Kate, I know you know this, but I love Halloween. I love fall, and pumpkins, and skeletons, and ghosts, and decorations, and candy. What I love best of all are costumes. I have adored getting dressed up since I was a kid, which led to a large collection of wigs in college (most of which, I still own) and on to more and more ambitious costume making when any event even suggested the need to dress up.
My mother would help us with Halloween costumes when we were younger if we had a particularly ambitious idea, but for the most part the planning and execution was left up to us. In our attic there was a big box of interesting garments and old wigs that we were free to pick through and assemble our look. This gave us freedom to improvise and create with what we had on hand, and change our mind at the last possible minute if we wanted to. It is also worth mentioning that my mother is great at throwing together a costume from her own closet, as well as an amazing seamstress. I like to think these costuming qualities rubbed off on me.
Once I got to college the boom of sexy Halloween had started, but not blossomed into what it is now twenty years later. I liked to make things that were presumably sexy, but were, in fact ridiculous (I still do, really). Exposed fiber-filled, flannel breasts with pink satin nipples on a mermaid? Yes! A Medusa headdress and snake-coil bustier made from a giant pair of faux snake skin pants? I will spend hours and hours carefully sewing all those snakes. And yes, an anatomically correct Adam and Eve flannel costume set for my husband and I, complete with a below-the-fig-leaf puppetry element. There is something exciting about working hard on a project where the only expectations you have to live up to are your own. I like to pick a costume I am not entirely sure how to make (often inspired by some supplies I have laying around) and just jump in knowing if I fail, well, it is only Halloween. I like the low stakes of this.
After focusing on my own costume for so many years, I had children. Honestly, I cannot think of many things more fun than coming up with absurd costume ideas for children. My first year of motherhood I decided that, because my baby was bald, the best costume would be one involving a wig, and the even better choice would be baby Marie Antoinette. By some miracle, she kept that yarn wig on her head for hours. The next year I fringed a lot of felt to make a pinata costume, which looked amazing when she walked. I was going to have my husband and I wear blindfolds and carry a bat, but we couldn't pull it together that year. The following year I had another baby to costume and it suddenly became obvious I wasn't going to be making costumes for myself for a long time, but this was BETTER. That year I worked to make a tiny shrimp costume that looked good even when the baby was strapped in her carrier, and her big sister was a flamingo. I'm not going to list every costume I made, but this year I am particularly excited about this saguaro cactus and baby barrel cactus duo that will be hitting the streets on Halloween.