10 Reasons to make your own costume

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10 reasons why you should make your own costume instead of buying one: lessons learned from my mother. www.cucicucicoo.com
1986-1987 (ages 8-9)

5. Be creative.

Once I got a little older, my older brother and sister were no longer interested in trick or treating, so I started making my costumes pretty much on my own, thinking of what I could possibly make with what I had with minimal outside help. For two years I took advantage of my brother’s things and dressed up as a karate champion (my brother was a black belt. I think that the headband was more of Karate Kid thing.) and as some sort of ghoul graduate (adding a few personal Halloweenish touches to my brother’s old grauation gown and cap).

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These years were a great exercise for me in learning to be independent and start forming my own creative identity.

10 reasons why you should make your own costume instead of buying one: lessons learned from my mother. www.cucicucicoo.com
1988-1989 (ages 10-11)

6. Don’t worry, be happy!

How much fun is it to go to a store, pick out a costume, and put it on? Not much. How much fun is it to team up with your best friend and create totally crazy matching costumes, from picking out clothes and weird accessories that we had two of between us, switching shoes so we each had one of each color, and teasing and spraying our hair orange? So tacky, so 80s, so potentially embarrassing… and my God, SO MUCH FUN!

Did people ask us with funny looks on their faces what exactly we were supposed to be? Of course. Did we care? Absolutely not! Which is why the next year we did something similar!

(By the way, my friend with the incredibly teasable hair is now an insanely talented photographer. If you live in the Boston area, go check her out next time you need professional photography work.)

10 reasons why you should make your own costume instead of buying one: lessons learned from my mother. www.cucicucicoo.com
1995 (age 17)

7. Be true to yourself.

I was never a girly-girl. I hated pink, lace and ruffles. And that’s why I was never once a princess or fairy of any type, even though that’s what most other girls were doing. Even when I got to high school, while the other gals were getting in trouble by going to school on Halloween dressed up as sexy parlor maids or other things like that, I was some sort of horror gothic princess, dressed all in black (which was actually my normal way of dressing then, in a time when bright florals were in style) with green Doc Martens, fake eyelashes and blood, cheap wig and tiara. The picture on the left (with a friend of mine) even got put in our senior yearbook! Haha!

10 reasons why you should make your own costume instead of buying one: lessons learned from my mother. www.cucicucicoo.com

8. Live what you love.

Like I said before in Life Lesson #4, Halloween is a great time to develop your interests and live them out. If you’re fascinated by Medieval life, learn more about it so that you can re-create and live it. But this can apply to non-academic subjects, too. So when my kids were totally obsessed with the Despicable Me movies a couple of years ago, we worked together to decide what elements the costumes needed and figure out how we could make them (find out more about those costumes here).

It was so wonderful to see how they lived out those characters. They changed their expressions, their movements, their way of speaking. They had loved these movies for so many months, that to actually BE them for a few hours was priceless. How great would it be if we could take this lesson a bit further, beyond dressing up for Halloween, to create the life that you want?

10 reasons why you should make your own costume instead of buying one: lessons learned from my mother. www.cucicucicoo.com

9. Be unique!

My mother said that the neighbors we went trick or treating to every year always oohed and ahhed over our homemade costumes. They really appreciated the thought, effort and creativity that went into them. It’s a total cliché that the world is getting smaller and smaller, and this of course has its pros and cons. One con is that the things that make people and places around the globe unique are getting lost, and everything is starting to be the same everywhere. It’s such a shame when we start losing our unique character, we in the sense of individuals, communities and places.

So stand out! Be different! Don’t wear the same exact costume that dozens of other people in your town are wearing! Because we are all so much more than what some costume designer wants us to be!

(To the left, my daughter is a field of flowers. One Halloween she asked me explicitly to be a witch like everyone else, but at least she had a unique witch cape that no other kid in her class had!)

10 reasons why you should make your own costume instead of buying one: lessons learned from my mother. www.cucicucicoo.com

10. Life is a journey, not a destination.

This is actually the main reason I wanted to write about homemade Halloween costumes. In these days of Pinterest and craft blogs, we get bombarded by images of absolute perfection. Amazing projects, perfect technique, gorgeous photographs of gorgeously put-together kids in sparkling clean homes. The problem is… that’s rarely reality and who can live up to that?

Of course, if you make a living by selling your creations on Etsy or with an important craft blog, you need to make your work look as perfect as possible. But most people don’t fall into those categories, and they need to realize that first of all, what you see on a website is a very carefully selected and prepared image and most likely there’s a huge mess just outside the picture frame. And second and most importantly, nobody expects you to be perfect, and you shouldn’t either.

It’s so easy to worry about not being able to create something perfect and just give up before trying. And that’s so wrong, because the main reason to create is to enjoy the feeling of making something with your own two hands, and to be proud of it! And who cares if it’s full of technical mistakes, or it didn’t come out exactly the way you planned? The important thing is the experience of making it and wearing it, not having half the world tell you that it’s perfect. (Although that’s a great feeling, too!)

So just like my mother dressed me up in a garbage bag (Life Lesson #3), I send my kids out in sometimes less-than-perfect costumes. (If you’re thinking that the Tinkerbell and Peter Pan costumes above are good, you should see the amazing costumes that Ashley from Make It and Love It makes. These costumes looked pretty crap compared to hers, and she also didn’t pose her Peter Pan with a hairbrush!)

Along the same lines, I also still insist on attempting to make cool-looking cakes on my kids’ birthdays even though every single time they come out worthy of one of those hilarious Pinterest fail posts. Whatever. I have fun trying and my kids appreciate the work I’ve done and have so much fun despite all the imperfections. What kind of a message is it for your kids that there’s no point in trying if you can’t do it perfectly? They need to learn to try and to have enjoy themselves!

Which of these reasons to make your own costume are the most important to you? Do you have another one to add to this list? I’d love to hear about it! And don’t forget to take a look at my costume patterns in the Cucicucicoo Patterns shop!

And happy Halloween!

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10 reasons why you should make your own costume instead of buying one: lessons learned from my mother. www.cucicucicoo.com

I’d like to give a big public thank you my mother for all the wonderful creative stimuli that she gave me as a kid (trust me, it goes way beyond Halloween costumes!). I never would’ve become the person that I am otherwise! And I’d also like to thank her and her husband for kindly going through masses of photo albums and scanning in a decade’s worth of Halloween pictures while in the middle of getting their living room floor ripped up! You da best!

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14 thoughts on “10 Reasons to make your own costume”

  1. I love this post! DIY comstumes are original, meaningful and so much more memorable than anything store-bought! And I second everything you say about your mom – she’s amazing! ☺️❤️

    • Thanks, Beverly! Not only were these costumes all fun to make and wear, but it’s so much fun to look back at the pictures and remember! This was one of the most fun blog posts I’ve ever written! 🙂

    • That is so true, Cintia! It’s so much fun busting out all the creativity to make the most creative things possible! And seeing as costumes aren’t supposed to look like regular clothes, it doesn’t even matter that much if you mess things up, so there’s less pressure!


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