"If you're trick-or-treating you should earn it by making your costume."
That made Hallowe'en an event that required planning, and sometimes, hard work. Pulling on the soccer uniform that I'd worn once a week that past summer wouldn't cut it in my household, and the handmade Hallowe'en philosophy has stuck with me.
Tonight my fiance Jim and I took his daughter out trick-or-treating, and we planned her costume the week before- she was going to be a Zombie Bride. We hit up our local Value Village and picked out a satin-ish ivory coloured nightslip and matching cozy sweater to wear underneath as Abby's bridal gown, chose a bouquet of flowers, and found some creepy armwarmers (the only "new and packaged" item that we purchased). We used cotton webbing for the spiderwebs, and made a tiara with wire, a rubber bat, and some plastic flies (also made matching bat earrings). After a little bit of rolling in the dirt, messing up the hair, and makeup application, I had one scary looking Zombie Bride trick-or-treater.
Abigail, age 10 as a Zombie Bride
Abby got lots of compliments at the doors for her costume, and many fulfilling reactions from the people who came to see. It was wonderful to see the obvious delight that she derived from this experience. It wasn't the obtaining of candy that was the fun part for her, it was showing people (strangers and family alike) something home-made, something that she and I had worked on, and having them react in an emotional and positive way that was her entertainment this evening.
Abby and I in front of our apartment door on our way out... I'm a Foxy Zombie ;)
It was so rewarding for me as a parent to provide for her an environment that encourages this kind of positive reinforcement for doing something for yourself.
I encourage you all to make home-made or handmade a normal and treasured part of all your holiday seasons, not just Hallowe'en. You have lots of time to plan a new tradition for Christmas :) Hop to it!