Halloween feels most...Halloweenlike...(by which I mean most like Halloween as I remember it, well before the advent of the sexy costume and the expensive lawn decor) when the kids have some involvement in creating their costumes. We have had years when we bought particular costumes or props, but it's more fun to make something—and most fun when the maker is also the costume wearer.
As soon as they were able to, I used to ask the kids to draw a picture of the costumes they envisioned. From there we'd figure out how to put them together; there was always at least one step the kids could do themselves. The point wasn't to approximate anything manufactured or even Martha Stewart-style homemade, but simply to learn how to actualize an idea. Even as a tot S could tell us that he wanted to be a fire truck, not a fireman, and that the truck should have wheels and lights (above).
This process paid off the year C made a wraith costume, because I had no idea what a wraith was and was unable to help him work it out. Undeterred, he designed a simple robe pattern from newspaper, sewed it together, and even fashioned a funky hood using wire and a black stocking to obscure his face. I can see by the date on the photo that he was 11, the same age S is this year.
This year S decided he wanted to be an iPhone. He knew exactly how he was going to make the costume, too, so tore ahead with his project, accepting only minimal help. Apparently in our family 11 is the age at which costuming confidence really takes off.
Step One involved finding some stiff-but-lightweight board material (in this case, foamcore from OfficeMax), cutting off the corners, and spray painting it black.
Next he located an Apple logo, printed the outline, cut it out, and glued it to one of the boards. I thought it might be the perfect time to explain ratios and proportions...but it wasn't. S wanted it done quickly and preferred to eyeball everything. He said, "It's a costume, Mom! It's for one night. It'll look good enough." And he was right.
We lucked into finding a set of app images ready to print, but it would have been only another few steps to create our own using a screen shot of the phone and a postermaking site. These were arranged and glued to the front boardpiece.
The costume was finished with shiny duct tape and a recent discovery: metal strapping. Metal strapping is thin, flexible, galvanized steel, pre-punched with two-different sized holes into which one can insert nails, screws or bolts. A roll costs a dollar or so. How many ways will we find to use this, I wonder?
The duct tape became the edge of the phone—
—and the strapping shaped into a shoulder harness from which to hang it all.
Voila! A sandwich-board iPhone, visualized and largely created by S himself. It was quick and inexpensive to make, should hold up through the night of Halloween unless there's rain and most importantly, it turned out just like its creator wanted it to. Nothing better than that.