As kids we dressed up for Halloween with whatever we could find from around the house. We’d raid the closets, drawers and even the attic to gather materials to transform us into gypsies, witches, cowboys and ghosts.
Never did it occur to my little brother and me to ask our parents for costumes from a store. If people were buying them back then, Jeremie and I had no idea, and none of our friends seemed to know that either. We were all do-it-yourselfers and we had a blast. Things seemed so much simpler, and it was a far less profitable industry than it is today.
Halloween has become the second-most commercially successful day of the year – after Christmas – expected to reach 6.9 billion dollars this year in the U.S. alone.
What’s caused such a huge spike in sales? People like me are part of the reason.
After many great years of celebrating October 31st, trick or treating in my homemade outfits as a child, I decided to complicate things when I got older. I started engaging in the buying of décor and creating unique costumes on my own with the money I earned myself. It became an artistic expression. And although I wasn’t out buying a costume off the rack exactly, I was still spending a bunch of money and time creating an awesome outfit I’d only ever wear once.
As the years went by and I got more and more interested in dressing up, I noticed I wasn’t alone. Tons of people were doing what I was doing, and at parties people were going all out with their creations, trying to outdo what they’d done the year before.
I participated in this activity for more than a decade, and it was a lot of fun. But once I became a mother to our second child, I stopped putting pressure on myself to dress up, and just made it about the kids. It’s all I could handle, or it’s all I wanted to handle. And I was grateful for the vast selection of affordable kid costumes so readily available in the stores. It was much easier to just select something off a hanger instead of having to hunt and peck around the house and create something unique. And it was far preferable to sewing on outfit from scratch, which I’d done so many times in the past.
But now that my children are 10 and 13, they suddenly want to create their own simple costumes out of stuff we already have. I’m not sure where they got that idea from, and I know it might end up being more work than just picking up something ready made, but I’m excited. Maybe because it brings back memories from my own childhood.
It also brings back memories of their younger years. When they were three and six, and sad because I didn’t have a costume, they decided to dress me up. They instructed me to sit on a stool as they gleefully ran circles around me with a roll of toilet paper each and made me into a “mummy mommy.” It was the funniest thing in the world to them and we all ended up laughing so hard we were crying.
Out of all the awesome costumes I’ve loved wearing over the years, the “mummy mommy” remains my favourite. And the price wasn’t scary at all.
Lori Welbourne is a syndicated columnist. She can be contacted at LoriWelbourne.com