Handmade Halloween: BOOTS!

Saturday, November 03, 2012

Growing up, we always did Halloween but it wasn't really that big of a deal.  Some years, my mom would sew our costumes (I dream of Genie! it snowed that year, and I was in lace pants and a crop top. Brrrrrrrrr....) and other years we would just pick something up (the dreadful french maid).  It was always a good time.  But in my husband's family, Halloween was a big deal.  His mom LOVED it... she would decorate the house and she made most of their costumes.  She loved dressing the kids up... a mouse, a ghost, a ninja.  Its fun to look back at pictures and see the costumes recycled through Sean's brother and sister as the years went by.

Sean's mom is no longer with us.  And its hard to know how to adquately incorporate her legacy into the life of our daughter.  Just like with teaching Gia about Whitney, we're learning as we go, and tell Gia about her Grandma Jill from time to time.  So Halloween is one of those times when she can know about Grandma Jill, and how much she loved the dress-up holiday.  And that's why I try to put a lot of thought and love into making Gia's costumes.  I think Jill would have loved dreaming up costume ideas with me, and of course seeing Gia in the final products.  Anyway, that's a little back story on why I like making Halloween special in our family.

Gia is all about Dora the Explorer in our house. When she wakes up, she says "Doda!" Then proceeds to run down the cast of characters: Boots!  Backpack!  Map!  Diego!  Its super cute.  I never thought I would let my kids get into cartoon characters like that, but I've learned a lot about saying "never" in parenthood.  For one, its just so darn cute when she says "Doda!"-- how can I withhold that from her?  And secondly, I think its near impossible to keep kids from being interested in cartoon characters.  They're made FOR kids, so that's obviously why the little ones like them.  So, I've swallowed the "my-kid-will-never-be-obsessed-with-a-cartoon-character" pride and am guilty of mildly indulging the cuteness.

I wanted to do family costumes because, lets get real- how many years will that possibilty be here?  It goes in the soon-to-be-extinct-upon-puberty category, along with ruffles, bows, leg warmers and fluffy dresses.  So I came up with the idea to make Gia Boots and Sean and I would be Dora & Diego.  Here's what we were going for, incase you're unfamiliar with them:

Our costumes would be pretty easy to pull together, and I knew we could use a lot of stuff we already had.  But Gia's proved to be a little more challenging.  I needed to find a good "base" for the costume, and was thinking I would find a light blue hoodie and sweat pants.  Its always cold in Indiana on Halloween so I knew it had to be warm.  I also knew that Gia will NOT wear a hat, but she will keep a hoodie on, hence the necessity for a hooded sweatshirt.  I kid you not, I looked at every single store in our town and the surrounding areas that sell kids clothing: Wal-Mart, Target, Kohl's, Children's Place, etc. etc.  I could not find light blue or light purple anywhere.  I found a couple other colors that might work but I wasnt' quite satisfied.  So I turned to Amazon and after a quick search for "hooded blue romper" I found this little gem from L'oved Baby.  Thanks to Amazon Prime, it was set to arrive in just 2 days.  And at only $17 (with free shipping, again thanks to Prime) it was still within the budget.  When it arrived, I was almost sad to cut it up and add to it, because it was so soft!  I seriously need to remember this line of clothing because the outfit felt so good, and you can tell its really well made.  So, here's how the costume making went down:

I cut out shapes for the ears and hair tuft on Boots, then sewed them together and stuffed them.  (I stuffed them with plastic grocery bags, since I didn't have any poly-fill and cotton balls seemed too expensive to use for just a costume.  They worked great!)  Then, I cut slits in the hood (took a deep breath before doing that!), inserted the pieces, and zig-zag stitched the pieces onto the hood.  Here's how it came out:

 Then, for the belly I just cut another piece of felt to shape and sewed that on.  This was a little tricky, trying not to stitch through the back layer, but it turned out great.  I also made a tail out of felt and attached it to the backside with just a saftey pin.  (I forgot the tail for our church Fall Fest, but remembered it for Trick or Treating!)  So here are some close up pics of that:

And then, the boots... I knew I couldn't find red boots anywhere, but I read somewhere that someone needed different colored boots for a costume, so they just put colored socks over an existing pair.  GENIUS!!!!!  It won't permanently alter the boots, and it was super cute!!  So I found these red socks at Old Navy for $1.  I bought them a couple sizes bigger than her shoes.

Now on to Sean and I's costumes... I found a pair of orange pants at Goodwill for $4.95.  I bought a wig at Wal-mart for $5, then went ahead and got the "official" Dora Backpack from Amazon (for $11).  Gia is crazy about the backpack!  I made a felt bracelet for myself to look like Dora's beaded bracelet.  For Sean, he wore clothes he already had, and we borrowed a vest from a friend's dad.  (I didn't get any good non-cell phone pictures of Sean in his costume, but hopefully you can get the idea!)

And now, some more pics.... 

I thoughts she was just the cutest little Boots I'd ever seen!! :)  What did you dress up as for Halloween?


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