new booster, which the pharmacist called “a doozie.” Since there was a free vaccination clinic at the Senior Center, it seemed like a great idea to double up and get both at the same time. I’m glad I did, though the side effects weren’t all that great, because there seems to be more covid around than ever and this is starting to shape up as a big flu year. By the time Saturday rolled around, I felt too feverish and floppy to make the rather complicated costumes I was planning but fortunately, much simpler options abound. Thus, I spent a happy afternoon bundled up in blankets tearing sheeting into thin strips, which was surprisingly satisfying. Rrriiipppp!
It also brought back memories; over a dozen years ago, I’d dyed these sheets golden yellow and cut them into quarters for people to sit on at my son’s August wedding. The wedding was at a lovely local farm but it was a very hot year and the grass was burnt brown and too crispy to make for comfortable seating. My Friday Tidy friends were helping me make huge flower arrangements in big buckets which we had to tuck between trees and surround with bird netting to keep the thirsty sheep from eating them (and drinking the water). At the last minute, we strung a barrier of netting behind several trees and brought the flower arrangements forward for the ceremony, greatly disappointing the sheep, which baahed plaintively behind the netting as vows were exchanged. (Afterwards, we gave away the flowers to the guests and let the sheep have all the greens and the water, which they enjoyed very much.) And now the grandchildren, fruit and flower of that weeding, are my partners in costuming and much else besides.
A Heap Of Golden Strands
The ripped sheets made a big, fluffy mound of strips, all about an inch or less wide and beautifully fuzzy. Feeling too lazy to knit a skull cap (my first plan), I repurposed a brown woolly hat for a base. The strips were folded in half and the top loop pulled through a few stitches with a crochet hook. The long ends were tucked through the loop and left to dangle like shaggy dreadlocks, getting wildly tangled in the process. The cats were enchanted with this wonderful new game, rolling in the heap of strips and tossing them around playfully. I managed to knit a couple of ears and a plump tail to complete the look, and a kind neighbor modeled it so I could make sure it will sit properly for my friend on Halloween.
For the Tin Man, my grandson covered an auto funnel with slightly used foil and we used a hooded poncho made of shiny space blanket material for the head and body. A little shiny duct tape allowed some fine tuning of the body shape (which was definitely sack-like) and we taped on tapered tubes of space blanket for arms. A silver belt, a few details like arm “joints” and it was…very shiny! Maybe not so elegant, but for someone who is going to be working while wearing it, it certainly will give the proper Tin Man effect and allow freedom of movement. It’s also very warm indeed, allowing the wearer to be in a tee shirt and tights even if the evening is as chilly as projected. She’ll stay dry, too, even if it rains, bonus!
The Astonishing Creativity of Children
Meanwhile, my granddaughter was working on her costume as her favorite herb, self-heal, sewing multi-layered leaves to cover her arms and making masses of little purple-blue florets to be attached to a black headdress she made. At six, she’s a very confident sewist, and politely asked her mom to give her a little more space so she could work out her own ideas(!). For the leaves, she cut out veins, sewed them to the background layer, then added a sheer green layer with a sparkly one on top. My grandson is crafting a magnificent phoenix firebird with wide wings and tail in vivid reds and oranges, with enormous, glowing eyes and a curving raptor beak that will be part of the head piece.
Their ferocious pumpkins are already decorating my porch, bristling with toothpicks and mysterious bits of floating ghostly pumpkin in their auras. When my grandson was two, he made his first hedgehog pumpkin, which is now a firm tradition. Each year, they remind me that we’ll be needing a goodly supply of toothpicks to make their jack-o-lanterns properly memorable, and so they certainly are. While the general trend is for pop culture costumes, I love that my family’s traditions lean more into the Hieronymus Bosch school of weirdness, with strangely interwoven leaves and beaks and wings and extra ears galore. Moving onward, looking backward too, right?