First of all, I know what you’re thinking. Halloween is more than a month away! And to you I say, yes. I, too, will figure out what my kids are going to be in about 3-4 weeks. You see, I’m not ahead of the game by posting this now. The opposite really — it took me 11 months! But since some people are more prepared, I figured I’d indulge them…
Last year, Big — who was a great big 3rd grader at the time — insisted he wanted to be a pumpkin for Halloween. My talented mother-in-law heard and immediately went work looking for inspiration. She was all prepped and ready to help us make Big another beautiful costume. She pulled up pictures of precious toddlers in gorgeous orange puff balls and we oohed, ahhed, and — in the end — let it go. Because, honestly, the costumes were all a bit baby-ish, and Big definitely didn’t want to be a baby for Halloween.
So, the week before the parties and festivities began, Big asked me if I’d figured out how to make him a pumpkin costume yet. I hadn’t.
Then, it hit me. Obviously we would just paint a garbage bag orange and stuff it full of something perfect. In his infinite wisdom, Lenny pointed out that you can buy garbage bags that already look like a pumpkin. I know.
It sounded easy enough. And it wasn’t hard. But we did learn a few things along the way, so I figured I’d share my wisdom in case your child wants to follow in Big’s rather unconventional footsteps.
(You can obviously buy almost all of these at your local party/craft/fabric store, but I’ve included Amazon affiliate links in case you want to put some Halloween pennies in my trick-or-treat bag and/or you don’t want to brave the crowds — which are way more frightening than any haunted house for people like me.)
• pumpkin lawn bags
• lots of orange balloons
• polyester filling(or newspaper)
• green face cream or paint
• temporary green hair paint
• orange knee/sports socks (or brown to look like dirt)
• orange tshirt/shorts
• packing tape
The pumpkin lawn bags linked (and shown) here are ideal because they include the only large bag I could track down (only one out of the three is the bigger size though, so you can use the others for practice or, you know, as lawn decor). The orange clothes are a suggestion since the bags are rather see through and, well, may not make it through a whole night of trick or treating chaos. Fortunately we found all the clothes, including the soccer socks (Go Orange Sharks!), in the boys’ drawers already.
In our case, the pumpkin bag was not reusable, so we had enough materials to make a new pumpkin for each costume-wearing event Big attended.
HOW TO MAKE THE PUMPKIN:
Steps 1-5 can be done ahead of time. Begin Step 6 about 20-30 minutes prior to event time.
Have your child step into the bag carefully to mark where the leg holes go. Then have the child step out.
Cut the leg holes about 4 inches wide. Reinforce the openings with packing tape so they don’t rip. You can keep cutting wider and reinforcing as needed, but you want them snug so the stuffing doesn’t fall out through the holes.
Once the leg holes are done, have your child step back inside the bag to mark where the arm holes will go.
Cut the arm holes about 3 inches wide. Reinforce the openings with packing tape so the don’t rip. You can keep cutting wider and reinforcing as needed, but you want them snug so the stuffing doesn’t fall out through the holes.
Blow up a bunch of balloons ranging in size from 3 to 6 inches or so. (NOTE: If they’re too uniform, the pumpkin might look busty.)
Once your child is dressed in orange-ish shirt, shorts/leggings, and/or socks, paint your child’s face, neck, and hair green. Spike the hair to give it a stem-like appearance.
Have your child go to the bathroom — for the last time in a really long time (unless you want to consider an extra item on your supply list) — then step carefully into the bag leg holes and arm holes.
While one grown up holds up the bag, another stuffs it with balloons and filling (as needed to fix gaps or smooth out suggestive bumps). Don’t break the filling into small pieces or it will fall out the holes.
Once the pumpkin is sufficiently stuffed, carefully gather it and tie and/or tape the bag at the top. Also look for extra bag material at the bottom of the pumpkin and tape it up so it doesn’t hang down (yeah, we learned this one the hard way).
Embrace the dos and don’ts of this costume. Do get ready for people to laugh
at with you. Don’t drink…anything. Do make it easier at school by skipping the green paint and wearing a green hat or something (or nothing). Don’t plan to sit down for classroom games and activities. Do know that you won’t be able to keep up with your friends as they sprint from house to house getting as much candy as humanly possible. Don’t worry…nobody should eat all that junk anyway. Do know that, by the end of the night, your costume will look like something out of a horror movie. Don’t care (because, of course, then you will be able to run as fast as your friends…and go to the bathroom).
Happy Halloween, my friends. And for those of you brave enough to DIY, may you find a trick or two up your sleeve this season!