Halloween, or, Hangin’ with my Gnomies…and a Flamingo

It’s almost sick how much fun a family of four can have for about ten dollars.

I don’t remember exactly when we decided to do a family theme for Halloween, but I do remember that we bounced around a lot of ideas, including Teletubbies (which Lupe decided that no self-respecting sixth grader would be caught dead as). When we knew that Yard Art was the 2011 theme, it was a no-brainer that Rue would be a flamingo. A#1: it’s pink. B#2: It’s her favorite animal. We spend a lot of time staring at sleeping flamingos at the zoo.

You haven’t known love until you’ve driven all the way to to zoo, spent 30 minutes staring at sleeping flamingos, then had a five-year-old tell you that she wants to go home.

Lupe was originally going to be a toadstool with a frog attached at the top, but the minute she caught sight of my gnome costume, she changed her mind.

These costumes were so easy to make because they incorporated a lot of what we already had lying around the house. Yes, that is probably a telling statement about the quality of our everyday wardrobe. We used our own sweatpants, leggings, long-sleeve shirts, belts, and shoes. I used about 1 1/4 yards of blue felt to make the gnome vests and about 1/2 yard of red felt to make four hats (because Rue wanted one, too). The felt was on sale at JoAnn Fabrics for $2.99 a yard, 50% off original price. Nacho Man made his beard out of a leftover bag of spider webbing that we had bought last year.

The hats are just two triangles, cut a couple of inches larger than the person’s head circumference. Sew them together with a quarter inch seam allowance, and turn the right sides out.

I used V-neck t-shirts as guides for each vest, but cut the felt longer and a little wider. To cut the back, lay the t-shirt on the felt, trace (I use regular old chalk), and cut. Then, fold the felt and the t-shirt in half, line up the folds, trace the front torso, and cut. You then cut this second piece in half where the middle of the vest is, and stitch the shoulders and the sides together. Leave the arm holes open, which I forgot to do the first time. Nothing like ripping out stitches to help you remember.

I didn’t know how to sew sleeves when I made these costumes. And I still don’t. I’m okay with that.

We bought 3 bags of feathers for $1.50 apiece, and hot-glued them to a shirt that Rue had outgrown, a black elastic headband, and a scrap piece of pink tulle, which wrapped around her like a tutu but gave her a tail on her back end.

Materials cost for 4 costumes: $9.73

As giddy as the cost made me, I have to say that there’s something about slipping on my gnome hat that instantly made me happier. It’s impossible to be a grump. I may have to pull that outfit back out when it’s January and my Vitamin D levels are at all-time lows.

Nacho Man also had way too much fun in his costume. His favorite pastime: standing in the corner of our friends’ porch and surprising the you-know-what out of friends who were arriving for a Halloween party. If he shows up on your porch, please let me know. He means no harm. He’s just way too into it.

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