I've never been a fan of just going to CVS and buying a $19.99 costume that they'll wear once. One, because that adds up to $100 (plus tax) for all five kids and two, because where's the fun in that?
I usually try to strike a balance: I'll buy a few small accessories, but then the kids either use things they have or we make something to complete it.
We've been everything over the years, from haunted houses to vikings to bunny rabbits to octopi. And because that often requires me sewing capes or stuffing tights with balled-up newspapers, I usually look forward to Halloween with equal parts enthusiasm and dread.
One year I conceded defeat and declared a "dress-up box Halloween." The rules were: anything goes, as long as I don't have to buy, cut, sew, hem, paint, or hot glue it.
(I'm not going to lie, that was a great year.)
However, this year we're back to our old "something old, something new" routine and it's going to require a little work on my part. My preschooler really wants to be an owl, so I'm going to sew a costume out of felt for her.
Sew a costume. Me. Out of felt.
If this isn't an ill-fated experiment, I don't know what is.
After spending hours in the fabric store finding what I need, I'll cut something wrong and have to go back for more.
I fully expect to find myself considering tossing my computer out the window and just using the felt to make a voodoo doll of the lady who wrote the owl costume tutorial I found online. (When really I should be making a straightjacket for myself.)
At some point I'll probably be weeping over a pile of brown felt and wondering why, oh why I ever thought I could do this.
But sometimes, that's what parenting is.
That's why there's a Mommy Tax for trick-or-treating candy. Because Halloween is hard work.