My Love/Hate Relationship with Making Halloween Costumes

In our LBK (Life Before Kids) Halloween ranked highly as a favorite holiday. Many hours over the years have been spent brainstorming, planning and implementing our Halloween costumes. Being board game geeks, one year we chose to make life-size, fully functioning, wearable Battleship costumes – and I’m pretty sure we spent more time on these costumes than we have ever spent playing Battleship!

Megan Bayer Halloween 4

Our love for Halloween could be partially attributed to my husband’s brother Clay who died of Cystic Fibrosis while on the transplant list in 2013. Clay had several “claims to fame”, however none as infamous as his edgy, often inappropriate Halloween, costumes. Each year he would expose some current events tragedy…just a little too soon… dressing up as the victim, and wearing it with a smile and without remorse. These gory, cheeky memories of great times with family are the nostalgic reason I love Halloween and making our costumes

However costume making can be treacherous…it’s not all adorable family photos and creative bliss!

What I Hate

Hot Glue Gun Burns – Glue gun burns hurt, linger for 72 hours, and gain little sympathy – yet every Halloween I put myself through the agony!  Pale, white hand scars are considered war wounds.  No pain no gain!

Minky Fabric – Minky fabric is the softest fabric you have ever felt and perfect for adorable lamb costumes.  However, when you cut this material the little fuzzies go everywhere…microscopic tiny fuzzies…everywhere!  Causing phantom nose itching for weeks after costume completion…well at least for me!

The “Freak Out” Moments –  This is the moment you realize you’ve wasted 2 hours on lamb hats that don’t fit the lambs, or that it is already midnight, or the dinosaur spots start falling off (sometimes sewing is better than hot gluing), or when your kids won’t take a photo desperately wanted by their mother… this list could go on! Can you hear the anxiety and desperation in my voice?

Kansas weather – Although “hate” is a harsh word for my feelings about Kansas weather, on Halloween it’s the “fear of the unknown” that drives me crazy. I am a planner and the weather is either too hot, too cold, too windy or too rainy. It’s a Kansas girl problem!

Megan Bayer Halloween 3

What I Love

Quality Family Time – Aside from the “freak out” moments, I really enjoy the process of creating something new from scratch, and I secretly like the problem solving moments. Throughout my life I have enjoyed sewing and quilting with my parents who have a studio here in town. I love planning, debating and designing the costumes with them, it’s a family affair. I look forward to the years when I can teach the girls, and we can all sew together.

Nostalgia – I love the family pictures, the feelings of awesomeness and uniqueness – No other kids on the block having a matching costume. I hope my girls will have feelings of nostalgia when looking a family photos 30 years down the road.

My Advice

Plan Ahead – How old are your kids? What type of events will they be attending? What is the weather like where you live? How much time do you have? Costumes take time, and we schedule creative time into our calendar, beginning months in advance.

Wearability – Constantly assess the costumes “wearability” especially if you are designing for a toddler – they have limited tolerance for clothing generally speaking. If its uncomfortable, itchy or obnoxious they might not wear it.  More elaborate costumes cMegan Bayer Halloween childhoodan be chosen based on the child’s developmental age.

Involve the Family – Simple tasks can be delegated to the kids, or you can work on the costume together as a couple. Or it can be one-on-one time with you and your favorite bottle of wine.

Finally, if you don’t have a hot glue gun…get one…you will need it!

A close friend made a compelling argument for a quick trip to Target, which is always my back up plan if my Halloween project goes south…but in all honesty…the moments feel like they are slipping away.

There are only a couple of days in a lifetime that a child proudly wears the costume their family made for them.  I will forever cherish the memories created making my children’s Halloween Costumes. For our family, it’s hardly time wasted!

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