October, 2006 marked my favorite costume making holiday ever. Jacob was 3 and Ben had just turned 1. Jake was finally old enough to banter ideas back and forth with me regarding his costume, and for some (truly) unknown reason, he decided it might be fun to dress as a snowman for Halloween. (?What? My thoughts, too….)
So… I started searching online for some kind of snowman costume, and pretty much found nothing, as I had expected. I sat down with Jacob and we drew pictures of what the important elements of a snowman really were. By the time we were finished drawing, Jacob had a clear description of what type of snowman he would like to be. Snowmen were to be composed of three ‘snow’ balls each one smaller than the last and stacked vertically. Snowmen needed to have a vest, a scarf and three black buttons on the front. (Not four or two. This was important to him.) That was it. No corn cob pipe required, no magic top hot, no real preference on color…. just those things. How on Earth was I going to do that? It was time to get creative.
And, creative, we got! I decided that I wanted to keep the project simple, so I reverted back to some old techniques of crafting, known as paper mache, which I picked up somewhere along the way in grade school as most children do. Ryan and I spent time looking at different playground balls, and we finally found 3 that were appropriate sizes in proportion to each other, and in proportion to his body so he could actually fit in them. Once we found them (all but one in our collection already
), I set Jake to work using his new safety scissors to shred old newspapers. I suspect he was more excited about the newspaper shredding than he was about the costume itself. After he enough shredded newspaper (and a lot of excess, actually, as it turns out that he was really good at that)
Ryan made us a flour and water glue concoction and we began to paper mache the playground balls. I expected that Jake would like this, but, in fact, he hates getting his hands dirty so he mostly jumped around excitedly while I applied the pasted papers to the balls.
After the paper had dried to the balls, we deflated the balls and carefully cut them out of their paper shells. Then, we cut specific holes in them to allow Jake to get into them, and painted them white. While they had been drying, we searched GoodWill and other thrift stores and located a coordinating vest, scarf, hat (my idea, not Jake’s)
and gloves. We made three felt buttons for the front, and bought the smallest pair of suspenders we could find. At the same time, I had found a small Santa Claus themed sleeper, and I thought that would be a fitting costume for Ben, who was too young to protest. I figured a Santa Claus would compliment a snowman perfectly. We returned home and tried out the suspender system I had worked out in my head. It was a perfect fit. And the added bonus I hadn’t expected was that the bottom of the snowman swayed adorably with each step Jake took.
We completed the look of the snowman by applying a spray adhesive all over each ball, and then by dumping a bunch of small foam balls (intended for filling bean bag animals and the like) which looked like snow. The balls got all over everything, but they kept the appearance of snow and ended up working out very well. They also kept our Dyson busy long into November, but they were well worth it.
When the big day came, we carefully got Jake into his costume and adorned him with the accessories we had found. (And we prayed and prayed it wouldn’t rain. Rain would’ve destroyed the entire costume.) He looked pretty adorable, and he was just as pleased as I was to say that we had made this costume ourselves.
Then we slid Benjamin into his Santa Sleeper. In those days, he had just learned to walk and he was pretty content with everything around him, so as trick-or-treating involved walking, this was no exception.
It was a blustery trick-or-treating time, so I was quite happy that Jacob had picked costumes that I could bundle them in multiple layers under. We got more compliments than I could count as we walked up and down the block. My only regret that year was that I hadn’t thought to enter them into a costume contest, because I think they’d have had a very good chance at winning. What a clever idea Jacob the Snowman had!