My Childhood in DIY Halloween Costumes

Alternate title to this post: How I Learned the Word 'Derelict' and Other Halloween Memories

The closest I've come to acknowledging October's most famous holiday is making this mod podge pumpkin. So to celebrate the day, I thought I'd give you a glimpse of my childhood through the lens of some DIY Halloween costumes (or at least the ones that I could find pictures of), almost all of which were 100% brainstormed and created by my thrifty, clever mama. When I'm done, I'd love for you to share your favorite or most memorable Halloween costume from your childhood!

Age 2: Pink Mouse. I had a felt piece of cheese in my little tummy pouch.

Age 3: Bashful Flower. The "bashful" part was my own personal interpretation of the costume.

Age 5: Dalmatian...along with my brother and the rest of the neighborhood, and a couple kids we imported from the country. [Hi, Aislinn. :)]. Our numbers were sadly a bit shy of 101, but we did make it into the newspaper.

The dalmatian is, by far, my most memorable costume, because my mom tied strings from our wrists to our little puppy tails. When we turned around to walk away from each door, we would wag our tails by waving our arm. Cute stuff.

Age 7: A Western NY version of Jasmine. I didn't see her wearing thermal underwear when she was careening around the sky on a magic carpet.

Age 8: Mary Poppins! If you haven't noticed, my brother and I were frequently dressed as a pair. For this jolly holiday (har...har...did I really just make such a lame joke?) Brendan was obviously Bert.

 Age 9: Rapunzel. Whose prince may or may not have been Davy Crockett. If he killed him a b'ar when he was only three, don't you think he could have gone spelunking up a giant ponytail? I think so.

So there's my childhood in select DIY Halloween costumes, created by my mom. My mom is also the one who taught me the word "derelict," which is the name she gave to the thankless way-too-old-to-be-trick-or-treating teenagers who showed up at the door with nary a costume in sight and claimed to be collecting candy for their infant siblings. She grew tired of giving the good candy to them and having none for those precious little ballerinas who toddled up with their manners, and, thus, the "Derelict Candy" bowl was born. Think last Halloween's rejected hard candy.

I've known the word "derelict" ever since.

(Isn't it funny how you learn words? My students know "confirm" because of Facebook. I still say Facebook should replace "Like" with "Commend" or something, so they learn that word, too. But I digress.)

How about you? What's YOUR favorite or most memorable Halloween costume? Did you ever resent having to "ruin" your costume by wearing layers under it in the probable event that it would hail, sleet, or dump other undesirable precipitation on your evening? Do share. :)


  1. I love the "Derelict Candy" that is too funny! I'll have to remember that! I have fond memories of all the costumes my mom made me and the ones I made my children. I NEVER would buy a pre-made costume (that fabric gave me the heebie geebies). Wish I could locate some pictures!

  2. erin what a sweet post! i wanted to do the same thing but seeing how my family and all of our albums are in NJ and im in VA, i knew this could not happen--theres always next year! such cute pictures! my favorite is mary poppins :)

  3. Anonymous10/31/2011

    I don't remember too many of my costumes (mostly because my parents eschewed Halloween in favor of the Church fall festival), but I do remember being a bride one year and a hippy for most of high school.

    My favorite costumes have been the couples costumes that the hubs and I have put together: Wilson and Heidi the Tool Girl from Home Improvement, Cardiac Arrest (he was a heart and I was a cop), and this year's St. Pauli Girl and Sam Adams :)

  4. Ha! These photos are precious. I remember being ballerina when I was really little and loving the girliness of it. And since we lived in FL, it was usually still pretty warm... :)

  5. So cute! I love the dalmation tail-wagging part...I think I love your mom. :)

  6. I, for some strange reason or another, dressed up as a woman, old lady, nun or girl for the majority of my childhood - except the year I took off to be Steve Urkel and was painted darker than a black paint chip. As a young child, my sister and I would dress up as Bible characters for the church's harvest festival. It's too bad Steve Urkel didn't meet Mary Poppins sooner......just think of all the great pictures! :-P

  7. Too funny - our mom refuses to give Halloween candy to the big kids who come with no costume!! I always think its lame when they only "costume" they have is a freaky slasher mask or something. LAME.

    Your costumes ROCKED!!

  8. Alas, I grew up in South Texas and never had to worry about it being cold...I did, however, almost overheat the year my brother 'helped' me dress as an old man...rubber masks are HOT. I think, other than that year, I stuck to cats and witches...

  9. Yay Dalmatians!! :) I remember being a butterfly (mom made) but other than that and the Dalmatian I don't remember any of my costumes... guess I should go look at some photo albums!!

  10. How darling! My parents used to dress my brother and I up in matching outfits. My favorite is me as Little Bo-Peep and my brother as the sheep. I should e-mail this to you. It is that good.

  11. My mom used to make our costumes as well, she was so creative. My favorite was a cowgirl costume. When my first child was born I took sewing lessons so I could make costumes for him.

    Can I add my two cents about older kids trick-or-treating? I have no problem with it as long as they are polite. I don't even care if they have a costume. We had quite a few teenagers stop by last night and not a single one was rude. I'd rather see teens participating in an innocent, fun tradition than whipping eggs at houses or worse.

  12. I was a princess almost every year :) I always had a coat on or layers underneath!

  13. That is so awesome that you have all those photos on hand. Love the costumes, especially the dalmatians. I really don't remember too many of my costumes. This year I had no time to make a costume for my daughter since we just moved but I was able to pull out an old fashioned nurses hat that I recently used for a prop styling job. She became an evil nurse and her friend was the dead patient. Brilliant and super easy.

  14. I. Can't. Stop. Laughing!

    Plus, I'm totally having a Derelict Candy bowl next year. I had too many costume-less teens (AND adults!) show up last night!

  15. Hahaha! The idea of the wagging puppy dog tails is genius! We had a derelict candy bowl this year, made mostly of the gross candy that Weston collected at a church trunk-or-treat the night before. :) (SO CHEAP OF US!) But now I regret it, because I'm stuck eating all the good candy on my own.


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