Posted by: Hannah | 09/09/2013

the masque of the red death

Well, it’s September 9th, which means Hallowe’en is six weeks away.

When I was a kid, I wouldn’t even have decided what I wanted for a costume yet. I’d just be getting started with thinking of ideas. Everyone would be expecting to change their minds at least a dozen times before the big day.

My kids are not like that. They decide on a costume, and they do not waver. I’m sure I’d be thrilled by their single-mindedness if I were a crafty mommy who could make Pinterest-worthy costumes from wishes, bailing twine, and Sculpey.

Since I’m not, Hallowe’en is rapidly becoming one of my least-favourite holidays.

This year, Harry wants to be an elf – specifically Legolas, but I think “generic awesome warrior elf” will do. Ron wants to be a hobbit. George of course has no opinion but if I can find a tiny little dwarf or wizard costume that would be awfully cute. Themes are fun! And hey, we’re right in the middle of a Hobbit trilogy movie cycle, surely it will be easy to find costumes?


Well, yes, actually. I found two US costume companies that have what look like decent costumes, at least at first. Then I did a little clicking and discovered that:

  • the “Legolas” costume includes a tunic and a belt. Bow, arrows, quiver, blond wig, and elf ears are ALL extras. In other words, all the bits I actually need because even someone as clueless as me can knock up a tunic / belt / cloak combo.
  • the “Bilbo Baggins” costume doesn’t include hobbit feet, instead showing a small boy in his bare feet wearing a generic knee-length pants / vest / jacket combo – the hobbit feet are really the key element, and while I’m pretty permissive about some things there is no way I’m letting Ron go trick or treating barefoot.
  • there’s a “Gandalf wizard” costume – robe / belt / pointy hat. Again, the beard, wig, and staff are all extra.

Just to see, I pretended I had more money than sense and filled my online shopping cart with everything I would need to give the kids convincing costumes. With shipping, international duties, and taxes, it would cost me ONE HUNDRED AND FORTY-SEVEN DOLLARS to get my two older kids geared up for maybe an hour’s worth of trick or treating – never mind poor George. You can be a ghost, George. Here’s your sheet.

So, I need to pare down, obviously. I’m going to have to get creative about the ‘accessories’ part. I have some costume bits from last year that will work well for this year, too. I’m sure I can figure it out and the hell of it is, no one in our neighbourhood has ever had a clue what the kids are “supposed to be” anyway.

Turns out that Hallowe’en costumes  bring out my inner competi-mommy. Huh. Who knew.



  1. Oldest is probably on his last or certainly second to last Halloween and I am thrilled. Sure, I still have to get Youngest through this since she’s only four, but these last few years have been an exercise in frustration over finding costumes, ordering costumes, and not spending what I consider to be a totally inappropriate amount of money on costumes. For the last three years or so I’ve mainly just felt old as I say to myself things like “$50 for a HP costume and the damned broom is extra? What ever happened to being something like grapes or a trash can? Costumes easy to make and cheap??” So, to sum up, Halloween has made me feel crabby, cheap, and old. Bah!

    • YES YOU ARE MY SOUL TWIN. Exactly to all of this, up to and including the Harry Potter costume issue (plus then they have to carry the broom / wand / whatever, gaaa).

  2. I’m trying to talk Jake into being Luke Skywalker again. His costume still fits. Alas, he wants to be Indiana Jones.

    • I wonder if I could talk them into being Jedi again? Their costumes still fit and we have many, many lightsabers… hmmm…

  3. Bow and arrows are things Harry can make himself, and would probably enjoy doing. (A long, bendy stick and string for the bow, shorter sticks and feathers — either real or cut from paper — for the arrows. Eeeeasy.) The quiver? I’d start with the cylindrical wine gift ‘boxes’ you can get, staple a strap to it, and paint it or wrap it in something. The ears are more of a challenge, but if you have a gag gift shop out there, I’ll bet you could find them inexpensively.

    • I love your idea for a quiver! Even non-crafty me could probably make *that* happen. YOU HAVE SAVED HALLOWEEN.

  4. Huh. My kiddos haven’t even considered Halloween yet…

    • As soon as it appears in the stores – which it did two weeks ago – they start talking about it in earnest.

  5. Since my kids have been obsessed with Diary of A Wimpy Kid all summer I am hoping they will want to dress like Greg Heffley, which would mean t-shirts, I guess?

    My mother in law has this great habit of buying off-season costumes and sending them for birthday presents, so when my kids consider halloween, they think: “Costume. Hey I have a costume under my bed! I’m going to be CAPTAIN AMERICA / OPTIMUS PRIME / WHATEVER FITS for Halloween.” 5 year old was a dog last year and the year before and might be a dog again.

    My luck may run out at some point. Probably this year since I just talked about it. #firstruleofparentclub #donttalkaboutit

    • That’s the thing – we have several costumes here, because dayhome. But they don’t like being the same thing twice, and so. I may need to put my foot down this year.

  6. I dread Halloween for the same reason. I miss throwing together costumes from household crap – actually I have been able to talk them into that a couple of times now that they’re older. I like themes too – I loved the year we were all Greek gods, not least because we mostly just needed sheets. Last year we were all zombie victims or zombies, but it was kind of lame. I want to be thrown together, but by someone better at throwing stuff together than me, you know?

  7. I echo what MaryP said about the bow & arrows. My 5 yr old just got dressed as Robin Hood for a book parade at school and those bits were dead easy to make. We used a Pringles tube for the quiver (though I’m not sure if you have those where you are) and for the arrow heads I cut triangles from a kitchen sponge. Added bonus of them being quite safe!

    • You crafty folks are awesome and wonderful. And we *do* have Pringles, so this is a good excuse to buy & then eat some. IT’S FOR THE CHILDREN.

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