Halloween lessons from *Using Our Words*

We met Amy Heinz at BlogHer and I started following her on Twitter. When the conversation turned to costumes, I asked her to share her Halloween story here. Amy blogs at Using Our Words and during the daylight hours, she works in Marketing at Yahoo!

When my first son, “Big”, was about a year old, I decided the perfect costume for a Heinz would be a ketchup bottle. My mother-in-law who sews was game. She traveled up from San Diego to help us get started. We couldn’t find a pattern, so we had to create one. We photocopied a ketchup bottle and kept enlarging it to try to get the right dimensions and used a candy corn pattern to figure out how to make it rounded. We used foam to give the bottle shape and decided to leave it open on the sides so it wasn’t too claustrophobic. We used the photocopies to create the patterns for the shield and letters—all of which were made out of felt (and meticulously cut by my extremely patient, perfectionist husband). I hand painted the other details and personalized the age and weight for fun.

This all required some back and forth shipping, of course. And when the huge fires hit San Diego, my in-laws were evacuated. My mother-in-law called crying at 6am one morning to tell me that they’d packed everything they could into their two cars and were driving north…”And don’t worry, I’ve got the costume!”

As all moms know, you can pour your heart and good intentions into something, but when you’re dealing with an 18-month old, you’ve gotta be flexible. That’s why we were ok with the fact that he wore it for less than 2 seconds…at least we got that precious picture. And, of course, we had a back-up plan.

Hey look, Mommy can wear a toddler's costume!

Now he’s considering wearing it this year…considering…

Curious George and the Man with the Yellow Hat

Last year, Big wanted to be Curious George. My husband was horrified by the idea of a mass manufactured costume. We compromised. I said I’d make Little’s. I found a white onesie and white pants (which happen to have a little pink heart on them because little boys aren’t supposed to wear white pants?) to dye yellow. I found the perfect brown slippers at Old Navy and spent hours at the fabric store and online trying to figure out the key piece—the signature yellow hat. After going at a styrofoam cone with a butcher knife late one night, my husband suggested I do what I hate most—ask for help. My neighbor, who’s a whiz with a sewing machine, helped me make an almost perfect hat. I used black fabric paint to add the tie (not my finest work, I’m afraid) and belt, and the costume was ready to go.

Turns out an 11-month old isn’t a huge fan of wearing heavy, awkward hats. So instead he crawled along side his brother and everyone commented on how cute it was that the monkey had a banana. Ugh.

Next year, I’m all for getting creative. Without losing my mind (or a couple days of my life).

Get more Amy at usingourwords.com