Sunday, October 30, 2011
Halloween 2011: The Owl
I'm not sure what chemicals we were on when we decided to make Penny's Halloween costume this year. Haven't I complained enough about how busy and out of control my life is? In truth, I'm not sure I would have tackled this project if Britt hadn't been so certain we could pull it off. But he said he could make it, and I said, "You can?" Why do I keep forgetting that I married such a multi-faceted man?
Back in the day, my mom made our costumes every year, and we still talk about those costumes with utter reverence. The same goes for the birthday cakes she made. The woman was amazing, but I've never really felt pressure to be like her in that way. I admire people who make their own brilliant and creative costumes, but up until now, that hasn't really been my style. I want to make things, but the lack of time and energy always interferes.
At the beginning of September, Penny declared she wanted to be a witch for Halloween, and I thought, "Yes!" because that's an easy costume to find — there are a plethora of witch costumes out there. But a couple of weeks later, she told me she wanted to be an owl. I'm not sure where that idea came from, but I kept asking her if she wanted to be a witch or an owl, and she was resolute in her owl decision. So I started looking online for costumes and ideas (and friends and family sent me links too), which yielded this and this and this. There were no aesthetically pleasing, ready made in-store owl costumes to be found. The Alphamom version was by far the most appealing to me, hence the decision to tackle it ourselves.
I wanted a mask with real feathers, and I felt that the costume needed some wings. So, I went to Michael's in search of feathers, a mask, and glue, and I went to JoAnn's for some fabric. I went with inexpensive fabric with patterns that I liked, although the old t-shirt idea from Alphamom is a good idea too. Then I found a black turtleneck and leggings in Penny's size (actually, I bought a size up, in case she wants to be an owl for a while).
I'll glue, you sew.
I used the template for the fabric feathers from the Alphamom link, enlarged it a wee bit, and printed it out. I spent a weekend cutting out fabric and gluing feathers onto the mask. One of the cats got the first version of the mask while we were out one day, because I stupidly didn't think to hide it. So, another weekend was spent fixing the cat-mangled mask. Meanwhile, Britt borrowed his mom's 1970s Singer sewing machine, and after swearing a bit, got it fired up and ready to go. He sewed the fabric feathers in rows and came up with the wings for the sleeves. He is THE MAN. I can't believe he remembers what he learned in Home Economics all those years ago. I certainly don't! What I remember is that I hate sewing!
Don't mess with a Teamster who can sew.
The last thing I had to do was make eyes out of crepe paper and tie the mask with elasticized string so it would fit on Penny's head. She wasn't too keen on wearing the mask at first, but caught the vision at her school's Trunk or Treat event.
My greatest fear while we labored on it was that no one would be able to tell what she was. In some ways, the costume looks like a raggedy Carmen Miranda ensemble. The mask has feathers and eyes, but otherwise isn't overly owl-like. But then a friend wisely pointed out that none of that was going to matter to Penny, because SHE would know that she's an owl. Thanks, Anabel. You're so right.
Apparently, people decorate their trunks for Trunk or Treat. Oops. We didn't have any creative energy left.
Of COURSE she's an owl! Penny adores her costume, and we've already gotten some mileage out of it. She wore it to dance class Tuesday, then to Trunk or Treat on Friday, and tomorrow her preschool is having a Halloween party, not to mention the Trick or Treating we'll be doing in our neighborhood. And it's a fitting outfit for her dress-up collection, which will accrue items as we take on projects like this from year to year.
I'm proud of our handiwork. We totally channeled my mom. And it was another reminder that Britt and I make a good team, that we can be crafty and creative together, and that we can divide and conquer. And the best part is, when people ask Penny if her mom made her costume, she says, "My mom AND dad made it." Huzzah!