Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Halloween Math

In an ideal world, there would be a large chain of Halloween exchange stores wherein you could borrow halloween costumes for free, not unlike a library.  To me, Halloween is a huge waste of resources.  People often complain about purchasing a wedding dress or a prom dress and wearing it for only one night, but I usually feel like the only parent that complains about Halloween costumes.  Think about it-- you are buying an outfit that your child will only wear once for a couple of hours (more if you are lucky) to beg for candy in.  At the end of the night, the most you can hope for is that you'll be able to pass it on to another sibling--that is, if the costume survives the night.

These are among the reasons that I refuse to make my kids costumes almost without exception.  Usually people are surprised by this due to the fact that I love to sew and craft so let me break it down for you:


Just about any seamstress knows that these days, you do not save money by making your own clothing--especially children's clothing.  If you are purchasing your materials retail, you usually spend way more than the cost of a ready made garment before you even put in the time and effort to make it.  Costumes are no exception.  Take this Cinderella costume for example:

*41/2 yds blue polyester satin fabric from$22.41. (plus more for shipping)
*notions (ribbon, interfacing, velcro etc) 10-20$
*Total cost: $42.92-52.92 depending on how crazy you go with the notions, and this isn't even including extras like a crown or gloves or shoes.

I found a much cuter one on ebay for under $30 dollars brand new including gloves and shipping


Last year I did actually make Greta's Tinkerbell Costume, it consisted of me hunting down a leotard and slippers, bleaching the pink out of them and then hand dying them green.  Then I had to cut a ton of green tulle strips and tie them on an elastic waistband, and make pom-poms out of yarn for her slippers.  On top of all of that, I had to purchase wings.

Through the night, Greta had a potty accident in her leotard, ripped a hole in her tights and ruined her slippers beyond repair.  So all of that money and work went down the toilet so to speak.

I think many people make the mistake of thinking that a halloween costume should be easier to sew than a regular garment, and this is simply not the case.  I guess technically you could get away with not finishing your seams or pressing, but the general construction is still the same.

I'd rather spend my time making something my daughter or sons would use over and over until they grow out of it--or better yet--something for me that I wouldn't grow out of (hopefully).

Hopefully I've convinced you to relieve yourself of the Halloween pressure and just purchase the cheapest thing you can for your kids this year, and then spend all of the time you would have on costumes for your handmade Christmas gifts (wink wink).


JujuBean said...

Amen, Sister! Brett's mom sewed a Apple Dumplin' costume for Belle two years ago . . . she wouldn't keep the hat one and went to three houses. I'm going to try a costume idea from Family Fun this year. They use 'round the house stuff for clever ideas. Think turning your guy into a Washing Machine or a lego. They think it's really cool, plus it's easier and cheaper!

Kara said...

I don't know, Ali. The costumes my mom handmade when I was a kid were some of my most favorite costumes. They were magical. And I am sorry, that Tinkerbell costume is AMAZING, no matter what state in ended up in.

ali said...

Oh Man Kara! I was hoping to not feel guilty about this!

Anonymous said...

You are exactly right!! I have never made a costume, and hope to continue that trend. I don't even like to spend the money to buy them, so I wait until the day before, and then they have to choose from what is left on the 1/2 price rack.

Oh, crap- I just remembered that I made Abigail a "Dorothy" costume last year!! Oops! But I only spent $5 on some cheap fabric, made it really fast and easy, and just used a shirt and shoes that we already had.

Anyway, this is way long already, but I mostly wanted to say that I got really lucky somehow, because they have all been the same thing for 2 years now, and they all want to be the same thing again. Now that is getting some value! Two of the costumes were $5 each, and one was $12, but it is just pajamas, and he wears them to bed on a regular basis.

I love halloween, but I am way cheap!

Jessica said...

I have never really wanted to make my kids costumes. You are right by the time you buy the pattern, fabric, and extras, plus the time. . .it adds up to costing more to make then to buy. And the biggest factor, I am not totally confident in my sewing skills at this point. The costume might turn out real scary.

Lisa L. said...

I am just discovering the world of halloween costumes. I agree with you on making them, but I am trying to do Ellie's out of stuff I don't have to sew. Last year we found a pumpkin shirt at target for $1 and matching socks, and paired it with stuff we already had (oh, my mom DID sew a simple little green hat for her), but she already had the fabric. We'll see how my theory goes when Ellie gets to tell me what she wants to be! This year, we are using and old costume Melinda had for Caroline.

Natalie said...

i'm torn. not unlike greta's tink tights. my favorite costume ever was the one that my mom made for me. however, i think that you can be creative with the costumes w/out having to sew or purchase much, if anything. piper's cleopatra was fun and almost free. it's more about the time and thought that your kids feel you give them than the actual expense and sewing. yes?

Jaylyn said...

Halloween is my favorite celebration ever and I can't wait to start working on my costume. Well, Costume Kingdom is a nice place for Halloween costume.