Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Costume Breakdown

I have a policy of putting minimal time and effort into my children’s Halloween costumes. It could be because I’m cheap or lazy, or perhaps it’s because I’m apathetic toward something they will only wear once. In the dark. Underneath their snow coats. But I prefer to think it’s because I’m saving my energy to pull off an impressive Thanksgiving and Christmas.

When it comes to costumes, I only have two criteria. It must be (1) free, or very inexpensive, and (2) the child has to be excited to wear it. Beyond that, it’s free game.

Here’s what of each our three chose this year -


By early September, Jolie decided she was destined to be Rapunzel. Special thanks to our Netflix account for their relentless homepage promotion of the most popular, hard to find, overpriced costume of the year.

I searched the stores high and low (and by that I mean I looked once when I was at Walmart), but they were sold out. I figured it was the same story everywhere else in town, so I checked online, and the only option I could find in stock was the authentic Disney Store version for $69.50


So I took Jolie on a trip to my favorite thrift store, where we scoured the racks and scored a purple dress for $3.89. Then we came home and rummaged through the dress up box and craft supplies, and about an hour later, came up with this.

Certainly, there are differences between Jolie and the Disney Store girl. But the only difference I can see is that Jolie has $65.61 more in her college fund than she does.


Cal’s costume was a hand me down from one of our neighbors. Our neighbors, bless their hearts, looooove to give us their hand me downs. We’re the only family on our street with young children, let alone almost four of them, and our house is strikingly smaller and older than the others, making us prime targets for sympathetic glances and boxes of charitable castoffs.

Every so often, someone knocks on the door to present the kids with leftover treats, used books, hand me down clothes, and very random toys, including two of my personal favorites -

A Freddie Mac bear,

and Bono glasses

A couple of weeks ago, the Moriettis across the street stopped by to present Cal with a box of costumes their son had outgrown. This was a gold strike for a boy whose dress up options had previously been limited to his sister's collection of tutus and fairy wings. He ripped open the box to his choice of Darth Vader, a Stormtrooper, Spiderman, Buzz Lightyear, and dinosaur costumes.

He chose dinosaur. Rawr.


Leah had the most options - her pick of about 50 different costumes when I discovered a discount Halloween store that sold everything in her size for under $15.

I first presented the princess gowns, but she rejected all of them. Next I tried fairy. No. Witch? Nope. Pirate? Cowgirl? No, no. I was starting to get impatient, and was about to force her to make a choice when, on her own, she spotted this on the rack, and her face lit up. And my heart melted.

Don't make the mistake of calling her a referee. She's not a referee. She is her adored Grandpa Jack. And a pretty dead ringer at that.

Good call Leah. Hopefully this means Grandpa Jack's next visit will bring more treats than tricks, although I wouldn't count on it because Grandpa Jack loves to tease. At least next time, she'll have a whistle to eject him with.

Happy Halloween. And happy birthday today to our Cal, who took Leah's approach three years ago when he pretended to be his Grandpa Jim by being born on his birthday. We are putting our candy to good use here, as we have much to celebrate.


Lorie said...

Okay, that is a cool picture of Jack!! And your kids are so stinking cute!! And Leah is a very smart girl!! Not to mention that whistle will come in handy with Grandpa Jack!!

Becca said...

I'm right there with you on the costume front. I haven't spent a penny on costumes for the last 2 years. For some reason that brings me much joy. I decided that next year I'm going to give each kid a great big box and they have to come up with a way to turn it into a costume. Love your kid's costumes!

Steve said...

was that a staged picture of a byu touchdown? or was this taken many years ago? i don't think they do that anymore.

p.s. we thought your kids were adorable

Jeannie said...

Good deals! And you're just training Jolie early on how to shop for the perfect wedding gown. Great costumes on some great kids! You guys know how to do Halloween, especially on the cheap. Including that evil and spooky bear. Love it and miss you all.

Katie and Jeff said...

They are so cute Katie! And trust me when I say, your nieghbors may use the excuse of hand me downs but they are coming over to be a part of your sweet family!

Daneille said...

That is so precious of Leah to be her Grandpa Jack for Halloween. He is beaming! And I don't believe we've seen our first female NFL ref yet. Leah could be the chip off the old block! Not surprising that she's taking after her uncle Todd that way, too. There's something really genuine about those family ties. :)

Daneille said...

And I'm so impressed with Jolie's inborn ability to make an even more beautiful costume than the original on a shoestring budget. She's a gorgeous Rapunzel! I can just hear little Cal's roar. You guys are such a great example and an inspiration!

Krista said...


Susan said...

The pictures melt my heart! I love all their costumes but I think I'm partial to Cal in the Bono glasses!

P.S. All day today I was wishing it were a week ago and we were painting Vienna RED!! Say "HI" to the 7 dwarfs that live in the forest surrounding your house. I can't wait to come back!!

Memzy said...

You torture me with your creativity.

But, now....WHA?!!! You have a "grandpa Jack" that has that for his JOB?

It's official. I'm putting in my adoption papers to be your sister tomorrow. Be prepared for some documents to sign in the mail.

Jane said...

I love it all!! Every single word or every blog post you ever write and have written and every single ounce of every baby you have and will have.

Kristin said...

What is it about Leah that always makes me want to laugh and cry all at the same time? That pic of g-pa Jack is fantastic. Score on the dinosaur costume! I just saw tangled for the first time this week, and I LOVED it. I would've picked to be Rapunzel too. Although, I totally want to call dibs on the referee costume in 5 years. :)

Hodnett Family said...

Love it, love it, love it all!

Lexy and Jared said...

How do I become you? Will you be my Yoda?

Flem said...

I am only a few weeks late here. But still, amazing. I miss you. And we had to wear coats this year too, boo.

Maryann said...

Ditto Jane's comment. Katie, you are the greatest. My hero, for sure. Except... I heard you served my dad burnt pie. Sick.

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