To tell you the truth, I'm not much for Halloween. That's strange, too, because a) I like dressing up; b) I love candy; and c) you'd think it would make a fun prelude to my birthday. But there it is. I'm kind of a Halloween minimalist.
We don't usually carve pumpkins; I'd rather bake them and turn them into pies and muffins. We never get trick-or-treaters at our door; instead, we all travel to Cold Spring's Parrott Street for the best block party around. I DO make sure everyone has a costume of some sort, however. Some years, we all just raid our massive collection of dress-up stuff and come up with new and winning combinations.
Hope as a mermaid, Tess in the Tigger outfit that everyone has worn at least once, and the boys as Yu-Gi-Oh! characters.
Here's a photo that five-year-old Christian took of Patrick and pregnant-with-Hope-me dressed up as Han Solo and Princess Leia. (Imagine my bitterness when people at the dance thought we were Joseph and Emma. My cinnamon-roll buns just weren't big enough; I should have used hair extensions.)
But once in a while--usually once per kid, in fact--I'll go all out and make the fabulous costume of that kid's current dreams.
There was the year Christian was a Bug Attack. (And James wore Tigger.)
And the year that James was Harry Potter. (James is also a Halloween minimalist.)
But when the girls came along, we took costume-making to a whole new level of elaborateness. Here's Princess Hope in a dress that I sewed just for her out of pink and lavender satin:
And Mermaid Tess, with elaborate, hand-sewn-and-embroidered-and-beaded bodice and tail and purse:
This year? It was Daniel's turn. At about the end of August, he started asking me to make him a Halloween costume. His first choice was some crazy new Pokemon, but then he changed his mind: he wanted to be Link.
If you don't have children who play video games, you might not know that Link is the hero of The Legend of Zelda and its many sequels/permuations.
That didn't look too difficult, I thought. I could sew the tunic and hat, and we have tons of play swords and shields lying around. I agreed.
Then I started doing some research. The internet is a marvelous thing, friends. It boggles the mind what is out there.
Daniel also did some looking, and began printing out images for my reference. "Here's the Hylian Shield," he informed me. (Okay, I guess I'm making a shield after all.) "And I'm really going to need an ocarina."
Right. Fortunately, at the Dutchess County Sheep & Wool Fair a couple of weeks ago, we found the coveted musical instrument. I was talking to a maple syrup vendor when Daniel came rushing up to me. "MOM, MOM! Good news!" He dragged me over to another booth, where a very clever man was playing "Zelda's Lullaby" on a handmade ocarina. It was a very Pied Piper moment--gaggles of kids crowded around him, spellbound by the familiar melody. Did I end up buying one? You betcha.
The next morning, I woke up with a flash of inspiration. Instead of sewing the hat, I'd knit it. That way Daniel could wear it all winter long. I could knit some fingerless mitts and call them "gauntlets," too. As a bonus, the costume would be a little warmer. That's always good. I remember one year when I was a kid, I felt beautiful in THE most fabulous gypsy costume--but my mother (prudently) made me wear my coat over it when we went out, and that was a drag.
So--the base for Link: white baseball pants (handed down from James's Little League days) and a white Under Armour turtleneck, about $7 at Target. Next, a trip to Michael's, where we bought foamcore sheets, paint, and some craft plastic for the shield. Michael's also had super inexpensive, emerald green (real) wool for the hat and some matching green cotton fabric for the tunic.
This gal inspired me with her overall thoroughness in approach and attention to detail without spending a fortune. Our tunic was even more basic--just a piece of the green fabric folded with the selvedges at the bottom (so no hemming or shoulder seams). After I cut out the T-shaped body, I folded it again and cut out the neck. I made a very basic neck facing, then hemmed the sleeves, then sewed up the side seams. The whole thing took me about 45 minutes, including the ironing.
The hat took a couple of hours of World Series/movie watching, and the gauntlets took a couple more. Those I made from some leftover sock yarn, which I double stranded so that the knitting would go faster.
Once I finished the shield, I thought we were done--but then, we saw this cool video and accompanying website, and I sorta had to make the sword. After all, I already had an extra piece of foamcore--and I loved that this guy had designed the sword so that all the pattern pieces would fit on one piece--all I needed was some spray paint and some electrical tape. The electrical tape is another genius touch, since if you painted the sword's handle, the paint would rub off on your hands when you played with it.
I planned to make the sword this past Saturday night, but then we lost power. So Sunday afternoon, I cut out and assembled the pieces. Oh, but there was a problem: I needed my hot glue gun. Instead, I melted several glue sticks in an aluminum pie tin on top of our pancake griddle and used a plastic knife to spread the glue like frosting. It worked just fine.
So now, the outfit is complete. Daniel will wear his snow boots, since I wasn't about to buy/make brown boots--but apparently at some point, Link has to battle in water and wears blue boots, anyway, so it's all good. Isn't he darling? (Don't tell him I wrote THAT. I'm pretty sure Link isn't supposed to be darling.)
Yes, he even told me as I took the pictures, "Mom, Link does NOT smile."