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Jen’s World: Homemade is the way to go for Halloween

October 26, 2018 GMT

I’m one of those adults who wears a Halloween costume every year.

And sure, sometimes it’s because Jay and I are going to a party. Like this year, we’re going to go boogie it up at the Boo Bash par-tay held over at 125 LIVE on Saturday. (Join us?!)

But sometimes it’s just because we’re handing out candy and I like to freak out the trick-or-treaters. Because, as it turns out, very few of them expect to ring the bell and have the Scream phantom open the door.

I’m usually ahead of the game on picking out my costume, but I’m falling behind this year. Mostly because I ordered one that I thought was going to be the BEST COSTUME EVER — but then changed my mind when I tried it on.

And since I’m not going to wear it now, I can tell you what it is: An inflatable, six-foot-tall T-Rex. And, holy cow, is it cool. I ripped it out of its bag and threw it on as soon as it arrived. And then I squeezed myself down the hallway to look at myself in the bathroom mirror — and it was everything I hoped it would be. You couldn’t even tell I was in that monstrosity.

The problem came when I tried to get out of it. I couldn’t. The zipper is on the outside of that thing, and claustrophobia kicked in and I was hollering for my husband who was outside in the driveway not helping me get out of a six-foot T-Rex. It was not a good scene.

But, really, I should’ve known. Because pre-made costumes often don’t fare well for me. I mean, sometimes homemade ones don’t, either. Like the year I decided to make my preschool son his costume. He wanted to be a scary ghost, so I thought: HOW EASY IS THAT?!

And then I bought a white sheet and proved how easy it wasn’t.

For starters, it took me forever to trim enough off the bottom to make it fall just right. And then I cut the armholes in the wrong place, which put the eyeholes in the wrong place. So I had to keep cutting and cutting until the poor kid had a whole face hole that made the bottom crooked so that the front was longer than the back and he kept tripping on it.

And then, after all that, when we got to his school, no one could tell what he was, and he had to keep repeating, dejectedly, “I’m a scary ghost .…”

It was the worst. A total parent fail. Kind of like the time I dressed up as a witch with a fake nose and everything, and my baby — the scary ghost’s future older brother — wouldn’t come near me all night.

But usually homemade works for me. Think a homemade costume is too hard to pull off? Let me quell your doubts. Here are my top five favorite past costumes, in no particular order:

1. Alien abductees. It’s stretching the truth to say that I made this costume. And by “stretching,” I mean it’s lying. My husband made these costumes, and they are by far the most elaborate concoctions of any of our Halloweens. The man spent days, maybe weeks, with papier mache and paint and harnesses that he rigged to strap the papier mache to our bodies.

But in the end, we looked like we had been abducted from our beds by aliens.

2. Roller derby couple. Jay was the referee, so all he needed was a black-and-white shirt, whistle, and a black eye. I was the one who got to have fun with this. I put my dream roller derby name — Punky Bruiser — on the back of a neon yellow shirt that I tore up especially for the occasion. Sprayed my hair hot pink. Threw a plaid skirt over fishnet stockings … with tears, of course. Elbow pads. Knee pads. And I totally pulled it off, because a roller derby friend saw the picture and asked when I’d started playing. Score.

3. Toy Story Woody. Because my 4-year-old was Buzz Lightyear. And when your 4-year-old wants coordinating costumes, you do it. Cowboy hat. Boots. Vest.

4. Head-to-toe denim. This costume wasn’t actually for Halloween. It was for an Ugly Denim Party. But it was still dressing up. And, boy, did I. And it was truly head to toe, starting with a denim newsboy cap down to denim cowboy boots I found at a secondhand store. I even cut up a pair of jeans to make a drawstring purse.

5. Pairs ice skating team. I borrowed a figure skating dress from one of our babysitters, then went to a secondhand store for a pair of skates to throw over my shoulder. Bonus: Got to spray glitter adhesive all over my face, and any excuse you have to do that, you should take. Jay’s part of the costume was a little tricker. I ended up handsewing strips of silver sequins onto a black pair of dress pants. For hours. Until my fingers were full of pinholes. Totally worth it.