I have this annoying aversion to buying Halloween costumes.
Annoying, because that puts the burden of effort on me to make something, since the kids are too young to make their own.
Annoying, because I will spend just as much (if not more) on supplies to make said costumes than I would on a mass-manufactured, made-in-China number.
Annoying, because the kids could care less about the costume as long as they get candy.
In other words, this is a neurosis of my own making, and I know it.
Unfortunately for this neurosis, I don’t sew. I don’t even craft, when it comes down to it. Last year I basically glued some felt onto plain-color clothes and that worked.
Side note: Ellie kept telling everyone I was going to crochet a Halloween costume this year — not only for her, but for Gwen, myself, and Tim. I’ve never crocheted in my life, but I’m glad she still has that kind of faith in me.
Originally, Ellie wanted to go as Rapunzel from Tangled, and I was thisclose to buying the costume dress and calling it good. But then she asked if Gwen could go as Pascal, which started a frustrating chain of events that led to a new plan: Ellie and Gwen would both go as cupcakes, and I would make the costumes.
I have a tendency to approach these things full speed, head-on, with little planning and big expectations. Anyone remember my infamous gingerbread house experiment?
So, here’s how you, too, can make an adorable cupcake costume the lazy way, no sewing required. I can’t promise your kid will still talk to you when this is done, though.
How to make a cupcake costume, sanity not included
1) Don’t use a pattern — that would make too much sense. No, just take rough measurements of your kids while they’re squirming around — even better if they’re naked and coated in Crisco — and follow the detailed instructions that sound so simple in your head.
2) Buy fleece fabric at the store. Eyeball it, because you’re not using a pattern, so you don’t know how much you actually need. You have the money, why not waste it?
2a) Buy fancy, $9-a-tube fabric glue at the store, after being assured by the saleslady it will work. Get it home, realize it takes 24 hours to dry — screw that. Plug in the trusty glue gun.
2b) Also buy scissors, since you don’t have any that are sharp enough to cut through tissue paper, let alone fleece.
3) Attempt the hat design first, because it’s simple, in theory. Overcomplicate it by cutting out a series of isosceles triangles and spend an hour and a half gluing them together. Realize later you could have Googled “no-sew fleece hat” and been done in ten minutes. You barely have enough fabric for the second hat now. Feck.
4) Move on to the frosting part. Don’t make the smaller, easier infant costume first — that would be silly! Go big! So big, in fact, that you size the costume for a ten-year-old instead of a three-year-old!
5) Experiment with sizing. Bully your three-year-old into trying on multiple variations of the frosting to get the measurements right. If you have difficulty with this, bribe her with TV and candy.
6) Using a large needle, thread yarn through the outer edge of the cupcake frosting to gather it. Yarn will break and fray after you’ve spent half an hour with this. At this point, your significant other may want to bring the children upstairs, “until it’s safe to be around Mama again.”
7) Brilliance ensues. Substitute the frayed yarn for a spare shoelace! You are a crafting genius! Children are allowed to return to the room, Mama no longer a threat.
8) Cut out sprinkle shapes from colored pieces of felt and hot-glue them to the surface of the cupcake. DO NOT DO THIS WHILE YOUR CHILD IS WEARING THE COSTUME. Especially if she’s still coated in Crisco. Ahem.
9) Realize the frosting piece is stupidly huge. Cut it back to a manageable size, re-thread the shoelace for the third time.
10) Cut out a rectangle from the brown fleece, and poke holes along the top. Realize you have to re-thread the shoelace for the fourth time to connect the frosting and the base. Cry.
11) Put it all together. Force your child to try it on “just one more time.” (You may have to promise her a pony.) Put $20 in the therapy jar for good measure.
12) Step back. OMFG it looks like a cupcake! You did it! Now, where is the awards committee? What do you mean there isn’t an awards committee?!? Disappointed.
13) Realize this took five hours and you still need to make another costume. Cry.