I love Halloween, and I love costumes, and I got really super excited when Shae started talking about what she wanted to be for Halloween because, let's face it, I love living vicariously through her. Her Dorothy and Pirate Princess costumes? Total dreams come true for me. You better believe that if I could pull off twirly skirts and glitter shoes and pigtails right now at my age, I absolutely would.
Anyway. SPOILER ALERT: Hello Kitty wasn't Shae's first choice of costume. She wanted to be, among other things, Sleeping Beauty, Belle, Ariel, Tiana (at which point I sensed a theme a-brewing), a ladybug, a white cat, a black cat, a "ballerina witch cat," and our pet cat Hallie. In other words, she's four and she doesn't know what she wants, which is why she has parents. So I made an editorial decision and decided to buy her a Hello Kitty costume.
Here are my two major problems with the pre-made Hello Kitty costumes I saw in the store: (1) they were really, really trashy-looking (by which I mean "inappropriate," not cheap) and also (2) they want HOW MUCH? For THAT? That she'll only wear ONCE? Are they INSANE?
So -- another SPOILER ALERT -- I decided then and there that I was going to make my own Hello Kitty costume for her. Except, well ... I can't sew. Or draw. And I'm not particularly clever, really. But I am a human Garanimal, and I know how to take a couple of regular pieces and throw them together into something that sort of works. Also, by using regular pieces, I knew we'd be able to get our money's worth, because she'd be able to wear every single item in the costume many times, because they're all regular pieces. And it wouldn't end up costing much more than a pre-made (possibly less, because you might already have some pieces at home).
Without (much more) further ado, here is how I made -- more like "built," really, but still -- my own DIY Hello Kitty costume, in just ten easy steps, entirely out of stuff in the girls' department of our local discount department store (in this case Target, except where noted):
1. Start with one mostly-willing little girl in her great-grandmother's kitchen. (I recommend having bribes handy for this. We used candy because that always works with this one.)
2. Replace grotty sweatpants with new sparkle tights and shorts (model's own).
3. Add sparkle leg warmers. (Deploy bribes at this point if necessary.) NOTE: If desired, replace tights, shorts, and leg warmers with a pair of leggings (which I totally could have done but I didn't think of that first).
4. Add white tutu underlayer (model's own, re-used from 2009 and 2010 costumes).
5. Replace existing T-shirt with layered-look Hello Kitty tee. (Model will probably ask for water at this point, because it's taken about seven whole minutes to get to this point, and model is very impatient. If you indulge the model you might get some unexpected but totally appropriate sass in the remaining photos.)
6. Add pink tutu overlayer, held up with a hair clip or rubber band because the one you bought is accidentally a size too large. NOTE: You can use just one tutu, or any skirt that matches, really. (We were originally going to go with just the pink, but Shae remembered that we had the white one in the dress-up drawer, and who am I to discourage her from contributing to the creative process?)
7. Root around in your sister's purse for an eyeliner pencil because you forgot yours. Draw cat whiskers on cheeks. Add glitter spray to child's hair (optional, and not used at this time because, again, I forgot it).
8. Add shoes. Sequined shoes completely optional, but highly recommended, if this model is to be trusted.
9. Finish with cat-ear headband with Hello Kitty's signature bow added or, if you are glue-gun impaired (as I am), use a pair of Hello Kitty earmuffs.
By my calculations, the total cost for this costume (including shoes) was about $45, which was more than what the pre-made Hello Kitty costume cost, but EVERY SINGLE PIECE of this costume will be re-used. (The shoes were the most expensive single item in this configuration, and I could have gotten away with regular old shoes, except my kid has giant canoe feet and needed a new pair anyway. Honestly, tall girls ...) Shae has already declared the T-shirt to be her "new favorite," she wants to sleep in the tutus (they'll be going in the dress-up drawer for future use if I can't figure out a way to turn them into a skirt for myself because, let's face it, it's pretty rad), and I basically had to hide the shoes to keep her from wearing them out before trick-or-treat.
Yeah, this one is a total winner.
Disclosure: I received compensation to thank me for my participating in the DailyBuzz Mom’s Halloween Costume 9×9, but my opinions are completely my own