Saturday, November 01, 2008

Homemade Halloween

Last night was Ben's first real Halloween. Three days ago we finally settled on him being the Conductor from Polar Express. I took a 12 year old suit coat of mine (Jones New York, yet) and cut it down for him, hemming cuffs and bottom with that iron-on fusing tape. Then I ironed on metallic gold ribbon for cuff stripes and replaced the black buttons with gold ones.

Two years ago he inherited a real New York Central Railway conductor's hat from an old friend of mine who was a train fan, so I took that and added "Polar Express" across the front with letters from the scrapbooking store.

Then, I ironed on more metallic ribbon to an almost too short for him pair of blue slacks. Add one button down shirt and tie, and presto! The obvious favorite costume of every adult who opened a door for us. People kept saying, "Oh, I love that book," or "Oh, I love that movie." One scholarly type said, "Did you know that author was a Michigan grad?" We do live in U of M territory, after all.

Ben was in character all night, intoning "All aboard!" in long form to anyone who would listen. He really got into it, loving the hastening darkness and every cheesy Halloween gimmick from the giant spiders and fake cobwebs to the amazing witch on a wire at one house who zoomed down from a tree to say "I want candy."

My mom used to make our costumes, and usually added make-up to shame Hollywood. Now I understand why she put that effort in. How wonderful to see your kid loving your efforts (no matter how amateur or lame) and lapping up the admiration of perfect strangers, who rewarded him with gobs of candy.

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