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Pumpkins One, Two, and Three (and Me)

when I started the blog...

and a few years in...

and now...

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Entries in Halloween (16)


Little Avengers.

Cap, Iron, and Fury headed out tonight...

And if this momma keeps eating the Halloween candy and wears green tomorrow, she'll make a fine Hulk.

Happy Halloween!!! 


p.s.   I think I've finally found the time to make my way back to this space.  And there is much to share!


Halloween 2011 recap.

What?  How is it double digits in November already?  Oh for goodness sake.  It feels like I was just rushing to get ready for Halloween.  And now I'm already behind on Turkey towels and tees?  Unbelievable.

So, yes, Halloween--'twas fun.  The weekend kicked off with the annual neighborhood pumpkin decorating party.  It was the first year that at least one of the boys took ownership of carving a pumpkin.  Usually they start then dart off to play, leaving Charlie to carve solo.  Charlie still did most of the carving but Max put in some decent effort.

We did a witch on a broomstick and a Cheshire cat--both pumpkins "placed" in the competition and we took home a fun prize.

I brought along some chocolate owls to guard the cheese platter.

The next night was the neighborhood party for grown ups.  As usual, we waited until the day of the party to create our costumes.  This year Charlie went as a Ghostbuster and I did a girlified version of the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man--we had fun with it and even won the prize for most original costume.  Here is a grainy picture of us taken in the dark when we got to the party.

And another shot from the host's camera after we had a few cups of the witch's brew.    

We remembered to take a shot of my entire costume when we got home.  I wanted to document it in case anyone wants to borrow it.  It was really a simple get-up to throw together but I did have to make everything.  I actually went to the fabric store that day, which was a tad crazy, I admit.  But at least most of the costume was fleece so there was little hemming.  But that satin material!  It took most of the time because it's so slippery--never again when on a time crunch.

But really, the best part of the costume theme was waking up to three little boys who could not keep their paws off the props.  Who could blame them?  Fleece covered Uggs look pretty inviting. 

As does a proton pack twice your size.   


They took turns fighting ghosts. 


I'll post pictures of the boys in their costumes next--they were ninjas.  Well, except for littlest one who had a change of heart last minute.  Guess what he wanted to be? 



What do you mean it's one week until Halloween.

Two posts in less than a day?  What can I say--I'm feeling motivated.

And good thing, too, because I need to be.  Every year leading up to Halloween--and I do mean every year--it's the same drill.  We decided to travel, I get behind on making costumes, I spend a week in a flurry.  This year is no different.  But as I'm not yet able to divulge this year's costumes (because I am not exactly sure what everyone is going to be, if you can believe it), I thought it would be fun to repost some pics of past Halloweens. 

We've had clone troopers, complete with DIY armor...

A Master Yoda....

gladiator & Grecian goddess/princess/whatever...


Clifford and Snoopy and Eeyore...

A Lion and a Wizard...

And then there are the costumes I made before I was blogging.  But I'd have to first find and then scan those photos, so let's not hold our breath.

All of my prior Halloween posts can be found here with details on each costume.  Plus there are tutorials on candy-free favors, a Switch Witch printable, favor bags, and Halloween treats and decor.  I get a lot of blog visits due to my Halloween posts so I really wanted to add a fresh new batch this year.  Oh well.  I'll be lucky to get the costumes done.  I haven't even brought down the Halloween box and decorated, sheesh. 

If you are in the same Good-Grief-Is-It-Really-Halloween time-crunch, please let me know--I could use the solidarity.



2010 Halloween Recap, part II.

We skipped town last weekend and headed to a lovely cabin in the Shenandoah mountains.  It was really a great way to kick off the season...a little respite before the crazies set in.  I will post more pictures soon; it was a great setting to play with the camera and my newish lenses.

I wanted to mention that I'm using Giver's Log's Handmade Holiday Organizer as a template for my own holiday ambitions.  I didn't start nearly as early as she (drats!) but I do think it will be helpful to prioritize creative tasks.  We're talking all my addictions here: baking, cooking, entertaining, sewing, knitting, paper crafting.  I may even be constructing a little something, good grief, because nothing makes you feel as optimistic as an adorable and blank to-do template.

But first, I wanted to tidy up my Halloween recap for future reference.  I'm sure you've moved on so this is really just for future me.

I made cake balls (like cake pops, but just not on a stick) for the annual pumpkin carving party.  It is hosted each year by the same generous family.  They let the entire neighborhood make a royal mess of every inch of their home--they are saints!  For the cake balls, I made ghosts, eyeballs, jack o'lanterns, and one-eyed-purple-people eaters.  My attempt at decorating them was sad.  Not starting until two hours before the party began was not the brightest idea, I'm afraid.  But they were still gobbled up...       

My favorite part of the party is playing the Mummy Mommy Wrap, pretty self-explanatory when you see the pictures, I think... 

We did not win.

This mummy did.

But my goodness do my boys love wrapping me up.  They said we could practice for next year using rope.  Hmmm.



2010 Halloween recap.

It seems strange to discuss Halloween at this point.  It feels as if it were ages ago, not days.  But this time of year is always a blur to me.  So I've decided to really, really try to confront my odd mix of ambitious/slacker ways--I have high hopes of actually planning a realistic to-do list and getting those things done ahead of time. 

I am fully aware that I have friends who, upon reading that proclamation, just spewed coffee.  And to you I say with fingers in my ears:  I can't hear you....

Why?  Because I have a certain memory fresh in my mind of last-minute crafting.  And it is something I don't care to repeat anytime soon.  I am speaking, of course, of the older boys' Halloween costumes.  An experience that had me quoting my second favorite procrastinator saying:  "the sooner you fall behind, the longer you have to catch up"--my favorite procrastinator slogan is discussed here.

Max and Leo asked to be Clone Troopers.  Actually, they first asked to be Jedis.  Specifically, Jedi Masters (not merely Jedi Knights).  They changed their minds, predictably, after I bought the supplies and yes they are getting Jedi robes for Christmas.  They started asking if I could make Clone Trooper armor.  Because evidently, since I am the crafty type, I should be able to make my children's Halloween wishes come true no matter what--and molding armor should be within my capabilities.  Nicely played, boys.  Nicely played.

For the uninitiated like me, Clone Troopers are not Storm Troopers.  I recommend never confusing the two, else you will be on the receiving end of a glare/stare that smacks of a certain questioning-your-intelligence vibe.

I actually toyed with the idea of not making their costumes and took a look at the ready-to-wear offerings.  Unfortunately, I quickly dismissed the option because not only were they pricey--the armor didn't look very good.  And it didn't even cover the back of the costume. 

As luck would have it, the week of Halloween, I found two Clone Trooper costumes (non armor, just jumpsuits) in the right sizes on Craigs List.  The nice seller gave me both for $20, which included masks.  The new plan was to doctor these up.  Enter Charlie, our hero. 

Much like his gladiator costume, Charlie cut out armor from plastic garbage cans.  I drafted a pattern for him of all the pieces to make it a bit easier.  We spray painted everything white and tied the armor together with elastic.   We also spray painted black a couple of water guns to serve as Clone Trooper blasters.

A self-serving note about these pictures.  I was a very sad photog last week and weekend.  For about ten days, I suffered a freak neck injury (pinched nerve?  neck spasm?  doctors are unsure) that kept me stiff and moving about unnaturally.  And so, almost every shot I took was blurry.  I tried to make them look a little better with some free effects in Picnik.  I plan to ask the boys to fully dress up again so I can take better pictures.  But first I need to properly prime and paint the armor with plastic spray paint as the paint we used is chipping like crazy. 

In the end, it was worth it.  The boys had a blast and received a ton of attention.  And William was over-the-moon to be their Master Yoda and haul home his first full trick-or-treat bag of candy.  

I am packing up all of the Halloween decorations this week and moving on to Thanksgiving.  I can't believe it.



Happy Halloween!

We spent yesterday coming up with adult costumes for our neighbor's party.  Not the most original, but we had fun creating them:  Gladiator and Greek Goddess. 

Charlie fashioned his armor from a plastic trash can.  He tied the pieces together with twine and painted everything matte black.  I made him a simple tunic to wear beneath his armor.

My costume was a yard and a half of the cheapest white satin I could find, draped and tied at my waist with braided clothesline.  There was very little sewing--just hemming the satin.  I painted a ton of plastic leaves silver to add some details and used them to cover an old strapless bra (that I also spray painted silver).

The toga covered most of the bra so I still felt appropriately modest, but it gave the costume much-needed oomph.  You can see it a little better in this shot, taken by our baby sitter as I was heading out the door. 

The party was a lot of fun.  Lots of Lady Gaga costumes, as you can imagine.  There was also a Shamwow guy that was pretty funny.  The boys are getting excited for tonight--I'll post pictures of their costumes soon.

Happy Halloween!



A Yoda costume, I made....yes.

This costume was easy to put together--it is not the one causing angst.  Some brown knit fabric for a robe, no pattern necessary.  I just cut it in the same fashion as Max's wizard costume from a couple of years ago, opening up the front and adding a belt and hood.  For the Yoda look, I felted an old sweater to make a quickie hat and added triangular shaped Yoda ears.  

Will wore his costume today in his preschool's parade.  It was an unseasonably hot day--much too hot for a wool hat. 

The poor thing spent more time sweating and scratching than waving.  I may need to line the hat with cotton if the weather doesn't cool off.

He fussed and tugged and suffered, but he would not take off his hat, bless his heart.  And when his little friends (who do not have Star Wars obsessed older brothers) questioned who he was, he replied, matter of factly, "Master Yoda, I am."  You can imagine how happy that made me.

And, keep my momentum going, I will try to channel my resolute little Yoda.

Do more sewing, I must!  Every year I procrastinate, why?  Hmmmm.



Halloween Flashback.

Still working on Halloween costumes and have nothing worth showing just yet.  But in case you need a last-minute idea, here is a shot of Charlie and I from last year--I realized I never posted a picture.

We went as sushi.  Specifically, shrimp nigiri and salmon roe roll.

I think mine is pretty self-explanatory--raided my stash for orange fabric to make a stuffed shrimp, white minky chenille for the rice, and black felt for the nori.  Charlie's head piece is a  large sheet of black foam wrapped around more chenille--we built this on top of his motorcycle helmet for stability.  We stuffed it with newspaper and taped small orange balloons on top to serve as the salmon roe. 

We look ridiculous, I know.  But we won a prize for most original costume at our annual neighborhood Halloween party.  This was a second win in a row--Charlie won the year prior dressed as a nun (I should dig up those pictures!).  Not sure if we can pull off anything this year.  But we're trying.


p.s.  Linking up here



Halloween 09 recap.

So this week I immediately opened my Google 2010 calendar and wrote the following, in bold, across the first week of October:

Finish boys costumes by the 15th.  Seriously.  Do it.  And while you're at it, figure out your costume (and Charlie's) if you're going to the grown-up neighborhood party.  Do not wait until the day night of the party to make something--it makes you grumpy.  

It's not as if I didn't get everything done.  That's the thing with Type A procrastinators--we're good at it.  And we usually pull it out so never really learn our lesson.  But next year will be different!  And yes, Type A procrastinators are also typically optimistic.  

Max was Clifford, Leo was Snoopy, and Will was Eeyore.  My sewing room is covered in fur and felt bits.  It's even sticking to the walls.  In one of the pictures below, I tried to capture Leo wagging his tail, which he did every time he got some candy.  He did not break character all night and it was the cutest thing.  I also whipped up some very last minute grown up costumes because one of our neighbors throws a party that begins after the munchkins are tucked in.  My parents came over to babysit so Charlie and I could go.  We went as sushi--he was a salmon roe roll and I was shrimp nigiri.  I forgot to take a picture but if I get one from the other partygoers I'll add it later.

As for treats, cake pops were made.  The kids loved the happy witches and Frankenstein Jrs.  The eyeballs--not so much.  I think someone at the party told them that they were cow eyes and they just couldn't get over it.  They did look pretty realistic--red edible marker for the veining was key.

Can you believe it's November?  How did that happen?  I've pulled out several UFOs (unfinished objects) from last year.  And I'm trying to get back into knitting.  Which makes perfect sense because, as I'm sure you know, there is always so much extra time around the holidays.  We shall see.



If you wait until the last minute, it only takes a minute.


Back when I was practicing appellate law, a dear co-worker and I adopted the title of this post as an unofficial office slogan.  We were so busy that on any given day, we could only deal with the most urgent of deadlines.  I find myself in a similar boat these days.

Last year, Max was sick the entire week before Halloween.  It turned out to be bronchitis.  It was almost serious enough to keep him in for trick or treating, but luckily, he started feeling better and made it out.  I am 85% sure he was not faking it. 

He asked to be a wizard and I had every intention of finding a pattern and sewing a proper costume for him.  But caring for him that week was full-time, especially as we were constantly on guard, attempting to keep his brothers healthy (but of course Leo still got sick).

It was not until the night before Halloween that I found time to try to whip up a wizard costume (and no, the irony that I had to conjure up something was not lost on me).  I already had the fabric but no pattern.  Below is what I did and it worked well enough.  It is certainly not the best constructed garment I've ever made--in fact, it's probably one of the worst--but it was quick and easy and put a smile on my little one's face, a rare sight indeed that week.

In case you are in similar desperate straits (and I sure hope you're not), here is an extremely rudimentary guide to how I made a wizard frock in about 30 minutes.  Ours went over the head but you could also cut it up the front to make it more robe like.


I used a satin costuming fabric that was fairly difficult to work with, especially the neckline as it kept slipping (I double folded it).  To really save time, I recommend using a fabric that will not fray, such as fleece or jersey, so you wouldn't have to bother with hemming. 

As for Leo, he had told us for weeks that he wanted to be an astronaut and the plan was to use Max's costume from the previous year.  But the night before the harvest parade at his school, he decided he wanted to be a lion.  He really wanted to be a lion.

And I have a problem saying no. 

Again, I attempted this with no pattern--what is wrong with me??  I used a pair of his footed pajamas as a guide.  I'm sorry I can't diagram it because it was pretty nightmarish and I've blocked it from memory.  At least the parade was a few days before Halloween, so in my book, I was done "early."   I used fleece, which I love because it is so forgiving.

So after last year's stressfest getting their costumes done, you would think I learned my lesson and finished their costumes early this year, right?  Perhaps before we left for Disney?  Wrong.  Guess what I'll be doing after bedtime this week? 

I'm participating in A Soft Place to Land's DIY day.  Be sure to check out all the other projects--I always get so many ideas from there!