In direct opposition to the verse at the end of yesterday’s post, I bought the boys’ Halloween costumes this year.

Every year, it’s a dilemma…make or buy?  My preference would usually be to make, but it doesn’t always happen that way.  Sometimes it is a matter of “I just can’t make something look as good for the same price.”  Sometimes I actually realize my limits.  And sometimes, I do make them, usually with Mom’s help.  This year, the boys wanted to be Darth Vader and Bumblebee (a Transformers character).  I got both costumes, on sale, for around $20 combined at Party City.  Could I have made them?  Probably.  Would they have looked as authentic?  Definitely not, especially for the price.  So this year, we bought.  And the boys are thrilled.  Ecstatic, even.  And isn’t that the point?

I mentioned yesterday that I love Halloween.  I owe this love to Mom and Dad.  Mom often made our costumes, and sometimes bought.  I remember fondly both our handmade witch’s costume and my Gene Simmons mask.  (I was in Kindergarten, I think?  Maybe first grade?  That my mother let her five-or-six-year-old daughter wear a plastic KISS mask is just awesome.)  The house was always decorated.

When I was about four, I had a Halloween party for my little friends.  Daddy dressed up as the Incredible Hulk.  (Back then, there was always an “Incredible” preceding the “Hulk.”)  Mom made a shiny, round jack o’lantern pinata.  I ran through the house, screaming gleefully with my friends, eventually hiding under the dining room table from Dad in his green body paint, torn jeans, and an old blouse of mom’s that he had put on and ripped at the seams, just like Bruce Banner.

Dad also acquired a fabulously creepy old man mask, with matching gloves (gnarly old hands).  Every Halloween, he would wear a black suit, the mask & gloves, a cape, and a top hat.  We had half the kids in the neighborhood convinced that our “Uncle Creepy” visited every year in October.  He would sit in Mom’s old bentwood rocker on the front porch, next to a cauldron of candy, and move ever so slightly.  Sometimes, the garage would be decorated, Mom would dress as a Vampiress and lie on a spare twin bed brought out for the occasion, and – after we’d patrolled the neighborhood for candy – Heather and I would hide behind a sheet, rattling the snow chains.

But I digress.  I love dressing up for Halloween.  If I had my way, we’d dress in theme each year.  I managed to get all four of us in one theme only once:

The boys’ costumes were white thrift store turtle necks and king sized pillowcases, draped with cheesecloth.  Jason’s and mine were courtesy of ebay.  Nicky hated this costume once we got it done – seeing his own face painted really freaked him out!

Another triumphant year for handmade costumes in theme was 2004.  That Halloween fell in the brief period where both boys’ love of Thomas the Tank Engine overlapped.  I really didn’t like the two-dimensional Thomas costumes available on the market, so Mom helped me with this one.  She also adapted an Uncle Sam pattern to make Kalen’s Sir Topham Hat costume.

Apparently, it was all a little much for Nicky…

I was so darn proud of that Thomas face.  LOL

Last year, we split the difference.  One reused, handmade costume for an excited little boy, and one store-bought Dementor costume for an excited bigger boy.  (Note that this was also the year their mother was on-the-ball enough to have them dress up while it was still daylight for a decent outdoor shot.  I finally got it right, on the 8th Halloween…)