The genesis for the costume theme which is my Number Four pick came with a skein of yarn. Someone had given me an entire skein of thick yellow yarn that begged to be used for some kind of incredible craft. It gave me the impression it wanted to be a lion’s mane. At the same time, one of our zip-up sleepers wore out. You know, the kind with footies that zip up to the neck that toddlers wear to keep warm when they kick every blanket off the bed. The footies and knees had piggy toes and knee caps peeking out, but the zipper still had plenty of zips left in it. And then the tipping point—I found some scrap material that just happened to match the yellow color of the yarn exactly, and it was fuzzy like fur and a large enough piece that I could sew it into a lion suit, using the old zipper from the worn-out sleeper. The stars were aligning!
I’m not sure when the idea for the lion suit morphed into the idea of the entire Wizard of Oz cast, but when it hit, it was a winner. Martha Baker, my friend with quadruplets two years older than mine, passed on her hand-me-down clothes to us. She has two boys and two girls, so the ratios were off a little, but we made it work. One of the dresses she’d given us was a blue-checked pinafore dress. It would work great for Dorothy. Also in the Baker bin were little jeans and a flannel shirt, which were just what we needed for Scarecrow. I needed to acquire raffia for straw, burlap for Scarecrow’s head, and felt for his hat. All cheap enough and easy to obtain. Molly already had blue ankle socks, so all we needed for Dorothy was the ruby slippers. I drooled over the red sequin fabric in Hancock Fabrics, wondering if I could possibly spend the money to buy four inches of the material. When I finally gave in and bought it, I was trés excited. I made Molly little ballet slippers and covered them in the red glittery rubies.
When I was in Hancock’s for the ruby fabric, I stumbled on to the liquid silver fabric that just screamed to be made into the Tin Man. But of course, that was way out of the budget. But then again, look how much I’d saved on Dorothy’s dress and Scarecrow’s entire accouterment. Even for the lion, I penny pinched and made it for basically nothing. I just had to have that liquid sliver. So I did it! I bought the pricey shiny fabric that went for about seven dollars a yard. Unprecedented! At least I didn’t need an expensive pattern and I could just follow the same design I’d used on the lion, which was the same design as the sleeper which gave up the zipper for the project. And fortunately, the kids were tiny, so I could make a sleeper with about a half a yard of fabric, if that. Pierce was in for a treat (or his mother was). The stuff was wicked to sew on, slipping this way and that, jamming in my machine, snagging and pulling all the wrong ways. But it. Was. Beautiful! I got a cheap plastic funnel and covered it with the liquid silver using a glue gun (glue gun: my hero) and that was his hat.
Meanwhile, Charlie was having some trouble with the scarecrow head. The burlap was way too itchy, so I remade it and lined it with some soft scrap material that I had in my fabric bin. He was much happier. Well, part of the time. It was Charlie, after all.
With little shoe covers I made for the boys out of each of their scrap scraps (I never met a scrap of fabric that was too small to go into the fabric bin for later—just in case) they were ready to go. The pictures I took were just because. (I didn’t know I was starting a tradition that we’d go through every Halloween for years—we used those Halloween photos for years for Christmas cards and gift magnets and framed prints.) Instead of regular furniture in our living room, we mostly had it empty of normal adult stuff and filled it instead with kids’ stuff and it was where we spent the day playing. For a while we had a plastic play house, that kind made out of recycled milk bottles. It was perfect to play a part in our picture-taking and it took on the role of Dorothy’s house that landed on the witch. You can see the witches feet coming out from underneath the house. The slippers are already off, and were magically transformed to go from Witch’s Size 12 to fit Molly’s Toddler Size 4 feet.
We took them all over town to visit people who needed to see them in their adorable costumes, and we went to the mall to trick-or-treat from store to store. And we started a tradition that entertained us and a multitude of others for many years to come. And even though it was really the beginning of all our dress up fun, I give it fourth place—not because it isn’t really that great, (I always hated third place ribbons growing up—the perfectionist in me needed blue first place or it didn’t count), it’s just that there is so much more to come. This was only the beginning. Hold on to your hat. Here comes Number Three…
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