Last year, I wrote about my first Purim in the United States, when I was convinced that only a store-bought costume could make me a true American.
My native-born oldest son, on the other hand, has no such hang-ups. To him, Purim (and Halloween) are the two greatest days on the calendar, as they allow him to get creative and design and construct his own costumes. (The rest of the year, he has to settle for merely dressing–and criticizing–me. When I was getting ready to attend a function at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, my then 11-year-old looked the outfit I’d selected up and down, and dismissed, “Too loud for Carnegie Hill.”)
He’s been playing Edith Head since he was about 6 years old, all on his own, with no help from me. Which is how I can say with confidence that the following are, as they say, kid-tested/mother-approved Do-It-Yourself Costumes Easy Enough For a Child To Make (because they actually were):
Take an old, white shirt of Daddy’s, color it with markers (or use it for a few months as a genuine art smock; the effect will be the same). Get a ready-made children’s paint set, or cut your own out of a piece of cardboard in the shape of a palate. Black beret optional.
Admittedly, he cheated a bit with this one. He already had a shark T-shirt. Add a blue baseball cap and decorate the bottom of the brim with rolled up strips of white paper to replicate the rows and rows of shark teeth, and you’re a killer fish with its own week on the Discovery Channel!
3) The Story Genesis
This outfit that my oldest made for his little brother was actually neither for Purim nor Halloween. It was for their Hebrew School’s play retelling the Book of Genesis. First, a green sweater, brown pants, hat and hand-drawn paper leaves taped to the front make a tree. Then, when the subject lays down, tucks in his limbs, adds a tiny forked tongue and produces scales attached to the back… voila–a serpent in the Garden of Eden! So versatile!
A work in progress that began as a Purim costume simply made of construction paper for helmet, breastplate, and shield, by Halloween it had been pimped out with additional tin foil and, for chain-mail–you know those things you screw out when you open juice or milk? My son collected them for six months in order to put the finishing touches onto this ensemble. So if you’re thinking Knight costume, start early. And keep hydrated.
5) Subway Car
This may be an Only in New York costume made out of Only in New York supplies. The body of the subway car was once a Fresh Direct (grocery delivery) box!
6) Court Jester
Remember my son’s high opinion of my fashion choices? Well, this past Halloween, he took a pair of my circa-1980s hot pink Capri pants (yes, I save everything, I’m cheap, as we all well know) and asked if he could cut an old sundress of mine to make a vest (when I told him he’d have to hem it, he actually taught himself to sew). He paired it with a funky hat from a Carnival we’d been to, and the recorder he plays in the school orchestra, and proclaimed it a Court Jester outfit. I’ll try not to take it as a criticism. (For details about how my daughter, here seen as a Medieval princess, turned, at the last minute, into one of Tevye’s daughters from “Fiddler on the Roof,” click here.)
7) The Tin Man
You know how they say anything can be fixed with Duct Tape? Apparently, anything can be made from it, too. This homage to “The Wizard of Oz” is basically a simple kitchen funnel spray-painted gray for the topper, and, from the neck down, silver Duct Tape over a T-shirt with the sleeves cut off paired with an old pair of pants (the trick to being able to walk is to cut flaps above the knees; that one took my son quite a bit of trial and error before he figured it out).
Last summer, I wrote about how I was going to have my kids do nothing during their break because it’s been proven to enhance their creativity (and because I’m lazy). Looks like having Mama do nothing is good for a kid’s creativity, too!
If you (or your children) are not so crafty, remember you can shop on Amazon for costumes and support Kveller at the same time. To do so, click here.