Growing up, Halloween ALWAYS meant homemade. My mom would ask me and my little sister what we wanted to be, and then she would craft up costumes a thousand times better than anything we could have purchased. A few highlights from her costume reel included: my Crest toothpaste costume with the entire list of ingredients painted on my (t-shirt dress) tube and a topped with a lampshade cap. My sister was an adorable 1950's waitress with a messy tray of spilled milkshakes, beehive wig and cat-eye glasses. And then there was my sweet dad. Six feet tall and stuffed into a mermaid costume complete with a hand-sewn green sequence tale and purple sea stars strategically placed on his nude bodysuit. His long, bright red wig framed his mustache and broad shoulders, making the elementary school kids fall over giggling when he’d shuffle into class. My mom, wearing her hand-crafted witch costume, would be in the adjacent classroom laughing along with her kids as they craned their necks to get a peek at Mr. Andersen.
When it came to trick-or-treating, there was an older woman in our neighborhood who lived next door to Mimi’s parents and she would give out the best goodies. You had to get to her house early if you were going to come home with a yarn-doll or hand-dipped caramel apple (the only edible item that didn’t fall under my mother’s heavy scrutiny). These magical treats didn’t last long, and when she ran out, the house was darkened and you had to wait another year.
I put up ghost garland yesterday. It was the quick handmade Halloween-fix our home sorely needed. I drew up a pattern, and cut out about 20 ghosts from an old T-shirt. I sewed the pieces together with the rough sides out, added a little stuffing, and embroidery thread eyes, and then ran fishing wire through their heads for a floating look.
This year, I look forward to seeing the trick-or-treaters in my new neighborhood. There will be candy to hand out (the packaged stuff, since I’m not the well-known old lady in my ‘hood), there will be more decorations, there won’t be a mermaid costume for my husband, but I hope to get him into the spirit with some fangs or a funny hat… I’m crafting up options today… and I hope to be watching the Twilight Zone marathon between doorbell rings.
For me, Halloween marks the start of the handmade season. My head is swimming with recipes, crafts and gifts I look forward to trying out on friends and loved ones. Hooray for Halloween! On your marks, get set, CRAFT!