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30-something mother, wife, lawyer, writer, design junkie, craftaholic, cook

likes: clever tools, snazzy colors, working for justice, kid wrangling, Meyer lemons

dislikes: inefficiency, civil discovery, most shades of purple, Tori Amos

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Entries in costume (1)


Fire Drill

Photo © 2009 David Mandel // Ampersand IndustriesSo my brilliant plan last year to craft a Halloween costume that would get two years of wear was dashed this year when it became clear that the kiddo was determined to be a fireman for halloween. Grr.

My new job, coupled with a startling and uncharacteristic flash of clarity on the subject, meant there was no way I would be sewing a fireman costume from scratch this year. But. (There is always a "but.")

First, I caught a lucky break back in September when Target had fireman rain boots on sale for $10. This was a total score because he needed rain boots anyway. Or so I rationalized.

Then while my husband and I were on our first vacation in, like, EVER, the kiddo's grandparents took him to the local fire museum (who knew?) where they GAVE him a fire hat. Come. On.

So now I had to do something about the jacket, right? But, I will admit, I just wasn't inspired. I perused some web sites with handmade costumes, though, and got some ideas. And then I looked up and it was Friday. October 30th. And I had done nothing. Well, not nothing. I had shopped for a black sweatshirt and for yellow duct tape. I couldn't find the duct tape so I bought yellow vinyl used for walls (Wall Pops, I think they're called). But they'd lain totally ignored for days, and now the big day was nearly upon us.

Once again, I caught a lucky break, and got off a little early from work on Friday. I cut off the cuffs and hem of the sweatshirt and up the center of it. I added a yellow felt collar, and then I cut out strips of the vinyl to seal the edges and make stripes around the arms and jacket. It was a little dodgy to do because the vinyl is repositionable (nifty!), and so I was a little concerned about the jacket holding up through a full day of Halloween, but I thought it looked pretty good. When my son got home, he thought it looked pretty good. He was TOTALLY satisfied. And yet.

Yesterday morning we went out for coffee with my mom and a friend, and I let him wear his fireman jacket and hat, even though Halloween (which I am pretty sure he was convinced was a mythical place I was cruelly preventing him from visiting until dark) was hours away for all practical purposes.* Everyone said it was cute, and it held up surprisingly well during my son's constant squirming and wiggling at the coffee shop. It even survived his blueberry muffin. And yet.

It just needed something. While the kiddo napped, I ran out to the fabric store. Which is to say, I drove half-an-hour, because I live in the boonies. I wanted to pick up some cool fasteners and a patch or two. For which I was willing to spend an hour in the car (I drove the hybrid, I swear!). Now, my distaste for the Hancock Fabrics in Charleston, SC, is legendary (legendary distate? Believe it), but I gotta say that on this day, the Hancock was treating me right. I found these super-nifty metal fasteners for $2, and they had a very nice American flag patch. And then there, in the back of a poorly lit aisle, at the very bottom of the rack, nestled between the replacement bra hooks and the snap tape, I found the Halloween Fireman jackpot: yellow and black reflective ribbon, iron-on variety. You know, the kind that runners and bikers use to make their clothing reflective for when they run and ride at night? Yeah, me either. I have been known to run, but in the dark? Oh no no no. This stuff was a revelation to me.

Anyhoo, at this point, if you are a reasonable, rational being, you are thinking, "well, but you already have cool stripes for the jacket. Why spend another $6 for additional stripes?" Lucky for me, I am not encumbered by reason, though I am powerfully in command of the skill of rationalization. Did I mention that it is now 3PM? And I have a half-hour drive home? Yes. Well. I rationalized that I needed to get the reflective tape to ensure the kiddo's safety. Plus, I'd have thirty minutes in the car to figure out how to make it work.

When I got home, le kid was, amazingly, still quiet. I grabbed his fireman jacket and boldly started ripping off the vinyl hems and stripes. I had bought a package of black tape and another of yellow. I had not paid ANY attention to, you know, the critical detail of just how long this piece of ribbon was. As it turns out, each color came in one-yard lengths in three widths. And as it turns out, I am one lucky girl, because the circumference of a Hanes Youth Medium sweatshirt is almost exactly 36 inches. There was much quickening of breath before I realized that I had not just destroyed my son's costume with less than 2 hours till the parade we'd promised him he could attend. Oy. At any rate, this reflective tape is wonderful--it feels pretty stiff when you take it out of the package, but once you hit it with the iron, it softens right up, while still adding some body and heft to the sweatshirt. By the time I'd gotten all the hems re-sealed and stripes re-applied, it was time to head out to the parade. For once, the fact that we live 40 minutes from my mother's neighborhood (where the parade was being held) turned out to be a good thing: my husband drove while I sewed on the nifty fasteners. I finished up with about 5 minutes to spare, and the boy was on the job with no time to spare. The best part is that thanks to the iron-on tape he now has a nice, sturdy jacket to play in. I think it was worth the extra $6.

*Can I just say? I think that Saturday Halloween is a cruel joke on parents. I mean, your kid wakes up at 7:00 ready for Halloween. Because you told him that Halloween is today: so let's get this Halloween party started, mommy! Far better that real child professionals be on hand to deal with overcharged three-year-olds; Halloween was clearly meant to be on a school day, no?