The Things We Do

Once your children start school, it is expected that you can just whip up a costume at the drop of a hat. Personally, I’d like at least six months’ notice. Then I can spend four months complaining about it, one month thinking about it and one month actually trying to make something.

Although my son’s first Christmas concert was over a year ago, I haven’t forgiven myself for the half-arsed effort he had to wear. Watching the little darlings singing their hearts out on stage, you would think making a star costume would be a cinch. Those children looked very much like stars.

Except for one. My son.

Gee.  Thanks for the great costume Mum.

He was looking miserable and not at all like a star. He was holding what looked like a paper cutout of a small explosion. The intention, I’ll have you know, was to have a large, sparkly cardboard star attached to his front.

I thought it would be easy. I drew a star on some cardboard and started cutting it out. Except it wasn’t looking much like a star. So I cut some more. See where I am going with this? Have you ever cut hair, with no idea what you were doing? And did that person’s hair end up waaaaaaay shorter than was intended? That’s what happened to my star. It was now the size of a large envelope and looked like a cartoon “bang!”

When I picked the star up, the glitter I had pasted onto it all slid off. I stuck some bits of foil on instead. The result was questionable, but this being all very last minute, there was no chance of a re-make. This was it. Nice one Mummy.

So for costume day on Friday, things were going to be different. You’d think that it being Book Week they’d have to dress up as a book character, but no. They had the choice of dressing up as a country or an animal. Predictably, my son would only go as a dinosaur.

So this very uncreative mother with no sewing ability had to fashion a dinosaur costume. Excellent.

Tail first. We rolled up pieces of newspaper and I squished them into an old stocking. I though that was pretty effective, isn’t that what they used to wear on Play School? My son thought it was “cool but too swishy.” No problem. I threaded a straighened coat-hanger through it. Since this could now take someone’s eye out, I stuck a cork on either end of the wire and added more padding. Then I wrapped it up in black garbage bag plastic and voila! A tail! I also made him some horns out of an egg carton and elastic. I was rather pleased with myself. Perhaps I’d be discovered and the next Mr Maker? Or Mrs Maker? (Without the loud waistcoat, obviously.)

“But what about the spikes down my back?”


So we drew all over some paper plates and I attached them to a top I had made from a garbage bag. He now had spikes running down his back and tail, with a “Super Dino” sign that he had made stuck on the front.

In my head it was going to be very simple. I wasn’t expecting to get everything all tangled up, to cut holes in wrong places and to get glue all through my hair. But at last it was done, and I showed my son.

He looked crushed. “Am I going dressed as a garbage bag?”

“Noooooo!! No no no, let’s put it on for the full effect… see, this arm goes… hang on, where does that arm go…? I did put an arm hole somewhere…”

At last he was wearing it and was thrilled. Result!

The big day arrived. In the rush we left his horns at home, his costume was all lopsided and who knows what those paper plates were up to. His was certainly the most… ummm… “homemade” costume there.

He loved it and that was reward enough for me. But then he won Best Costume. Is it normal for a mother to be so excited their son’s costume won an award? I was patting myself on the back when I discovered the teachers thought it was fantastic that he made it “entirely by himself.” That sums up my costume-making talent – it looks like it was made by a 5 year old.

But I think I can put that star costume behind me now.

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