The Great Costume Caper

“If you’re making mistakes, it means you’re out there doing something.”

-Neil Gaiman

This started in the summer. So I thought I had a handle on it.

“Mommy, I want to be a Pikachu for Halloween!”

“Mommy? Mommy. . . MOMMY (because I apparently didn’t acknowledge her fast enough)?! I want to be. . . Rainbow Brite.”

So I guess this year, the kids were going rogue. Until now, I decided what we were going to go as a collective family. And, I mean, I was usually pretty clever coming up with ideas (if i do say so, myself). I had to be. Ray is such a wonderful sport, and I tried to choose costumes that gave him as little discomfort as possible so that he would continue being a wonderful sport (although last year, I might have pushed it a little with the Santa costume).

So off I went to embark on my Great Costume Quest.

Catch Me If You Can

Well, all right. Pokeman is like, HUGE. How hard could it be to find a costume online?

Turns out, it’s not hard at all. But Lucy didn’t like anything she saw (I might have made the mistake of saying, “pick which one you want” and the number of choices short circuited her 8-year-old brain). . .until I heard a gasp.

“Mommy . . .THIS ONE.”

And, of course, it had to be a $200 character suit.


“But, mommy, you said . . .”


I was brought back to that time when I was 16 and went to one of those “modeling audition” scams, absolutely convinced that they actually thought I had talent, and that my mother was dashing my dreams by not allowing me to take their $1500 acting workshop. Lucy was unable to comprehend that I wouldn’t spend the money to allow her to completely immerse herself in a character. She even let me know she would pay for it herself out of her birthday money.

I let her ask her father. He’s better at dream dashing than I am. Somehow, the kids come out smiling after he says no.

Which he did. Thank God.

But while I was searching for a comparable substitute, I did manage to find the cutest sweatshirt ever. Which was $100. Which also was not happening.

Ahhh, I said, but how hard could it be to make one?


If you look at the Pikachu, it’s relatively simple: Bright yellow, circle eyes, circle cheeks. The tail and ears might be tricky, but I found those online and figured I could just sew them on as they were. Right? Couple brown stripes on the back, boom! Done.


Yup! That’s what I would do, and I would come to the rescue! Far ahead of the Halloween rush, I got all the felt, ears and tail (pre-made) and shelved it. I still had time!

Toto, We Aren’t In The 80’s Anymore

Hooray! It was a great flashback . . .Alexa wanted to be Rainbow Brite this year.

Rainbow Brite made a serious comeback recently when Hallmark marketed directly to my heart by producing Itty Bittys which of course I had to have and share with the littles.

Could you just DIE?!

And since Rainbow Brite had been so popular, how hard could it be to find a costume online?

Honestly? Not so hard. But all I found were cheap, one-time wear, not entirely accurate costumes (kind of my hang-up). Not a whole lot of variety out there, either (apparently, the craze has not quite caught on, yet).

Well, I was already creating a Pikachu costume for Lucy . . .how hard could it be to just make one that I liked?

So, I got a Cinderella dress to alter, and colored felt for the suspenders and embellishments. Grabbed rainbow leg warmers, and decided to Google Moon boots online. Boom! Shelved it, and done. I still had time. . .

How Hard It Can Be

Well, when you get ahead of the game as far as I was with these costumes, you either full-steam ahead and finish early . . .or you get complacent and cocky and leave it until the last minute.

You can guess which route I took.

In my defense, I did not anticipate the amount of work that my Brownie meeting was going to entail the two week period prior to Halloween. . .another project I thought I had a handle on (yes, I’m beginning to sense a pattern as well, thanks).

I also did not anticipate the looks of disdain from my Pikachu:

“Mommy, why do the eyes look funny? That doesn’t look like Pikachu, I’m sorry to say, I know how hard you worked” (She’s quite sensitive to my feelings).

Nor the obvious discomfort of my Rainbow Brite:

“Mommy?! It’s itchy! This is not comfortable, I don’t want to wear it!” (She’s not at all sensitive to my feelings).

5 days to go. . .

Since Moon boots that would have totally rocked Alexa’s look were way out of price point, and bright  yellow Uggs were impossible to find, we were going to have to compromise accuracy for ability to acquire. So, I found some Converse at the outlet on sale, and decided to dye them.

And my backyard lawn.

And by the way, Rainbow Brite’s shoes were red, not blue.

I was going to have to bring in glitter and stars on this one to distract. One should never divulge details of any costume plan to a four-year-old. They have all the room in their brains in the world to remember those things.

4 days to go . . .

Working the sewing machine nice and slow . . .looks great! Go to cut and pull it out . . .can’t find the back of the string because I accidentally sewed the back of the dress to the front and the extra layer is in the way.

Cut string, re-sew.

The machine starts running funny, and I realize that the bobbin string snapped. I go back to the manual to find the section on how to re-thread. I find it, but I must be missing something because it still refuses to thread. After about a half hour of searching on the internet because I can’t get it to work, I figure out that I was working the machine in the opposite direction (it’s a “righty-tighty, lefty-loosey” kind of thing). It’s fixed in two seconds once I do what I’m supposed to do. But I have to redo all the previous sewing because only one side has thread.

OOOOK. Let’s try this again.

Moving at a pretty good clip on the sewing machine, feeling pretty good about myself, what else could go . . .?


Needle breaks off at the tip.

No back-ups.

Of course.

3 days to go . . .

Missing green felt. When I’m making a Rainbow Brite costume. Brilliant. Back to Michael’s.

2 days to go. . .

The tail on Pikachu needs to be held up by some kind of velcro . . .and I get three needles and three poked fingers out of sewing it on. Thank goodness I have the brown stripes to sew on that will cover the blood stains.

Night before . . .

Done! Done! Wine poured!

No wait . . .the Rainbow Brite wig needs styling. I kind of give up when it just looks like the suggestion of a ponytail. There is a chance that Alexa will reject it. A chance. At least there’s the bow which looks amazing. . .


The chickens’ costumes are packed up for their afternoon celebration and at school, I realize my Pikachu is without shorts. My Rainbow Brite is without socks.

Sigh. Thank God for Target.

But they made it! I made it. They look adorable (yup, no wig on Alexa), I get mad props, and everyone’s happy. And I think I need a week’s worth of sleep to get my brain back in order.

“Mommy? Mommy . . .MOMMY. .?”

Until next year.

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