Thursday, January 7, 2016

Mini Costume Box

The gift I was most excited to give this year was to Mona.  It's a box of little figures made from the scraps of her old Halloween costumes.
It wasn't exactly a surprise since I did the same for Aden when she turned 12, but Mona was delighted by her box.  Aden's box still makes her weepy.  Mona is not as sentimental, but always appreciative, so it was a different sort of reaction this time around.  It was still worth the effort to hand stitch all those little costume figures, and I like the idea of my kids having mini versions of their Halloween costume memories to hold onto (rather than feel they must forever keep the actual costumes).

Mona didn't repeat herself in her costume choices the way Aden did, so there were more figures to make.  She was a kangaroo twice, and she inexplicably didn't want to wear a costume at all one year, but otherwise she has been something new every Halloween.

I'd actually forgotten that Mona's first costume was a kangaroo.  I had it in my head that she wore Aden's bunny costume from that age, but I guess if I was making a new costume for Aden it seemed cute to have them match.

The next year I made Mona a skunk just because I thought she'd make an adorable skunk.

After that Mona ignored Halloween for some reason, and from then on she had all kinds of ideas about what to be.

The only costume Mona ever wore out completely was her giraffe costume.  That girl loved being a giraffe and she was a giraffe at the grocery store and on the playground and awake and asleep....  Part of me will always see her as the girl in the giraffe costume no matter what else she wears.

(And this is here because as far as sibling pictures go, this sums up a lot of things and makes me laugh:)

I think my favorite Mona costume though, was when she wanted to be a trumpeter swan.  I had to think about what to do with that for a while.  The most important element I decided was to make the wings a separate piece so she could wear them later with anything and not be tied to the specific costume, and that worked out well because those wings got a lot of use later.  Mona liked the idea of having the swan's head be on top of her own head to add height.  The toy trumpet was to help people identify the type of swan she was (that mattered a lot to Mona).  Even then she was practical in interesting ways about her costume construction.  She wanted pants she could wear again as regular pants, and a shirt that could be adjusted but then converted back to be worn later as a regular shirt.  I like that she's wearing my shoes.  (I still wear those shoes.)

Mona's been a dalmatian and a bat and a raccoon....

The hardest little figure to sew was the crocodile.  Most of my kids' costumes are made out of fleece, which is great because the edges don't fray (and it's soft and warm, which in Wisconsin in October is the difference between wearing a costume and wearing a costume with a coat over it).  But the crocodile fabric was fussy stuff, and I had flashbacks of how hard it was to work with as I made the mini figure.  (I wound up making the teeth from bits of a Q-tip because I didn't have access to the clay we used on the real costume and this last figure took me down to the wire so I had to make do.)

My only concern making these little guys was knowing that Mona could probably make them better at this point.  (I could actually make them better, honestly, but I like them looking a bit rough and hand-stitched.)  The past couple of years Mona has taken an active role in her costume construction, with the tapejara headdress being of her own design, and she did most of the actual sewing on her griffon costume this past Halloween.  It's one thing to make little copies of your own work, and another to be copying someone else's.  (If Mona had any criticisms she politely kept them to herself!)

Anyway, it was a fun project (even if I left it to the last minute which was hell on my fingertips with that needle), and it made Mona happy which is all I can ask for.  Quinn may already planning his upcoming costumes based on what he'll want to see in his box one day.  Thankfully that day is a few years off still, and my fingers will have a chance to recover!

You never really know which things you do will be what your children cherish or remember.  Often it's the words said that were off the cuff or moments stumbled into by accident, but I am confident that their Halloween costumes have meant something to them, and this little box of Mona figures makes me happy as a way to mark that.  I'm glad she liked it as much as I liked making it.


  1. This post just makes me want to weep, for so many reasons. How beautiful, all of it.

  2. We should all have wee boxes filled with our tangible memories. Beautiful idea and well executed. I love seeing Mona as trumpeter swan and crocodilian.

  3. Beautiful! (The idea, and the costumes- and the box! 😀). What a fun way to preserve memories without taking up space!!