I found this great article that compares what Halloween was like for kids in the ’70s vs. what it’s like for kids today. I’m an ’80s baby, but I could relate to almost every part of this, except for the chain-smoking, less than interested mother; however with four kids, it was inevitable that she would be frantically running around an hour before trick-or-treating to put together costumes and pull off the pillowcases to hold our loot – love you mom!
We were always creative with our costume choices. I remember splurging once and buying the plastic princess mask, but can’t recall which princess. I guess the costumes from the store don’t stick in my mind like the ones we made ourselves.
One year, my mom dressed us all as hobos. To effectively dress as a hobo, you just have to pull as many mismatched items as possible from your closet and put them on together. You complete the look by painting red circles on your cheek and tying a handkerchief to the end of a stick. I imagine this was mom’s favorite of all the costumes. It didn’t even require sewing.
My personal favorite was the year I dressed up as death; I was 12. I grew up in an old farmhouse, the same house where my dad grew up. The house was a treasure trove of artifacts left behind, if you were willing to dig and willing to brave the haunted attic. It was in one of my archeological digs that I came across a black hooded garment that looked identical to the one you would associate with a reaper. I fashioned a sickle out of tin foil and a stick (sticks have an infinite number of uses) and I had a costume put together all by myself.
The next year i was invited to a big Halloween party with all the kids from my school. I still didn’t get a costume from the store, but my mom did a pretty impressive Wilma Flintstone dress on the sewing machine. The problem with a dress as a Halloween costume is that the temperatures in Iowa can dip down pretty low in October. By the time you leave the house, the costume has disappeared under several layers and you look just like everyone else. We were committed to detail with that one though, and she even made me a hair clip with a bone on it. Since we couldn’t get our hands on any dinosaur bones, we had to settle for a chicken bone saved from dinner the week before. We were certainly resourceful.
Did you wear homemade costumes as a kid? Comment below and tell me your all-time favorite costume.