I still remember the hand-sewn and stuffed colourful arm and leg bands and dress my mom made for me years ago for one of my very first costumes.
Stripes of red, orange, yellow, green and blue in puffy sleeves and ankle rolls transformed me from a young child into my then-favourite cartoon character Rainbow Brite.
Any of you ’80s babies may recall Brite, along with her flying horse Starlite (with matching rainbow coloured mane and tail) and her little sprite sidekick Twink. There were also her pals, the colour kids.
Together, the colourful clan’s mission was to make the world brighter and hearts lighter by replacing darkness with colour and light.
Their awesome intent in life, and the creatively colourful way of displaying it, obviously had a profound impact on my life. Hence my desire to be just like Rainbow Brite.
But it was my mom’s creativity, time and dedication that made the real transformation that Halloween. And it wasn’t the first, nor would it be the last.
From my obsession with Popples and Lady LovelyLocks and the Pixietails to Jem and She-Ra, mom helped me bring them all to life. She even duplicated me into a larger, identical version of one of my favourite stuffed animals once.
These days though, you can buy a pre-made costume of your favourite character cheaper than you can make it. But I still relish the homemade classics. They are obviously so much more unique.
While my own sewing ability is about as good as my baking (I’m admittedly not a very good housewife), the creative side isn’t completely lost on me. Especially when it comes to Halloween. They might not be homemade — but I have a tickle trunk full of costumes, which I shared with some friends who were strapped for Halloween recently.
And despite the novelty of those store-bought characters, the kids were actually more interested in the unique costumes I had scrounged together with my second-hand store buys and some additions versus the factory-made costumes.
Perhaps my favourite was Medusa — something I had created and dressed up as at least a decade ago. Thankfully I had kept the semi-homemade dress and wire-wrapped snakes that make up the Greek monster’s hair.
And my friend’s daughter was over the moon with the idea and the novelty of the costume.
That’s a pretty awesome feeling when you can create something out of nearly nothing — a few thrift-shop buys, some dollar store additions, a little face paint and voila: one happy kid.
Even her brother borrowed an item that he planned on putting together with a few things from home, and a little fake blood, to create his own custom-made costume.
I had to get a little more creative with my own daughter who was set on being a panda. My lack of sewing skills, and the lack of any pre-made bear suits, forced us to get creative. So with a fuzzy sweater, vest, gloves, black and white hair spray and face paint I will hopefully be able to transform my little girl into her dream creation, just as my mom did for me years ago. I think mom would be proud, although she surely would have done a much better job.
As for me, my time and energy is spent, therefore the store-bought outfit will have to do, but I still think it’s pretty creative.