And the winner is…TOY STORY 2!
There are a lot of reasons why this is my favorite. Just looking at it, you can probably see why I’d choose it. It's very fun. And who doesn't love Toy Story? But not only the end result made me absolutely love it, but the process of it coming about added to the attachment for me. Here’s how it happened.
By the time 2000 rolled around, the kids had a lot more input into their costumes than when they were two years old. And that made it fun. I wanted to make it enjoyable for them as much as myself. Even more so in fact. So when things came together in ways they liked, it made it all the more satisfying for me.
One of the most serendipitous moments of the creation process happened one Saturday in a thrift store. Sometimes I would just wander thrift store aisles looking at things for inspiration, without a clear idea of what I wanted or needed. It was a brainstorming process. This particular day I was thinking about Buzz and trying to figure out if there was going to be a way to pull it off. Walking into housewares, I scanned the piles of Tupperware and other castoff storage items, and a beam of light came down from the heavens and angels’ voices sang a beautiful “Ahhhhh” together in three-part harmony. My eyes fell on the thing that would seal the deal and confirm for me that Toy Story 2 would be our theme. Before me sat a bread-slash-cheese dome like I’d never seen before. It was the biggest one, for starters. And it was transparent. And it was exactly like Buzz wore for a helmet. (Well, mostly exactly. For our purposes it was exactly.)
The hard plastic of the bottom of the bread dome was a challenge to cut a hole in, but with a drill, hack saw, and determination, I got a hole opened up for Pierce’s head to go through. I searched the aisles of Walmart to figure out how to build Buzz’s body. Once again in the housewares department, I found my answer. A laundry basket would be perfect for his barrel chest. I also found a toy set in the Toy Department that had a chest plate we could strap over the laundry basket. Snow boots panted white and green worked for space boots just fine. The rest I made with fabric and felt. We were on our way!
For Charlie, I wanted something really cool for Sarge. He needed to look plastic. I found dark green vinyl disposable table clothes to use for the fabric. And we painted all of his accessories to match, in glossy green. To make him into a more authentic plastic toy, I made die mold marks for the helmet and back of his body out of glue gun glue. I melted glue gun sticks in a pan in the oven and then poured them into molds (jar lids), which were round discs to mimic the round “buttons” you find on the back of toy soldiers. His boots were attached to a base like the stands on toy soldiers' feet. It made walking difficult because Charlie had to take extra big steps to place one half of the stand in front of the other to go forward. In addition, we smeared green face paint on any spot of skin that was showing. When he smiled, his white teeth showed through nicely and let us know he was having a good time. (The face paint was soaked in or rubbed off by the time we took the picture below, but check out the one on the bottom of the page.)
Molly already had the long blond braid for Jessie, so we didn’t need to use yarn. Jason had an oversized belt buckle what matched Jessie's well. I made her shirt and chaps, including painting the buttons with a silver edge and sewing on red piping trim to the yellow shirt yoke. I was quite happy to find Jessie’s and Woody’s hats in the Disney store and Jason was on board with buying them instead of me making them out of paper maché. We borrowed a lasso and Jessie was ready to go.
Speaking of the Disney store, it also offered another splendid addition. This one, though, took a lot more thought and weighing out the pros and cons before buying it. Jason gave me his blessing on spending the money, but it took a while to feel the freedom to go ahead. Spencer was Woody, and I wanted him to have Bullseye as part of his costume, so when I found the Bullseye costume for sale, I was ecstatic. Mostly. I knew if I didn’t buy it, I’d spend plenty on the supplies and use up hours and hours of my time making the same thing. So finally, I decided to just buy it. But then I embellished it with an added Woody made out of Spencer and fake legs. For his shirt, I hand-painted red plaid on the fabric and then dyed the whole thing yellow. The vest, which was made out of cow “hide,” had a pull string hoop on back which I was especially pleased with. The plastic circle was attached by an elastic cord though a metal rivet so you could pull it and it “retracted.” I really liked that feature. He had giant buttons too, like Jessie, which I painted to match the real thing.
To add to the fun, the kids’ good friend Zach joined us for trick-or-treating, coming as Stinky Pete, the old coal miner MIB (mint in box) toy that had never been opened to retain its collectible value. He and his mom made his costume and we loved it!
So there you have it. Our years and years of Halloween fun, and the top favorite, our Number One costume—Toy Story 2, offered for your enjoyment. I hope you’ve had a great time reminiscing with me. I’ve certainly enjoyed revisiting the many years of creative endeavors and amusement that we’ve had. May you have a tremendous Halloween celebration today. Enjoy dressing up and seeing what others come up with for their costumes. What a fun holiday it is! Happy Halloween!
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