Custom costumes

This post is for Loree, and has nothing to do with either  gardening or plants. In yesterday’s Wednesday Vignette, I lamented how much I miss making my kids’ Halloween costumes. She asked for photos. Some years, I took decent pictures. Other years, not so much. Whatever I have – here they are:

Our first year in the US - and subsequently our first Halloween with kids. What 4-year-old does not like dinosaurs. This was a store-bought T-rex costume which turned out to have the most ridiculous little bonnet. Not scary at all - it needed salvaging. A couple of gallon milk jugs came to the rescue. Did you ever realize how much their shape resembles a T-rex skull? That hard plastic makes for some awesome teeth too.

Our first year in the US – and subsequently our first Halloween with kids. What 4-year-old does not like dinosaurs? This was a store-bought T-rex costume which turned out to have the most ridiculous little bonnet. Not scary at all – it needed salvaging, so we added a few things – like stripes, paws and feet – and of course repurposed that stupid bonnet into a real T-rex head. A couple of gallon milk jugs came to the rescue. Did you ever realize how much their shape resembles a T-rex skull? That hard plastic makes for some awesome teeth too.

We had to supplement paws too, and feet. "A T-rex has only two claws, not three", said my precocious kid. It had to be perfect.

“A T-rex has only two claws, not three”, said my precocious kid. It had to be perfect.

Tired little dinosaur. Probably full of candy too.

Tired little dinosaur. Probably full of candy too.

Courtesy of a hard drive failure (supposedly salvageable, but we need real nerd help) neither the 4-year old viking, nor little Robin Hood are available, so let’s skip to Speedracer.

Speed Racer

The following year, we were a family of sea creatures, later captured in paint by my friend Kat – one of the two original Lobster Ballerinas (or Rock Lobsters as we soon became known throughout our town’s music venues).

Here are the original Lobster Ballerinas - Kat and I.

Here are the original Lobster Ballerinas – Kat and I.

Translated to kid, it looks like this:

lobster_boy_1

Kid number two was an Octopus.

octopus_1

I still remember pulling an all-nighter on finishing this one. It was almost like being back in architecture school.

octopus_and_lobster_boy_1

From the back...

From the back…

Terrible photo of the painting Kat made of us all. It's hanging in our dining room. When we eat lobster, we turn it around as to not offend.

Terrible photo of the painting Kat made of us all. It’s hanging in our dining room. When we eat lobster, we turn it around as to not offend.

Then came Domo – the friendly Japanese monster.

Domo costume

Complete with candy hole.

Complete with candy hole.

Domo was the same year as the costume I’m most proud of – Marvin the Martian. That was a tricky one.

Marvin the Martian costume

I should have given it a couple of more layers of papier mache.

I should have given the head a couple of more layers of papier mache.

IMG_0273

IMG_0263

It was all downhill from there, but we managed to pull off a pretty good Mary Poppins and a couple of little Chimney Sweeps the following year.

Mary Poppins costume

IMG_3400

Naturally, I had to have flowers in my hat!

Naturally, I had to have flowers in my hat!

The following year – to no avail – I begged and pleaded for them to please, please, PLEASE let me do Snow Miser and Heat Miser. They would have been PERFECT! But no. Instead, we agreed on a couple of drunk hillbillies. Not half as fun as the two Miser brothers, but okay. The reason they didn’t want to go for it was that none of their friends knew who Snow Miser and Heat Miser were. So sad… this is where we knew they were now at an age where we had lost them to their friends….

Hillbilly costume

Hillbilly 1

Today is October 22 – 9 days to Halloween. I doubt we’ll see any last minute spurts of creativity,  but… sigh – a girl can dream…. right?

 

 

 

 

 

 

About annamadeit

Born and raised in Sweden, my aesthetics and outlook on life are strongly shaped by a culture rich in history and tradition. I care a great deal about environmental responsibility, and my aesthetic reflects the visually clean, functional practicality and sustainable solutions that are the hallmarks of modern Scandinavia. I was trained as an architect at the University of Cincinnati and as a color specialist at the Scandinavian Colour Institute in Stockholm. I'm obsessed with plants and gardens, and aim to take my skill set a step further by designing gardens as well as interiors. As someone so aptly said: " Architecture is the skin that separates the exterior from the interior". So true - you can't successfully focus on one without incorporating the other. I'm also an avid cook, and I love to ski. In addition, I put time and efforts into trying to rectify things that I feel are wrong in my immediate community. As you will see, The Creative Flux will touch on all these things, and more. For sure, it's all over the map, but then again - so am I! Welcome to my blog!
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26 Responses to Custom costumes

  1. Oh Anna, this was outstanding! The sea creatures (and painting!), the dino…Domo and Marvin…wow. I think my fav was Mary Poppins and the chimney sweeps simply because you all looked so darn cute together. And you were wrong about it not being a garden post…look at all that green lawn In the Marvin and Domo images, clearly your intensive gardening days were ahead.

    • annamadeit says:

      Haha – no, we borrowed the clean-cut backdrop of our neighbor (the one with the perfect lawn). Those costumes would have all but disappeared against my clutter.

  2. Great stuff. No wonder your creations were winners

  3. Lisa says:

    Wow, you are an artist!!! the costumes couldn’t be better!! and the sea creatures and the dinosaur are so original!! I love them all, but I agree with Loree…the picture of Mary Poppins and the chimney sweeps is my favorite!!

    • annamadeit says:

      Aw, thank you Lisa! I think I just need to start hosting an annual Halloween party to have an excuse to at least make costumes for myself, now that the kids think they have “grown up”. 🙂

  4. FlowerAlley says:

    I did custom costumes, too. These photos were magical. Thanks for sharing them.
    🙂

  5. rindymae says:

    I wanted pictures, too! Thank you for sharing. The Mary Poppins year was my fave, but they’re all fantastic.

    • annamadeit says:

      Thanks Mindy! If nothing else, the Poppins costumes were, by far, the easiest to move around in. I remember well what an ordeal a bathroom visit was in that lobster costume. Not to mention a car ride…

  6. Anna, your talent just pours out of you and amazes me to no end. Wow. What lucky kids you have!

  7. Kris P says:

    These were incredible, Anna! I bet the kids will rediscover Halloween in their teen years when the parties replace trick or treating and you’ll be able to “help” with their costumes again then. I love Marvin the Martian but the sea creatures were fabulous too and your friend’s painting is extraordinary!

  8. annamadeit says:

    Thanks Kris – I hope they’ll come back to the magic that is Halloween. Yeah, that painting means the world to me… There is a story behind it too. Kat never let on a thing about it, but invited us to see a gallery opening some of her work was featured in. We started at the end, admiring the works of other artists, slowly moving along the walls. Suddenly we were face to face with ourselves. I’ll never forget it! What a surprise – it made our day! 🙂

  9. Your kids are so lucky – what great costumes! Our older son was also a dinosaur one year, and had strong feelings about the accuracy of the claws. However, I’d say your costume definitely had ours beat.

  10. Emily says:

    Those are ALL fantastic costumes, Anna. And I really like the lobster family painting–that’s really special.

  11. bergstromskan says:

    Amazing Anna, I have seen them before, but they are worth looking at again and again. I told their younger cousin Ville that this year your boys did not know what to wear. He gave several suggestions like skeleton , death etc. Also advised that these costumes could be bought. Little did he know about your history, but I promised that I would share his advice with you and the boys. Suggestion, be Mary Poppins at work that day, and get pictures, please. Love, love, mamma

    • annamadeit says:

      How nice of Ville to offer advice. 🙂 T is going to a Hallween dance, and decided he wants to be a plague doctor. As for O – no idea, and will probably go as “himself”. How original, huh? I gave the Mary Poppins costume away, so I’d have to make a new one. If I do anything, it will be something different. xoxo

  12. Peter/Outlaw says:

    What well-done and imaginative costumes and sweet memories. You could dress up as a garden blogger and nursery manager this year!

  13. Alan @ it's not work, it's gardening! says:

    You know, before long they’ll again be at an age when a creative halloween costume will again be so important — keep working on the Heat/Snow Miser costumes in your head. 🙂

    • annamadeit says:

      True. Actually, it’s already starting up again. I promised I’d help one of them with a Plague doctor tonight. There is hope… And for HM/SM – I’ve been listening to that song a lot lately, so I’m still dreaming! 🙂

  14. Theresa Glover says:

    Do you have instructions on Marvin? I would love to know how you made the skirt and helmet, in particular!

    • annamadeit says:

      Gosh, Theresa – it’s been so long… It was all trial and error, cut generously (and err on the plus side), and adjust. So, sorry, I have no real instructions to share with you. One thing I wish I would have done differently is taken the time to add more layers of papier maché to the head. As it were, it was a bit on the thin side, and soon tore. For the helmet, I used green foam and a very handy glue gun. For the skirt, I cut individual panels out of rigid white plastic foam, purchased by the foot from a plastics store. Then, I laminated colored foam (from your typical craft store) onto the white core. The sandwiched panels were glued onto a belt if velcro. The Roman “brush” was made the same way, except I bent the foam to shape before laminating. Then I drilled holes in the top, and inserted bristled from a broom I cut up. Again, that glue gun will become your best friend… Good luck, Theresa! Give yourself plenty of time…

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