See what I did there? Except now it’s two weeks late because, as I previously mentioned, the PC shat itself.
Here’s how this post started last week:
In keeping with my usual impeccable timing and highly developed organising skills, here’s my Halloween post exactly seven days late.
…A clear case of tempting fate. Anyway here’s the post, late a bit more than that. I hope I haven’t talked it up too much now.
Disclaimer: This post is based on actual events. In certain cases incidents, characters and timelines have been changed because I felt like it. Any similarity to a proper post is merely coincidental and the Company (me) accepts no liability for the time you waste reading it.
Halloween was a cracker again this year, the second consecutive year of a new neighbourhood tradition. Last year J and J, our new Aussie/ American neighbours, kicked it off – their girls missed the States and loved trick or treating, and we decided to join in as Finn had only just relented to wearing any kind of dress-up a few days before… and discovered he liked it after 4 years of flat refusals. Roars spent most of that first Halloween clinging limpet-like to my neck as he was terrified to the point of trauma by all the scary costumes. It was awesome! And he wasn’t traumatised much. He’s fine now.
Anyway, almost everyone spontaneously decided what a great idea and it’s become a thing. We’ve embraced fake cobwebs stuck on doorways, carved jack o’ lanterns and adorable little people wandering around dressed as weirdos. This year Roars was delighted to become a pirate for the evening, and I was also delighted as we already had pirate stuff. Finn however had been saying for ages he wanted to be a Jedi, so I had to break out my mad crafting skillz. Behold.
What You’ll Need:
- About an hour in between doing the dishes and finally vacuuming the floor
- Plain light coloured t shirt
- Dark coloured trousers
- A couple of metres of cream/khaki/light brown coloured calico at about 3 bucks a metre – the cheapest homespun-looking material you can find. If you have an old, off-white bedsheet use that, but avoid any stains; you don’t want your kid looking like Druggie Jedi.
- Dark brown quilting ‘fat square’, halved and stapled together on two long ends to make an obi-style wide belt – 4 bucks
- About 50 staples, only the best quality will do. (They have to do a lot.)
- Light coloured thread for tacking in the highly visible parts, ie hemming the neck and front panels, and hemming the sleeves.
- Any coloured thread you’ve got left for tacking the highly delicate areas; you wouldn’t want staples in your armpits, for example.
- A little patience. Just a little, because I have hardly any patience for this sort of thing and I actually managed ok.
- Sneaky energy-giving chocolates from the trick or treat bowl. You could even have a wine if you prefer because it’s technically a holiday, right?
- The Internets. (Sorry, I can’t find the basic tunic pattern I used. I’m sure you can find a better one.)
- Sewing scissors
- a thin belt
- Plain, non-glittery wool that sorta matches the colour of your child’s hair, plaited 3 strands thick and tied on behind their right ear if they’ll let you.
- Plastic Jedi light sabre received for birthday the week before or a long cardboard roll painted with blue/red/purple neon paint or glow in the dark paint or regular paint. Or the roll of alfoil from the kitchen if once you’ve got to this point the number of shits you give totals zero.
And finally, coach your child in the appropriate “VVVMMMM” light sabre sound effects for defending against the various scum roaming the streets. If they can manage it, add in some simple catchphrases such as “Judge me by my size, do you?” and “Treat me or trick you, I will!”
It’s amazing what you can do with a bit of calico and a stapler. Who needs a sewing machine? The front panels weren’t wide enough to cross over properly, they only *just* covered Finn’s tummy since I forgot he was in 3D and not actually flat like the t shirt I used for sizing. Duh. No problem, I can just unpick my staples and cut new panels from the loads of spare material. And don’t worry if you run out of time to staple hem the bottom and there’s threads hanging down looking like shit all over the place; that’s what Photoshop is for.
ADDED BONUS COSTUME: Simply remove light sabre for instant Kung Fu Master.
I used to dismiss Halloween as ‘American crap’ (sorry, Americans) but I’ve since learned of course it isn’t originally American at all (sorry again) and also not actually crap. The traditions have changed a bit since being imported to the States, but that’s just people sharing / pinching other people’s ideas and altering them to suit, thus creating culture. Since Halloween – Hallowe’en – All Hallow’s Evening – has its origins in the ancient Celtic festival known as Samhain, and since “The Celts” included the ancient Irish and since the boys have Irish blood that goes back for generations on their Dad’s side, we’re technically honouring their ancestors and getting cultured and stuff.
So, being this extremely traditional family, we’re picking and choosing the stuff we want to do. Trick or treating is fun and is great for building the community vibe so that’s in. I’d love to rip the guts out of a defenceless vegetable but the
husband family hates pumpkin and I abhor waste so jack o’lanterns are out. Tealight candles in glass jars can light up our long, dark, scary driveway and prevent possibly litigious neighbours from falling into the gully while also looking pretty so they are in. Next year I might also hang a low-budget, fairy-light poltergeist off one of the trees.
We also added another element, one which was an important part of the original celebration but has since been mostly forgotten; much like Christmas is now more about holiday cheer and gift giving than it is about Jesus’ birthday. Other festivals around this time have a stronger spiritual aspect, like Dia de los Muertos (‘The Day of the Dead’) in Mexico – also on the 31st of October – All Saints’ Day (1st of November), and All Souls’ Day (2nd of November), so we’re combining them. From this year onwards we have a new tradition at our place: to light candles to remember those we’ve lost and treasure their memory; maybe they’ll join in the fun too.